Last year I discovered the pleasure of growing pepper plants, this year I’ve decided to up my game a bit. Instead of growing only peppers I also added bell peppers and inspired by Minecraft mad scientist Docm77, a bunch of tomatoes.
This Year’s Plants
- Joe Long’s Cayenne, a plant that can grow up to 3 meters in height and grows 30cm long cayenne peppers.
- Rawitt/Piri Piri, my favourite pepper for stir-frying and making hot sauces.
- Buana Mulata, the purple cayenne peppers I enjoyed last year.
- Bell peppers
- Mini Bell Chocolate, small sweet bell peppers which make a nice snack.
- King of the North, fast growing bell peppers specifically meant for colder regions.
- Heinz 1350, large tomatoes perfect for sauces, salads and making ketchup.
- Artisan Purple Bumble Bee, small cherry tomatoes with purple marbling.
- Pink Thai Egg, quite literally a pink tomato shaped like an egg.
The Germination Stage
While I used peat bags last year, this year I decided to give coconut fiber bags a shot. While it worked wonders for the tomatoes, I found my peppers seeds had a hard time germinating in these. For every plant I planted 6 seeds, figuring I would probably lose a few and could always give away the weaker plants at a later stage. For the pepper plants I also used a heated mat to ensure the temperature inside the germination station would always be around 25 degrees Celsius. However most of them ended up doing nothing and some of the late-comers even developed stem rot and had to be tossed out.
In total I was left with:
- 1x Joe Long Cayenne, with 2 more sprouted but developing stem rot.
- 4x Rawitt, with the 4th growing poorly and with sets of 3 leaves.
- 1x Buena Mulata, the only one that sprouted.
- 2x Mini Bell Chocolate, 2 more were sprouted but suffered stem rot.
- 0x King of the North. 2 Sprouted very late but were thin stemmed and eventually withered. I planted 4 more seeds which are still to germinate.
- 3x Heinz 1350
- 6x Artisan Purple Bumblebee, perfect 6 out 6!
- 2x Pink Thai Egg, these sprouted within days and all the other seeds did nothing.
For potting I waited until all plants were at least 8cm long or had roots growing out of their biodegradable coconut fiber bags. Each plant was then potted into a 9x9x9cm pot, with a bottom layer of clay aggregate to help keep the soil moist. I buried the plants deeper along the stem as both pepper and tomato plants can grow new roots from their stems, which helps keep them up and absorb more nutrients. To further stimulate the growth of roots at this stage, I only water these plants once a week.
After a few weeks in their new pot I noticed some of the leaves had started to yellow, a sign of lack of nutrients. Adding some plant food when watering these plants remedied this. As days become more sunny and outdoor temperatures started to increase, so did the plants in size. Especially the tomatoes are growing rapidly, but as it’s still April there can still be frost during the nights meaning I cant re-pot them outside just yet. So for now, we wait…