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  • lukeathompson

Bigger is not better - a lesson learned on germination

I’ve learned a lesson for speedier germination and I will definitely have Orange Habanero plants to give away now!


With that last lot of Habanero seed I bought, after three weeks just two had hatched. After a month, only four. Then I bought a new batch, this time from South Devon Chilli Farm, and they started coming up after nine days. By this morning, after twelve days, I have six. So it looks like we’re going to be swimming in Orange Habaneros.


The lesson I’ve learned. For this new batch I used much smaller-celled seed trays. Those tiny finger ones. I did it because I needed to save space but these are the seeds that germinated first. Of the six that have come up, five are from the small-celled tray. So the smaller cell size is leading to faster germination. Why?


I suspect two factors. Firstly, being just a tiny plug, you can tell soil moisture levels more easily and regulate it better. Secondly, and more importantly, being smaller cells the seeds are closer to the heat mat and so they are slightly warmer. Cornwall has been pretty gloomy, grey and chilly through March and this extra warmth is clearly welcome to the Habaneros.


So smaller tray cells. They save space and accelerate germination.


The only drawback is I will have an extra stage of potting on. We’ll see if that makes a difference to their development in a few weeks.


Note: The photo here is of the Rocoto this morning. The leaves are much broader than the other seedlings, and you can see the hairy leaves quite clearly. This is why they’re called Capsicum pubescens.

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