Spring has Sprung! A Month Early!

Garden peas and sugar snap peas were planted  a week ago! They should be up in about a week.


Bachelor Buttons, Shasta Daisy, Pansies, Snap Dragons, Marigolds, Foxglove and other flower seed were planted in cell trays. Broccoli, Cabbage and Cauliflower were started as well.

Tomato and Pepper seed will be planted tomorrow.  Full production has started in earnest!


Flowers have started to bloom. The Crocus and jonquils are showing their lovely blooms!

Watch for more gardening goodies!!!


Papa is Published!

What a pleasure! The Heirloom Gardener magazine has published three of my articles. The 2016 Spring edition has highlighted the Etiuda orange bell pepper, Red Express red cabbage and Hilton Chinese cabbage.

Heirloom Gardener Spring 20161A

I am currently writing two more articles which may be in the Summer 2016 issue. I look forward to writing more articles for various other venues.

If interested, the magazine may be purchased online, Whole Foods, Home Depot and Barnes and Nobles.

Stay posted!!


Why Does the Pepper Seed Take So Long to Germinate?

I started my peppers at the same as the tomatoes. Some of the peppers did not come up until 2 weeks later than the tomatoes. Why is this happening?

Pepper seedlings



Peppers are related to tomatoes, but have different requirements for germination. Sweet pepper requires a germination temperature of 75° – 80° (F). The seed trays benefit from being covered with plastic domes or plastic wrap to retain humidity until germination. A minimum of 6 hours of sunlight will allow your seedlings to have shorter, stockier stems.

To meet these requirements you will have to supply:

  • Heat source
    • On top of the refrigerator, where the defrosting coils are located.
    • On top of an electric water heater.
    • A wire shelf with an incandescent light fixture placed underneath.
    • A thermostatically controlled electric heat mat placed under the flat.
  • Light source
    • Natural sunlight – 6 hours minimum
    • Artificial light
      • Fluorescent fixture – seed trays 1 inch from the bulbs for 16 hours a day
      • LED fixture – seed trays 1 inch from the bulbs for 14 – 16 hours a day
  • Humidity retention source
    • Clear plastic wrap stretched over seed flat
    • Clear plastic dome placed over flat
  • Soil
    • Soil vs. soilless mix
    • Jiffy planter pellets – peat moss or coconut coir
    • Soil blocks made from compost and other natural amendments (blood meal, bone meal, green sand, rock phosphate, etc.)
  • Water
    • Tap water
    • Well water
    • Filtered water
    • Rain water



Hot peppers require a germination temperature of 80° – 85° (F). The hotter germination temperature is necessary for tropical pepper types. Some varieties such as Ghost Pepper, Habanero and Trinidad Scorpion (all 3 are Capsicum chinense) require a longer germination time. You need patience to grow these types of hot pepper. You may be able to speed up the germination process by soaking the seed overnight. By re-hydrating the seed, the plants may emerge more quickly!!

The basic requirements for hot pepper are the same as the sweet pepper mentioned above.