Archive for March, 2009

GBBD March 2009

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Finally got our first outside blooms today! Dad took this pic of a cluster of snowdrops that came up on the west side of the house.

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Layanee's Gravatar And they smell so sweet!
# Posted By Layanee | 3/18/09 1:54 PM
linda's Gravatar Oh how pretty!
# Posted By linda | 3/20/09 9:49 AM

Forecasting More Than A Peck of Peppers

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

I started pepper seeds yesterday. Here’s the list: Hot peppers: Orange Fogo – source – Renee’s Garden; Red Demon – source – Renee’s Garden; Unknown 1 1/2″ long short fat tapered hot, and Unknown 2 1/2″ long fat tapered hot – source – saved seed from plants given to me by my neighbor Sheryl Jarlsberg; Feherozon Paprika – source – Fedco; Anaheim – source – Fedco; Pasilla Bajio – source – Baker Creek; Bulgarian Carrot Chile – source – Fedco; Ancho 101 – source – Fedco; Hungarian Hot Wax – source – Fedco

Sweet Peppers: Golden Cal Wonder – source – Baker Creek; Corno Rosso – source – Franchi; Sunset Orange – source – Seeds of Change; Red Rocoto – source – Seed Savers; Golden Treasure – source – Baker Creek; King of the North – source – Fedco; Red Belgian – source – Baker Creek.

I have two seed packs missing in action. I bought a Cayenne and a Jimmy Nardello from a vendor selling Seed Savers seeds at the Madison Garden Expo, but I can’t remember where I put them, so if I find them in time, they will be added to the flat. I’ll fill the flat up with eggplant and tomato seedlings, but those aren’t as time critical as the peppers.

This is a new set up. The propagating mat I’ve had for years, likewise the flats, which I keep repairing and making new as needed. But the lighting is brand new, purchased at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show. It’s an LED grow light panel being sold at the show by an Illinois company called Sunshine Systems. The panels look a lot like the toys called Lite Brite my kids played with years ago, but the advantage for growers include almost no heat output, super energy efficiency, and extreme bulb longevity. The red/blue light they put out looks like it belongs in a night club, but it is a light spectrum ideally suited for plant growth. If the lighting works as well as Larry Schack, the owner of Sunshine Systems, assured me, we may be selling these on our website.

I’ve stuck the whole system in an unused part of the basement. I cover the seedlings with newspaper to hold in the moisture and I monitor the soil temperature. Peppers like it very warm for germination, 85º is not too hot. If the seedling cups get too warm I insert some flat wood pieces between the heat mat and the bottom of the flats. Being too cold has never been an issue.

I’ll be able to get four flats on the mat at a time. As the seeds sprout and develop a little leaf and strength, I’ll move them to natural light in the south facing sunroom. From there, they’ll get potted off, hardened and into the garden. If all goes well, I’ll have 17 (or more) varieties of peppers to enjoy later in the season.