2.	Seedlings sprouting using Smolin Ed’s chili pepper growing guide

Goldilocks Growing Conditions: Water, Temperature, Time and Placement

Ed Currie

Once your seedlings are planted and fertilized, this is where the rest of the chemistry of growing begins. The following elements are a beautiful balancing act that takes time and attentiveness. It’s a labor of love to find and create the perfect Goldilocks growing conditions. (not too wet, not too dry, not too cold, not too hot, not too sunny, not too shady, not too crowded, …just right)

WATERING:

Just like a bad conversation, you can’t break free from soon enough- you don’t want your soil to be too dry or to be a wet blanket at the growing party. Follow these steps to water your soil to perfection.

  • Dampen soil mix from the start and continue to keep moist, but not so much where it is completely soaked the majority of the time.
  • Never let the soil completely dry out. Soil should be moist, but not extremely wet during the germination attempt.
  • Soil that is too wet can result in fungal issues such as damping off or rotting of seeds.
  • Place a humidity dome or plastic over the seedlings/trays to retain moisture.
  • It is important to keep soil damp, but not overly wet to avoid seeds from rotting.
  • We do NOT suggest using the paper or any other method.

 

TEMPERATURE:

Pepper plants are a lot like southerners. They struggle and begin to decline in cold temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm temperatures are equally as important during the seed germination process. These growing temperatures and steps will help your pepper seeds thrive.

  • Place trays/containers on a heat mat or use another means to achieve soil temperatures of 80-85 degrees F to get best germination rates.
  • Seeds will still germinate with lower temperatures. But time to sprout may be dramatically lengthened.
  • We highly recommend confirming soil temperature with two independent devices for accuracy.
  • Heat mat thermostats can go bad.
  • If you have the seedling tray in the window, be sure they are not getting too hot. Soil temps can rise very fast in full sunlight.
  • Measuring with a soil thermometer is a good way to ensure they are staying in the optimal range.
  • If the soil gets too hot, seeds can get ‘cooked’ and become non-viable.

 

TIME:

Remember, time is patient, time is kind. So at this phase in the game, be patient with your peppers and give them time to grow. The time needed for intense peppers like Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper ® can take up to a few weeks and can vary.

  • Germination time for Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper®, as well as most other Capsicum Chinese type peppers can vary substantially.
  • We have experienced germination times as little as seven days to six weeks.
  • Please be patient as this species of pepper generally takes longer to germinate than common Capsicum annuum peppers like chili peppers, bell pepper and jalapeños.

 

PLACEMENT SIZE:

Placement is everything and your plants, just like humans, need their space. Be sure to provide plenty of space for your plants to grow.

  • Space 4′ apart. Plant can grow to 4′ wide x 6′ tall.

 

ACCLIMATING:

Just like all big moments in life; your new peppers will need time to acclimate to their environment and will need thoughtful monitoring and adjustments to find what works best for them to thrive to their fullest potential.

  • Slowly acclimate plants to full sunlight, wind and other weather conditions of their final destination.
  • Expose your new plants to full sun in short time increments, slowly increasing while monitoring closely.
  • Return them to shade or other protection if under stress, wait for recovery, then start exposing again.


Once you find your plants optimal growing condition and location, they will begin to thrive more with each day. At this point in the growing process your plants are established and stable and it’s just a matter of time before your plants fully bloom with incredibly beautiful hot peppers of your own.