In south Louisiana, Mardi Gras is over and the golden rods are blooming. That means 2 things: Its crawfish season, and its pepper growing season!
I ordered my seeds this year from Pepper Joe (www.pepperjoe.com) and I still had some left over from last year’s order (from http://www.pepperlover.com). I highly recommend both sites! The seeds from last year (Moruga Scorpion and Naga Viper) sprouted quickly, and the plants were very bountiful. Also included as a bonus in last year’s order were some 7 Pod Jonah and Trinidad Doughlah seeds. I am planting those this year along with the 5 varieties I got from Pepper Joe: Purple Jalapeno, Kung Pao, Chocolate Fatali, Hungarian Wax, and Garden Bird peppers.
Before I get to the sowing of the seeds, I’ll touch a bit on how to keep plants over winter (known as “overwintering”). Pepper plants like warm weather, but are pretty tolerant of the cold. Being in south Louisiana, I can get away with leaving them outdoors a good bit, but i bring them in for a couple weeks at a time if the low temperatures are below the mid 40s. Its best to prune the plants back a little bit, since they go somewhat dormant. They also will stop producing peppers. The goal is just to keep them alive, as they will take right back off once spring arrives.
Here are some pictures of my overwintered plants: 2 Moruga Scorpions, 2 Naga Vipers, and 1 Jalapeno (now my oldest at 3 years). You can see how the bigger leaves from the summer drop off, and smaller ones replace them, this is part of the plants “dormant” stage.
I am planting 5 varieties of seeds (for now), which is the most I’ve done so far. Here are the seed packets:
And a close up (but blurry) view of the seeds:
I’ve had great success with starting seeds using Jiffy pods and greenhouses. The pods are a form of peet that has been dehydrated. Just add water and they puff up to about 4 times the original size.
After they are hydrated, I “till” the soil a bit with my fingers, and then create little holes where I put the seeds. I’m putting 2 seeds in each pod, hopefully I get 3 seedlings of each variety, then I’ll decide how many I’ll keep and give the others away as gifts. (so be nice!)
The lid is on, now the wait begins.
This is the earliest I have started seeds, but later than alot of people do. I’m lucky to have a long growing season. The plants will be inside and under lights for the early part of their life, and hopefully the weather will be nice and warm by the time they need to move outside.
I used a grid system to keep track of which seeds are in which pods. ABCDE down one axis, 12345 down the other. So A1 is a Purple Jalapeno, and B2 is a Kung Pao, etc etc.
I’ll update as they sprout, stay spicy!