The Q&A Archives: Tomato and Pepper Seedlings Sprouting at Different Times

Question: I have the Burpee tomato and pepper starting set where you plant them both in the same greenhouse. The tomatoes have sprouted first and are getting tall and spindly while I am waiting for the peppers to sprout. Do I leave the "greenhouse" plastic lid on until the peppers pop and hope the tomato seedling don't fail in the meantime, or remove the lid and hope for the best with the pepper seeds? From what I have read, the tomatoes sprouted when they were supposed to and peppers do usually take somewhat longer.

Answer: It sounds like you really need to put those tomatoes into some very bright light. If you leave the plastic on while they are under lights or in a sunny window they will overheat, so you have to take it off. (Seedlings also need good air circulation or they may run into trouble with fungus, too.) Your peppers should sprout soon and the light won't hurt them at all as long as they are still kept moist and not allowed to dry out -- maintaining humidity is the main purpose of the cover. Good luck with your seedlings!

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