Do you start your nightshades with heat?



The past few years I have been growing out a variety of peppers for myself and others, but this year, I have to save my Jimmy Nardello Peppers. Once it hits year 3, I need to save seeds again from those that grow best in our area. I saved heirloom Nardello peppers from our 2012 drought and needed to grow those out since I want my peppers to be acclimated to my growing area. Peppers need to be isolated at least 500 feet from another species. I have not had any problems with them coming back a nice, sweet frying pepper since I am the only one growing this type of pepper in the area. Since I live in an urban area, I can’t count on that always being the case.


Capsicum spp.

“Self- or insect-pollinated, pepper varieties of the same species will cross-pollinate. There is no crossing between varieties of different species, however. You can safely grow one hot or sweet pepper (C. annuum) and one Tabasco pepper (C. frutescens) without danger of their crossing.

Peppers within the same species can be safely isolated by 500 feet of separation, or they can be caged since the plants are not overly large. Allow peppers to ripen and dry fully on the plants before harvesting the pods. Wash your hands thoroughly with soapy water after harvesting hot pepper seeds, since the residues will burn eyes and lips for some time after contact!”

Pepper seeds will keep for 2 or 3 years if properly stored.” read more”

IMG_7692-casper-egg-plantI also need to save seed from my Casper Egg Plant (50 feet isolation)  from 2013. I wrote a post on seed saving (Seed Saving in Urban Areas-read more here) last year  and there is a chart on that site ( chart from FEDCO for seed saving-here) One of the problems of saving seed in an urban area is that we live so close to one another  since our growing area is quite close to one another we need to be aware of what seeds we can save in the city.


I germinate my eggplant and peppers a few weeks earlier than my tomatoes. I have found they are the perfect size if I start them a bit sooner than my tomatoes. I usually start tomatoes for our zone 5 area after St. Patrick’s day or week of March 17th. One year, I started them in early February, and I felt the plants were too lanky and did no better with ripening sooner than the ones; I started in March.

IMG_7709-matIt was not until  Andrew from  Yeoman Farmer Ramblings told my husband at work,” Tell Robbie to start her nightshades with heat.”Boy was he right! I have had some of mine come up as soon as a few days after I place them on the heat. Crazy! It makes a  difference. If you are starting your tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant this month, make sure you use a heating pad. You will never attempt to germinate these seeds any other way once you try it!


I also use a cover on them while they are germinating. In the evening, before we close down for the night, I turn off the overhead lights but leave the heating pad on for 24 hours until most of the young nightshades are germinating. Once the tray is mostly germinated, I take them off the heat.


I do not lie! I started these on March 4th, and they are germinating on March 9th! Yep, and sometimes I have even had them do it in 24 hours-heat works!


10 Comments Add yours

  1. plumdirt says:

    I absolutely use a heating pad for my pepper seeds! The germination rate without it is maybe 5%. No bueno!


    1. Robbie says: true!:-) it amazes me eveytime!


  2. Incredible what you have to do in your part of the world! I am enjoying tomatoes fresh from the vine every day Robbie – still! It has been a big learning curve and a lot of fun. Tomatoes made it to the ‘grow again’ list for next year 🙂


    1. Robbie says:

      they are a “to do” on a grow list! YUM. I can’t wait! Our snow is melting + it will be in the 50’s this weekend!spring is around the corner:-)


  3. narf77 says:

    I must be tired after all of the college and crocheting I have been doing of late as that first image had me salivating and thinking of granola! Might have to lay off the nightshade granola if I want to avoid heartburn, especially the chilli variety ;). Soaking your seeds overnight before you plant them also pre-germinates them. I have had beans that I soaked (and then germinated in a sprouter) germinate in record time. Excellent share about the heat pad. I will be doing this for next seasons tomatoes, chillis, capsicums and eggplants 🙂


    1. Robbie says:

      I have soaked seeds, but I should try it with others:-) Makes perfect sense to me. That is mini-me granola-LOL:-) It really does work with the nightshades. It is day 8 and most of them have germinated. I took the lids off today + will move them off the mats when 90 percent are germinated. I remember when I use to start them under lights it took a lot longer to germinate:-)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. narf77 says:

        I am sorry that I didn’t realise that something was wrong Robbie. I have been flat out here learning the new ropes of life in 2015. They are very different to the ropes that we have been holding onto for the last 5 years and I wasn’t able to pick up the subtle nuances that something was wrong. Ms Pauline said it all. She is my hero 🙂


      2. Robbie says:

        aww fran-it was just a crappy post about putting my peppers on heat..not an ounce of “enthusiasm” in my post-I could tell. Usually, I am more postive and it was just_
        here are my plants, I put them on heat:-)LOL…pretty blah…yep, I can’t fool Ms Pauline-she is a hero to all of us- over the cyber fence:-)
        You are in school+I know how consuming that can be!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Kathy Sturr says:

    Robbie, I hope to plant seeds by the weekend – this year right in the greenhouse (another great experiment)! I usually don’t start out using heat but if pepper/tomato, etc. seeds aren’t germinating like I think they should, I place my good ol’ grandmother’s heating pad under a towel under the tray to see if I can get something brewing. I am excited – I attended my master gardener’s meeting this morning and we were given plants of tomato varieties to test for blight and even septoria resistance: Coyote, Iron Lady, Jasper, and Mountain Merit. Dreaming of tomato sandwiches already!


    1. Robbie says:

      Me too!!! I can’t imagine a summer without that first tomato!!!! 🙂 Wow, those sound interesting, I have never heard of any of those tomatoes-look forward to your report!


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