Step 1: Use one more gallon size Ziploc bag, some paper towels, a spray bottle and some seeds.
Step 2: Label bags and place seeds on paper towel, fold seeds inside paper towel and put inside Ziploc bag.
Step 3: Squirt filtered water inside Ziploc bag, flip and squirt the other side as well.
Step 4: Place in a warm dark area until the seeds begin to sprout a root. Might have to check daily and this process could take a week or so to first root. The hotter the peppers the longer this process can take.
Step 5: Purchase seedling containers and fill with quality starter soil mixture that can be purchased at any big box store. 1/3 Potting Soil, 1/3 Sand and 1/3 Garden soil and soil needs to be mixed very well.
Step 6: Fill seedling containers with starter soil mixture and gently make tiny ruts in the top of the soil to place sprouted seedling in the rut, lightly cover with soil and label pepper variety. Repeat this process until you have a full container of seedlings.
Step 7: Gently water seedlings with filtered water or rainwater and place in a warm area with lots of sun. Peppers love warm soil so make sure if it gets cold at night to place them in a small greenhouse or someplace warm. The optimal soil temperature for peppers is 65°F (18°C) or warmer.
Step 8: When seeds start to sprout and grow, be sure not to over water them as this can kill them just as fast as under watering. Water once and let the soil begin to appear dry and then re-water. Once the seedlings get a few inches tall it’s time to plant them in the garden.
Step 9: Prep your garden rows by tilling the garden area and testing the soil. Peppers prefer a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.8. If the pH is below 6.0 add limestone to the soil; if the pH is above 8.0 add peat moss to lower the pH. A safe bet is to always work aged garden compost into beds prior to planting. Also testing for which fertilizers that are already present in the soil is very important. Many local colleges will do this for free. Generally, a balanced fertilizer works for peppers. But if your soil testing shows you have enough phosphorus, you should choose a low- or no-phosphorus fertilizer. Nitrogen is particularly important for stimulating good pepper growth, but you have to know the best time to fertilize peppers to get the best results. First, broadcast the soil with a general fertilizer or compost before you put any plants in the ground. Then, front load the pepper plants with nitrogen for optimal growth. Adding the right amount of nitrogen will stimulate stem and foliage growth so that your pepper plants will grow big enough to support several fruits each.
Step 10: Till in required starter fertilizers into the soil rows and allow to soil to sit for a few days to let fertilizers dissolve and become stable for the small seedlings. This will prevent the soil from being too hot and give the plants the chances of survival. You can also add sulfur, which peppers love. Sulfur powder can be found online or at any gardening center. Apply a tablespoon monthly around the base of your Pepper plants and also works as an organic pesticide via a lite dusting.
Step 11: Once plants start to grow and show vigor. Purchase some mulch and cover the base around each plant. This will help the soil retain moisture and allow you to conserve water. Expert gardeners suggest to use Epsom salt which delivers a immediate shot of magnesium to the plants and boost growth when applied as a foliar spray. Mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in an average size spray bottle, shake it vigorously and apply to plant every 2 weeks with a thorough soaking. My favorite fertilizer is Fish Emulsion. I like it because it is a great all-around fertilizer and 100% organic. Use your choice of fertilizer every other week on alternate weeks from the Epsom salt spray. This means your hot peppers are getting fed weekly.
Step 12. My pesticide of choice is to mix 1+ teaspoon of dish soap in a large spray bottle and apply directly to plants and try to get a direct hit on the bugs. The dish soap is biodegradable and will stick to the plant and linger until you get a rain and reapply if needed.
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