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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Midnight Sun Pepper planting and some of my ideas.

It will soon be that time where you need to figure out what seeds you would like to grow. Right now, I am planning on starting (within the next two weeks) my pepper plants as they need a little more time to grow and stabalize in the land of the Midnight Sun. Usually I start them way early to get as much out of them as I can, but I have been slow as of this year and the Man is asking when I plan on sprouting his favorite food.

Depending on how you start, as I have stated in a previous entry, I freeze all of my seeds which include the peppers. As long as there is no moisture in the packets and they are in a plastic bag, they should be good. Always make sure that you let them sit overnight to warm back up to room tempurature after you freeze your seeds.

I use old cups, small butter or sour cream containers, with holes at the bottom, that have been washed and sanitized. I then put them on whatever they will sit on to drain. It makes life easier when I do this as I start them in my house as I do not have a stable greenhouse yet. I add an inch of sand to all my containers, than add a layer of pete moss and some good warm and fertilized soil at the top. I then place what seeds in the container and write on a plastic spoon as to what type of pepper they are. Spoons are cheaper in the long run and can be reused and sanitized in a dishwasher down the road and after growing season. What I do now, is different them other gardeners. I do not use a water can to water my peppers. I grab a little spray bottle with distilled water (I fill an old clean milk jug and let it sit for a week at room temp) at room temp and on a spray pattern rather than a direct stream and spray the containers until I see a small amount of water come out of the bottom of the container. The reason is that you don't disturb the soil as much and the plant when germinating can hold on to what soil it needs and it won't stunt the growth. The distilled water at room temp, seems to help germinate faster than plain cold tap or well water. I then take either plastic wrap or some plastic bags and put on top of the container with a rubber band wrapped at the bottom of the container to hold in the moisture.

When sprouting... I have noticed the frozen seeds germinate faster than the seeds those that have not. But sometimes, even the frozen seeds take a while. I would say 3-14 days depending on seed.

When the peppers become larger, do the same soil equation with large containers as you did with the starters. Peppers that do not drain properly will either become fungal or die and I have quite a bit of success with this method keeping them alive.

When it is warm enough, by Alaskan standards, put them in your now warm greenhouse or if you do not have a greenhouse you can do this. Visqueen is a great insulator. Grab a roll or if someone has a good section ask if you can have a 5 foot by 5 foot section. Find the sunniest location around your house. Do not plant your peppers there.. I would recommend you still keep them in their containers. Put a piece of 1 inch wide by 2 or 3 foot long wood onto your house via staples or small nails and do not go above 2 feet or so on the house. Make sure you know where the wire to your electric are as well as your water pipes. You don't want to have to call a repair man. After putting up your wood, grab your visqueen plastic and role whatever side a couple time so you can make the plastic stronger. Staple the rolled middle of your visqueen to your wood, hoping that you have at least a foot extra on both sides. Put peppers in there during the day and some of the night as they will need to cool down as well. This works well for most Alaskans and can be used for smaller variety tomatoes. Make sure to water after they are cooled off. If it becomes cold and rainy out, you will need to bring them inside.

These are some ideas for those who want to try, start and get going on the planting already.  I usually start my other seeds around Iditorod, which is about 4 weeks from now. 

Does anyone else grow peoppers up here?  What varieties?  Organic or otherwise?

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