Getting Tough on Germination
Unfortunately not all germination rates are the same. Patience is required with many crops especially when venturing into the cultivation of pepper varieties. All varieties of pepper plants can be somewhat difficult to germinate.
KEY POINTS: Success is related to even moisture and warm temperatures.
Steps For Success
✔ Submerge rockwool cubes in a bucket of water to remove resultant lyme caused during the manufacturing process. Soak for 30 minutes.
✔ Next use water that has an adjusted pH between 5.5 and six. Apply to rockwool and let drain.
✔ We use standard 10X20 nursery trays with rockwool plug dividers.
✔ The important thing in getting your (pepper) seeds to germinate is to keep them warm – the temp should be in the 80's. Use an electric heating mat to place underneath the trays of rockwool. This warm environment is critical for the peppers to germinate.
✔Another tip is soaking the pepper seed for 4 hours before sowing to soften the seed coat.
✔ Next apply 2 to 3 pepper seeds per rockwool cube.
✔ Gently cover seeds by using scissors to loosen adjacent rockwool fibers to cover center hole. Make sure the rockwool is moist through the germination, rooting, and leaf development stages. Then place the tray of rockwool on the heating mat.
✔ Many sweet pepper varieties will show their initial leaves about two weeks after planting the seeds. Yet some varieties of peppers take longer to pop up than others. Some hot pepper varieties take longer to germinate, some up to three weeks. Be patient.
✔ Once the roots have broken through the bottom of the rockwool you are well on your way.
However, pepper seedlings need to be grown out until they have at least several sets of true leaves before being placed into the tower.
✔ Now that the peppers are rooted and have a few sets of true leaves ITS time to transplant into the nutrient rich tower garden.
✔ Now that they have a few weeks under their belt don't forget to add nutrients and maintain the pH between 5.5-6.5 in the tower garden. Some times peppers need a little pruning to keep circulation ideal. Also if you are inside, you will need to hand pollinate the flowers (unless you have little bees inside).
✔ These guys are ready to be enjoyed!
✔Lastly look at the comparison between my neighbor (right) who grows in soil vs. tower garden (left) grown jalapeño peppers after 6 weeks.
✔ Enjoy your peppers!
For more tips, tricks and fun growing ideas visit us at:
Dr. Jonathan Roberti