It’s Pepper Plantin’ Time

01 Mar

It’s March first, here in the South we are in a full-blown spring-feverish pitch. The sky is overcast, the furnace is blowing and it is time to plant peppers. Many people say they have a black thumb. That isn’t true. What really happens is they purchase the wrong plants, seeds, and soil. So before we begin let’s talk about the peat pods you find in the store. Do not buy them. Instead, purchase a bag of good potting soil and packs of Botanical Interest seeds.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while you know that I am a cheerleader for Botanical Interest Seeds. Sure, I could go to any number of home improvement businesses and purchase their plants, but I don’t know what type of growth hormone they’ve bathed the plants in. Now, more than ever, it is very important to know what is in your food.

Pick a pack of peppers and plant

Pick a pack of peppers and plant

Step One:

Determine the seeds you want to plant. Here is the direct link to Peppers at Botanical Interests.

Step Two: Recycle old containers. I use empty lettuce containers and berry baskets

1393682614972Step Three: Shred newspapers. This provides a great base for your plants. Shred newspapers and water them well. Don’t use the colorful paper. Make sure you shred paper printed with non-toxic ink (read the front inside of your paper to determine the type of ink used). Press them down tight. Roots grow toward the moist newspapers. Poof. Easy Pea-sy.

Step Four:

Add dirt. In Atlanta we have to make our own dirt. We must mix organic matter in with the clay. This aerates the soil and promotes growth.1393682887930

Step Five: Sprinkle seeds.1393682743496

I’ve planted the seeds thick. Once seedlings start, place them in small cups and give them away. Many churches and schools have community gardens. Share your seedlings.

Step Six: Water lightly.

Step Seven:

Place top on the container. Notice how the moisture from the newspapers is already creating a greenhouse environment? 1393683449783

Step Eight:


This is a TRICK. Place containers on a heating pad in a sunny window. This warms the soil quickly. Seeds will emerge in a few days and will grow in the container for many weeks.

Plant seedlings as soon as the risk of frost has passed.

While my methods are by no means purist, I am doing my best to feed my family healthy food. Happy growing.

About Renea:

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Mountain Memories: True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination. In 2014, Mercer University Press will release her next book titled Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches. Email her through her website at I would be honored if you’d download a copy of my work.


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