Preparing Chilli seeds for fast germination

How to get seeds to germinate quickly

The day has come to prepare my Chilli seeds for planting.   The first step in the  Chilli growing season has been choosing which seeds to grow. This (as always) was quite difficult There is so much choice. But practicality dictates. There is only a certain amount of time and space in a season ! Now that the seeds have been chosen, the next step is to prepare them for fast germination.

This year I have decided that I will be trying four different ways to start my seeds.I have always enjoyed planting Chilli seeds with peat plugs . I have always had great success with them.   I  am also a fan of the hydroponics method of germinating seeds, so I will be using that as well.  For me, the two methods above are simple to do and deliver every time.

Preparing for fast germination

As for the other two methods, time will tell. Some growers swear by Rockwool cubes ( mineral wool) . Others by a method where the seeds are germinated between wet paper towels in a zip lock bag. I have previously  tried both of these ways of doing things – without much success .

However, I am always keen to learn . I will try the last two methods again,  but with only a few seeds . Let’s see whether I can be successful this time around. As already said, time will tell. In the meantime, however, I will stick with my tried and trusted peat plugs and hydroponics for the most part.

I will discuss each method in more detail in future posts. I will also share  what the outcomes have been. For the moment I will only cover what preparation needs to be done before the seeds are  planted. The idea is  to get them to germinate quickly.

What steps need to be taken ?

Rockwell cubes

Soaking the seeds and Rockwell cubes

I will be taking the following steps to prepare the seeds and the Rockwell cubes:

The seeds:
  • Need to be placed in lukewarm camomile tea.  ( it should not be too hot).  The seeds  need to be soaked overnight ( between 12 and 24 hours maximum). This will alert the seeds to the fact that they are being woken up. This is very much like rain does with seed outdoors . Soaking in water  will allow faster germination.
  • To make it easy to differentiate between the seeds, I will place each variety in its own clearly marked container for soaking. I do this because many a season has gone by where I have mixed up seeds at this point. What should have been a Cayenne turned out to be a Carolina reaper!!!
  • Tip: If you have old seeds and want to find out if they still have a chance of germinating, soak them in room temperature water for 15 minutes. If they float to the surface, they are not viable anymore. If they sink to the bottom, there is a reasonable chance of germination.
 Rockwell cubes :
  • They will need to be soaked before 2 hours in PH adjusted water for two hours prior to sowing. To do this, see here.
  • Before use, excess water will need to be removed from the cubes.
  • Do not squeeze the cubes to get rid of the water. This damages the structure of the fibres. Clench the cube gently between a thumb and forefinger. Then hake it vigorously until most of the water has been expelled.

Once this is done, I will  ready to go (except for some preparation of the peat plugs and wet paper towels).

The next post will describe this preparation, how to plant the seeds, and what steps should be taken to ensure that they will germinate quickly.

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Growing Chillies from seed. Revisited



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