I have something really exciting to show you!
Look what happened!
My lovely green babies are starting to appear!
Hello there! I see you peeking out at me!
In a few months, you’ll be all grown up and enjoying the sunshine and gentle breezes in the garden.
The pictures above are of my pepper plants. I have started about 10 different varieties of peppers this year for a total of about 50-60 plants. I know what your’re thinking….a little excessive? Where does she put them? Who in the world can eat that many peppers? The answer, obviously, is that I cannot control myself when seed shopping and may need an intervention before next year. “Ma’am, please step away from the seed catalog!” But I REALLY wanted 700 different varieties of peppers, I NEED them ALL!
It is my fourth year starting seeds. In year three I changed my method of starting seeds because this was my track record in years 1 – 2:
Year 1 death rate: 100%
Year 2 death rate: 80%
At this point I researched better ways to prevent the main cause of my seedlings dying…damping-off.
Year 3 death rate: 5%
The low seedling death I experienced in year 3 was due to natural causes or human error on my part. With my new method of starting seeds, I had zero loss due to damping-off.
What is damping-off? Here is the official definition sourced from dictionary.com:
1. a disease of seedlings, occurring either before or immediately after emerging from the soil, characterized by rotting of the stem at soil level and eventual collapse of the plant, caused by any of several soil fungi. …damping–off is a common ailment of young seedlings and cuttings.
It was pretty awful. In year one, the beautiful green seedlings appeared, and within a few days they shriveled and died. There was nothing you could do to save them.
In year two I tried sterilization techniques. I washed and sterilized all my equipment, pots and purchased sterilized soil. Even with sterilization, however, I lost most of my plants.
Year three I made some major changes that eradicated the damping-off problem. In my next few gardening posts, I will take you step-by-step through the equipment I use, how I get the seedlings started, and how I keep them alive.
Gardening has been something that I’ve learned as I go along. When I first started, my husband teased me about my “black thumb.” So if you have a black thumb like me, check in from time to time to see what’s happening in my garden…I am here to help!
Have a wonderful St. Paddy’s day, and I hope you enjoyed this “Bit O’Green!”
P.S. does anyone out there need any peppers? Hello?