Carnival of Capsicums

The first seeds that I plant each year are Capsicums: chillies and sweet peppers. They need a long growing season to maximise fruit production and ripening, so I sow seeds in January or February. The best levels of germination are achieved in warm conditions, so I always plant mine in an electric propagator.

Five varieties of Capsicums sown

Five varieties of Capsicums sown

Last year, in an attempt to reduce my use of resources, I planted them in toilet roll middles filled with compost, but unfortunately the germination rates were very disappointing and I ended up undertaking a second sowing much later. I thought carefully about this and realised that the problem was probably the result of raising the seeds too far from the heat. A toilet roll middle is about 5 inches long and an electric propagator heats from the base, so the seeds were quite a distance from the source of heat. This year I have cut the toilet roll middles in half, thus using less compost and reducing the distance between heat and seed. Fingers crossed that I will have more success this year – I will report back.

The varieties I have sown are: sweet peppers Lipstick and Nova; chillies Lemon drop and Alberto’s locoto; plus a mix of seven Australian heritage sweet peppers (thanks to Kate).

Colleen and Mira

Colleen and Mira

An additional job yesterday was putting the seed potatoes out to chit. When I removed them from their box, I discovered that the first earlies (Colleen) had all already started growing profusely so care was needed to remove them from the nets they had been sent in. The main crop (Mira) also had some small sprouts. I intend to share these tubers  with my sister (who has a new garden) and have a great potato harvest in 2014, like we did in 2013, but this time in both west Wales and Shropshire.

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  1. I also like egg cartons for seedlings, but then we can plant ours out sooner because the soil is warmer early in the year, and the seedlings don’t need to be so large. You can cut the egg cartons apart with scissors when you’re ready to plant out. I’m looking forward to seeing how Downunder capsicums do Upalong! This is the year of my new vegie garden, and there will be sweet potatoes, grown for both the leaves and the tubers.

  2. Here’s hoping for a bumper harvest in the half loo rolls.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  3. Great post! Amazing how useful the empty toilet tissue rolls can be. I’ve used them for packing — to help hold up a box that isn’t quite full, or protect little things. Recently I saw artistic masks made from them — quite beautiful when finished.
    Who’d a thunk it? 🙂

  4. Great idea, thank you! Now I have to sort the toilet paper tubes out of our recycling bins! I’ve been starting seeds in paper egg cartons, but worried there wasn’t much room for medium and sometimes had to transplant up to salvaged coffee cups. Cut-down TP tubes sound ideal.

    I can confirm that sweet potatoes thrive in the depleted soils of the southeastern US (cotton monoculture was a long-term agricultural disaster).

    • Nice to know that depleted soils are good for something! Last time I tried to grow sweet potatoes I ended up with tubers abut 2 feet long and half an inch wide… I was told that this was because my soils were too fertile. I have given up growing (but not eating) them….

  5. It’s so good that we can all start sowing seeds again! Lovely to hear your news. I bought my first carrot seeds today. I use the cardboard tubes from inside toilet and kitchen roll for starting off my carrots. I have poor germination if I sow directly in the tube, so I plant in a seed tray first then ‘prick out’ into the compost filled tube. This way I am planting out carrots which are quite well established and I can get lovely straight rows!

  6. I never thought about using toilet paper rolls. Maybe I’ll try something like that or egg cartons instead of buying kits at the store.

  1. toilet paper roll tube peat pot substitutes | What I Shed Today
  2. starting peppers from seed this season | What I Shed Today
  3. plastic planting containers | What I Shed Today

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