Pepper Transplanting

Today I finally got myself together enough to get my peppers out of their germination flat and into four-packs.

Although I’ve recently received my new Ladbrooke soil blockers (which should seriously cut down on the amount of plastic I use for seed-starting), I didn’t think I could get the peppers into the cubes without mushing them (the cubes), so I’m going to save the soil blocks for other upcoming seeding projects–head lettuce and basil.

So, I’ll have posts coming about my trial-and-error with the new-to-me technology coming sometime soon.  Hopefully by this time next year, I’ll simply be dropping little cubes of pepper transplants into bigger cubes of soil–easy!

I ended up with about 80 sweet pepper transplants of three varieties (Napoleon Sweet, Jimmy Nardello, and Italian Sweet) and 24 hot pepper transplants, also of three varieties (Hungarian Hot Wax, Fish, and Long Thin Cayenne).

I was really disappointed with the germination rate on Fish and Long Thin Cayenne–I was only able to get a four pack of each variety.  But the Hot Wax did well, and they’ve long been my main crop spicy pepper anyhow. Their ripening sunrise colors are really lovely, and their flavor is, I think, among the best.

The market for extra-spicy peppers isn’t particularly huge in this area–most of the hotter peppers will likely go to my CSA members and myself.  Besides jalapeños, most restaurants aren’t even interested in them–and jalapeños are often quite literally a dime a dozen.

The sweet pepper mix is a good one this year, I think–the big and blocky bell-like Napoleons, the generous horn-shaped Italian Sweets, and the long, skinny little sweet Nardello fryers that turn red early and dry well, too.  It’s always nice to have a sweet pepper that isn’t so watery and can be dried simply and easily.

In order to do this transplanting, I had to blend another batch of seedling mix, and I’d been putting that off since I came down last Sunday with a nasty case of bronchitis.

I hadn’t been to the doctor in a long time (OK–since last year, when I had that fungal thing the P.A. told me was my somehow having burned my lower back in a hot tub without noticing), but looking at my schedule for the next couple of weeks, I thought a modern medical intervention was probably the wisest course of action.

To give you an idea of how long it has been since I filled a prescription, my pharmacist had my old married name and an address from seven or eight years ago on my record.

But I got my antibiotic-and-codeine-syrup order filled, and I’m already starting to feel much better (the Chae’s spicy chicken and potato soup probably helped, too, along with all the garlic I’ve been slamming).

Anywho, I donned the dust mask and got to mixing, and managed to get the whole deal (mix and transplanting) done in just a couple of hours.  Now, I’m off to the farm, I think, to exercise the dog and dig out a clump or two of perennial bunching onions for the Vermillion Community Garden seed swap tonight!

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3 responses

  1. We just started using the soil blockers this year and you will love them. The trick is using the right soil mix…you need really fine for the small blocks…and then getting it wet enough to hold together. We found the wetter the better to make sure the blocks hold together. Let me say, transplanting is a breeze. Literally drop into the next block and give a slight push. Good luck and have fun!

    • Lindy–

      Thanks for the comment–I’m thinking I’ll need to get some quarter inch hardware cloth and build myself a screen for the seedling mix in order to sieve out the hunks of stick and bark that inevitably show up in the peat.

      Do you put your blocks on capillary mat (and if so, where did you get it)? Do you bottom water or top-mist?

      –Rebecca

  2. Rebecca,

    We actually used our seed starting plastic trays and clear lids for the soil blockers, too. The issue with the trays is they don’t have a flat bottom and the little guys tip over. We ended up using a flat plastic insert for the base of the small soil blockers….first year, so we’re testing as we go. It worked well. We did top-moist and that worked well, too.

    The only issue we see so far is that when we transplant from small to medium and then to large, we can’t “plant them down” and start to strengthen the stems. They pretty much stay where they are when they come out of the soil from the small soil block. So, we’re trying to strengthen with a slight breeze in the room. So far, so good.

    Lindy

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