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The Pepper Chronicles Part II: A New Product is Born (Literally)

It's now exactly a month into this year's endeavor and we now have 339 plants moved into bigger homes. I finished out 200 Cayenne plants, weeding out all but one seedling per pod and potting them into 6" round pots leftover from last season. I couldn't help but notice such a waste of seedlings. Each pod had 2-4 seedlings in them, almost all of them incredibly healthy looking, just discarded and wasted, but we just didn't have a need for so many seedlings. Until now.

My partner, Kathe, and I were discussing the future one night, how many seedlings we'll plant, how many we have right now, that sort of thing, when she casually mentioned selling our extra seedlings. Naturally I'd rather make a sale than waste a plant, and there's no sense in a perfectly good investment like a Habanero, Ghost Chili, or Cayenne plant, so of course I'm on board with that. But I wasn't sure how to scale such an endeavor, so I put it in my back pocket to mull over a bit and figure things out.

The next day I went to continue potting with the Habaneros and remembered we saved all of the small square pots from the seedlings I purchased last year, and immediately realized I'm an idiot. I should have been planting seedlings in these things the whole time! Not only do they consume less dirt than the larger 6" pots, but they are sooo much more space efficient, fitting 18 per 1020 tray instead of the 8 when using the old 6" pots. With these new pots, all of a sudden I can fit more than double the amount of seedlings in our grow room. Immediately I decided to pot every single seedling I could, from every single pot. It slowed the process of potting, but not enough to make me decide not to do it, as it allows me to minimize losses, planting virtually every single seedlings. It hit me: this is how we do it. One tray of 50 starter pods yielded me 139 seedlings potted, with almost 3 more full trays to go, as well as a 3 trays of Ghost Chili's to go. We decided early on to not plant varieties outside of our original product line this year, but I've decided to reconsider that as it allows us to sell a wide array of seedlings.

So I continue sowing seeds, waiting for them to sprout, pot them, repeat, repeat, repeat. Come spring I hope to have hundreds of Delta Mike's Pepper Plants sold in farmers markets, on our website, any way we can. Whether classic Jalapenos, superhot Carolina Reapers, exotic Aji peppers, or any of our other varieties, we'll be bringing the heat every way we can.

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