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Just because I said in some thread or another, that I would follow up on my results, here it is. The deal is...

I love hot peppers, but hate how long it takes for certain seeds to germinate (sometimes over 2 weeks). This often results in a lot of nail biting, and constant checking moisture levels, temps etc...So the thinking here was that many varieties of hot peppers evolved and proliferated mainly due to birds. Birds, not having taste buds that react to the capsaicinoids that make peppers spicy, eat them along with the seeds. The pepper gets digested in the acidic environment of the birds stomach, while the seeds only get 'softened up'. This softening up of the seeds hard outer shell should let it germinate quicker when it exists the bird and falls to the ground.

So...I took 24 germinating cells and 32 Habenero seeds, soaked 16 seeds in a jar of acidic water (pH 4.8 or so) for about 7-8 hours and planted them all in the same medium at the same time as the non soaked seeds. Temps and everything else was the same as well (within the best of my abilities). I was being a wimp with the pH and next time I do this will bring the pH closer to 3.0 or so...but it turns out that the soaked seeds came up first anyways 3:0 then 7:3 then 10:6. The results weren't drastic or anything, but still... (and neither was my pH low enough, so I'll be doing this again).

4 of the 12 cells on each side have 2 seeds planted, while the remainder all have 1 seed each.

The 2 rows on the left are the 'acid seeds'...

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Comment by Eric Warwick on June 3, 2012 at 5:54pm

@Vlad, becuase HCl is, how do I phrase this...F-ing Awesome!

Comment by Vlad Jovanovic on June 1, 2012 at 12:07am

I went to the local corner store. Seriously, I am not kidding. (It's 14-16% solution). Why?

Comment by Eric Warwick on May 31, 2012 at 5:23pm

Vlad, just out of curiousity, how in h--- did you get HCl?

Comment by Vlad Jovanovic on May 30, 2012 at 3:26am

@Steve, IDK maybe I still have this last winter on my mind. It was a doozie with month long sustained temps between -13 to -25C. My fig barely made it, I had to chop it back town to the ground entirely. New shoots are poping out of the rootstock, though. My apricots...frozen through in places, with trunks split and burst, many grapes didn't fare well either, but again, new shoots are making a comeback in places...So tropicals seem like a fantasy to me right now...I'm not too far from BG, but am up much higher where the driving winds and cold get brutal at times...BG is in a valley where 3 rivers meet.

@Converse, Keep the worm info coming! It's part of why I want to do the worm trench. (I left a couple pics for you in the "Composting worms thread" ...I used your dichotomy keys to the best of my abilities to try and identify the little guys...wonder if I got it right?...I usually use about 10% worm castings in my germination mix...and wet with diluted kelp cold cell burst extracted auxins and cytokinins, but worm casting tea sounds more appealing than buying Kelpak.

@Carey, thank you the peroxide idea might be a better route to lower the pH than the HCL I used.

Comment by Carey Ma on May 30, 2012 at 12:17am

Thank you Vlad for you info.

I usually rinse my seeds in a hydrogen peroxide to soften and make sure i have no contamination then I soak them in a fungal based tea for a couple hours before I plant them. 

Comment by Converse on May 29, 2012 at 10:16pm

Hey Vlad,

    Don't mean to sound like a broken record when it comes to worm castings...I realize they are not the answer to all the world's problems...but here's another use for worm castings...They contain auxins and gibberellins, and I know you are familiar with natural plant growth hormones.  Misting your seeds with worm casting tea prior to planting is supposed to increase germination success and decrease germination time.  We see these results on our place (but we have not grown hot peppers), so we know it is not just hype. The results are also documented with Ohio State Univ. Soils Lab.  If you have not done this, you might give it a try.  You'll be eating those peppers soon! Great test.  Thanks for sharing the results. Nice photo.

Comment by Steve Perreault on May 29, 2012 at 9:00pm

Ah come on now... I don't know exactly where you live in Serbia. But, I did a comparison of average temperatures (High and Low) in Belgrade, Serbia to where I live (Portsmouth, Rhode Island). As you can see our weather is nearly identical at least temperature wise. I'm hear to tell you that it is possible to grow tropical plants. I've done some hardy figs and I have a friend who lives a few miles from me that has done banana trees, bamboo and slew of other tropicals.

Comment by Vlad Jovanovic on May 29, 2012 at 4:55pm

Wow! those are some great results those folks got in the study you linked! Too bad growing anything tropical here is pretty out of the question 

I've not had many problems with germinating anything to date, (and time time I did have difficulties it turned out to be related to a cruddy seed stock) but man, these Hab's seem to take forever!

More have sprouted on the 'acid side' since that pic was taken.

Yeah, try out some different ideas and have fun...

Comment by Steve Perreault on May 29, 2012 at 10:44am

Vlad -  You may be onto something. Good luck with your experiment - germination has fustrated me too. I may try a few experiments of my own.

BTW - I did a search on this and came up with this interesting experiment that used hot water to improve germination >

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