The 2019 Growing Season has begun
So here in the PNW, Tacoma WA specifically, growing Hot Peppers takes some work. I've found I need to start them in January to get any substantial production. I have to start them inside of course. Here's my current setup:
I've tried several ways of starting seeds but the Jiffy Pellets in their little grow boxes have been the easiest and most space efficient. My germination rates vary a lot, probably my lack of consistency on seed depth, but it works well enough for now. Last season I almost filled my 7.0 cubic foot freezer with peppers grown in my yard, around 100 plants or so, so it is working pretty well.
In a month or so I'll start transplanting them into cups. I previously used the peat cups but am thinking of using the plastic solo cups (keg cups) like many do to reduce cost .. they can be reused. Then in March/April as they get bigger transplant into 6" pots and move to the Greenhouse outside. It is heated and has 3 - 1000 watt HP Sodium grow lights. I can fit about 100 6" pots in there before it starts getting out of control. I can usually move everything outside in Early to Mid May. Eventually my production plants go into 4 to 5 gal pots depending on size.
This year I have planted 288 seeds and have 38 varieties between 12/18 and 12/31. Most are just 6 seeds per variety. The ones I am making production Hot Sauce, or plan to bring into production, I plant 12. Right now those are: Jigsaw (Gourmet Fatalii), Peach Ghost, Dorset Naga Orange ( already approved by Process Authority) and Reaper, Scorpion, Sugar Rush Red, Faces X, Scotch Bonnet & Fatalii Orange, from which I will be developing various sauces and possibly adding to my product line. Each test is $100 so I want to be sure I love it and can reproduce it before committing to the cost.
I have 54 starts so far so it's looking good. I'll update as things progress.
btw, this season, as usual, I'm using seeds from Peppers by Mail, White Hot Peppers & Bohica Pepper Hut .. all awesome folks with great products!! Thanks to all!!
Thanks AJ, the rack is from Home Depot. I use it for the Pepper Biz, store equip, bottles, etc below.
Though I am outgrowing it quickly! 🙂
The Greenhouse started out as a Sunroom/Greenhouse for a 'few' plants and to hang out. It rains a lot here in the winter and it's nice to get out of the house for a different perspective. However from March to June it's pretty full with my peppers. In the Winter/Spring I put foam sheets in the windows and plastic sheet on the ceiling (it has clear plastic sheet roofing) and indoor/outdoor carpet on the floor. Then the space heater can keep it above 50 deg pretty easily, especially when all 3 grow lights are running.
I also built a quick frame/plastic sheet greenhouse to help with early and late season plants.
I have a very patient wife! 🙂 Though now that I am actually making money with my "hobby" things are very good.
AJ, I did put a small electric space heater in the plastic greenhouse but it really didn't do much. My reason for the cover was not so much the cold but too much rain. When the rains come in the Fall it can be pretty steady .. and too much water is really bad for pepper plants from my experience. It was still self watering at times from the massive condensation buildup on the inside of the plastic sheet .. especially the top. It did buy me some time and I got a lot more ripe peppers that way.
I have two raised beds back there as well that did very poorly for tomatoes and peppers. I'm taking them out this year and going back to all peppers and tomatoes in pots .. much better control and more efficient space usage. I'll pull down that greenhouse in Spring and put a new one up next Fall with a better design. I'm a builder by trade so its easy to build whatever I need at the time.
btw .. I have 188 sprouts in my grow room (office) now and already transplanted 20 into Solo Cups.