Methode rapide de germination de semences de poivron

February is a good time to start sowing your heat loving veggies. This group includes peppers. Peppers grow very slow and need quite high temperatures to germinate. If I would wait till those outdoor temperatures reach my part of the world naturally, I will end up with a pepper plant that has barely started growing by the end of the summer. You want to prevent that from happening by sowing your seeds early. Early, as in January or February of each year. You do that along with the aubergines for example and follow them up a few weeks later with the tomatoes.

Most people choose the traditional method for sowing their pepper seeds. They take some compost in a pot, place a seed on top and cover it again with a bit of compost. Then they water the soil gently and cover the pot with a cover and place it in a sunny windowsill. I’ve stopped doing it like that last year. I had lost so many precious seeds due to failed germination the years before, that I had to resort to a less traditional, but more efficient method: the damp towel method.

You see, if you don’t have a really warm house (or a heated greenhouse), the germination process will take too long to get started. Some people have a permanent temperature of +20 degrees in their house during winter. That’s not the case in our house. We rarely reach 20 degrees and if we do, it’s only in the evening. So even with a cover on top of a pot, it’s very difficult to get pepper seeds started here traditionally. That’s why I had to find another solution.

At the same time I came across some pretty peppers in the shop during march or april and I realised that sowing them (their seeds) in a traditional way, wouldn’t enable me to grow them during that same season. So I had one more motivation to test out something new and try out the damp cloth method.

It’s a very simple method. You take some pepper seeds. Fold them into a sturdy paper damp towel. Then you place it into a plastic bag which you close off loosely. Don’t forget to mark your varieties. I marked the bags with paper labels in this case. You now only need to keep the seeds warm. While many people recommend placing the bags on top of a modem (because it’s always on and warm), I didn’t feel very comfortable with doing that as the modem is designed in a way that it should release the warmth easily and not be blocked by a pile of plastic bags.

So at first I resorted to a box filled with warm water. The water would stay warm for two days or so. I would then exchange the water every other day. That method worked well, but I eventually also found out a method to use the modem in a way that I would benefit from its warmth without blocking its flow. I just placed the bags close to the modem, but not directly against it. I have also used my coffee maker (we have an espresso machine) to keep my seeds warm. Whatever place you choose, you should keep in mind that the seed packets like to be at a place which is 20-25 degrees until they germinate. You can check the seeds once a week or so, to water them if necessary and check if they have germinated.

After germination they want to live in slightly different circumstances. They want to be kept warm, but as an added need, they like to live in a light place. You will have to take them out of the towel when they look something like the image below. Ideally you should take them out when they are a bit less developed. But don’t worry if you have forgotten them and they are this big.

The good thing by now is, that a few weeks will have passed and that by now the weather will be a bit warmer and the days will be a bit longer, so it will be easier to grow the plant in your house (even if it’s not permanently heated and not very light).

What you then do, is that you carefully take them (the good-looking / not rotten seedlings) off the cloth and place them in a pot of compost with the root facing down and the leaves facing up. You carefully make a hole with your finger in the middle of the wet compost and slowly drop the seedling in the hole. That’s it, now cover it with something and place it somewhere light and warm. Leave it to grow until the weather is warm enough to plant it outdoors (or in a greenhouse).

Keep taking care of it and it will reward you with delicious peppers. For me last year was the first year that I had a really good crop of peppers. I believe this new way of starting off my seeds contributed to this (next to the amazing compost I got my hands on). Let me know if this method also works out for you!