Spring is almost here. There is still snow outside on every corner. Currently, there is a one-foot high snow pile in front of my house. But it is the middle of March, so technically it is almost spring, I put a big hope here for that pile of snow melt faster. I got to admit, looking the snow fall through the window is so much fun. I still find it beautiful when there is a big snowflake tap the window. But having a cold and snowy day from November until now is kind of too much, but it also gives us a break for the gardening season.
On January, I usually start making a plan for the upcoming gardening season. Make a list of plants, planting rotation, companion planting, indoor seeding, redo the garden, try new plant, plan the container garden, and so much more. I usually make a note from what I did in the last season and for the upcoming season, but most of the time I just decide what kind of things to do after looking pictures of the garden or after what I remembered how much fresh produce I got from the garden last season.
Last year was the best summer ever for the last five years I remembered. Tomatoes were plentiful and ripe on time before picking it, strawberries were non stop, carrots were abundant, my three cherry trees were overloaded with red juicy cherries.
Last year I also planted Thai chili peppers from grocery produce chili. I just took the seed out of the pod, then plant it on the cup with regular potting soil, keep it on the windowsill for the whole time until now, it is still growing and I got lots of chili from it. This time, I plant more Thai chili peppers from the seed pod came from this indoor chili plant. It actually work just fine and because the seed is fresh, I can see all seeds are sprouting.
Here I planted one group of Thai chili on the peat pellets method and also one group straight on the potting soil. To see what is the different result between both methods.
Let’s start with the peat pellets method, the propagating dome is the perfect size to put it on the windowsill.
- Arrange the peat pellets on the container.
- Pour hot water over the peat pellets, wait and see until the pellets expanding, it is quite fun looking at this process.
- Prepare the seeds and toothpick.
- Use the toothpick to put few seeds on the pellets.
- You can push the seeds deeper or cover it up with the moist peat by using the toothpick.
- Put the clear lid on, so now you have a little plant propagation dome.
- Put the dome in the warm place in your house or window sill.
The dome is getting warm humid air inside from the warm peat, it is actually beneficial for quick germinating. I found the Thai chili seed that planted this way was germinate in five days.
There might a few key factors for this quick and successful germinating the seeds, the right environment for the seed and using the fresh seed.
Once the seeds germinate, gradually take the lid off. Let the seeds have their first set of leaves, and keep the peat moist by pouring little bit water on the container, it will seeped through the peat. Once you see the roots coming out of the peat, then it is time to move it to bigger container with the potting soil. Just prepare the container you are going to use, I use a styrofoam cup without drainage hole. Make the potting soil moist, scoop it to the cup or container you use halfway, try to tear the bottom net of the pod without disturbing the root, carefully put the baby plant with the peat pod on top of the potting soil, add more potting soil around the pod. Keep the baby plant on the windowsill, water it until the soil just moist. Leave the plant there until it ready to move to a bigger container or outside in the garden.
The potting soil method.
- Prepare the potting soil or seed starting soil.
- Prepare the bigger container, or little bucket, put some potting soil on it, pour some water and mix it well to get the potting soil moist but not like a puddle looking soil. I use the reverse osmosis water for this, if I use tap water then I will keep the water in the bottle or jug and let it sit overnight before I use it.
- Put some moist potting soil in the cup (you can use seed starting container, yogurt cup, paper cup, anything you have available).
- Put few seeds on top of the soil, make a distance between each seed, about half inch in between.
- Cover the seeds with a little soil.
- Cover the cup with a piece of saran wrap and tight it with a rubber band. Poke a few holes on top of the saran wrap to get air circulation for the germination process.
- Put the cups on the windowsill or warm place inside your house.
This method is still a simple one by using stuff you have around the house, it is good for recycling those little yogurt cups we always collected. I use the styrofoam cup for this. I did not make any drainage hole in the bottom of the cup because I find it unnecessary for this, once the seeds grow I only water them with few tablespoons of water to keep the soil moist. If you make a drainage hole on the bottom of the cup, make sure put the cups on top of a plastic plate or anything to hold the drained water.
With this method I found the seeds germinate a little bit later but still on a normal time frame for chili. It germinated in 10 days, which is still normal. Once the seeds germinate, I just take the plastic cover off, leave the plant there until it ready to move to a bigger container or their final place like outside in the garden.
Here they are now after one month and a half growing stage. They all will have the third sets of leaves. It is no different on the plants between seed started on the peat pellet or with the potting soil. If you would like to just leave one of the strongest plant then pull the others that look weak, or move them to another container, so it will not overcrowd the container. I mostly just leave them there in the container, three or four plants per container still work for me. But having only one plant per container is recommended to make the plant stronger and it will yield better.
Home gardening is fun. If it only a few plants it will not take much of our time. In fact, it can be therapeutic for us and also it is one of a great way to involve the kids into nature.
Read how to Planting Celery From Grocery Produce, it is very easy to do it.