I’m a pretty big proponent of the old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That being said, I’m also a firm believer that anything can be improved with small iterations. And, so, that’s where we stand at the start of the 2021 pepper season – some things have stayed the same, while a few modifications have entered the process.

empty pepper pots

While planning what I wanted to grow this season, I decided to give a more concerted effort towards organization. In seasons past, I’ve run into a couple of issues with mis-labeled tags or not having enough supplies to get going. This year, I pre-labeled all my tags and got everything set up prior to sowing the seeds. So, that’s one thing that has been modified from previous seasons. Instead of flying by the seat of my pants, a bit of organization entered the fray.

empty pepper pots

I have kept my seed starter soil mixture essentially the same as years past. My local Home Depot was out of Jiffy seed starting mix which has usually formed the base of my mix, but they did have the Nature’s Care product which worked just as well. Add in some richer potting soil and a healthy amount of perlite and we were ready to rock and roll – or at least nod along to some music while sowing.

empty pepper pots
empty pepper pots

As you can see in one of the photos above, I have a more elaborate grow station. Gone is the make-shift, PVC framework that I had sitting on my office floor. Now, I’ve got a two stage lighting arrangement on a Husky shelving system. I’m still using the Barrina LED T5 lights for both stages. The only difference between the two is the distance of the light from the pots. Unfortunately, for this particular set up, there is no option to update the lighting position on the fly like I had on my older set up. We’ll see how this goes in the next month or two – particularly stage 2.

Another rather big edit I have made for this season is seen below. Typically, I sow into the seed starting mix and cover with the same material, soaking thoroughly with water. This year, I am using vermiculite for the first time.

The seeds are set in depressions in the seed starting mix and then covered with a light layer of the vermiculite. Everything is then soaked fully with a Chamomile tea dilution. I’m hoping that this update to my process will help eliminate the helmet headed seedlings that I see quite often when starting my own plants.

empty pepper pots

I’ve also got some sturdy trays holding the three groups of pots so bottom watering will be that much easier, as well. That’s it for now. I’m giddy to have gotten the season finally underway – waiting for this weekend made me crazy and with peppers on the brain, I kept window shopping for more varieties online. Thankfully, my wallet is safe for the time being. Till next time.