The Q&A Archives: Growing Hot Peppers

Question: What is the best way to start pepper seeds indoors in January where the indoor temp. stays around 70.

Answer: Use a sterile, soilless seed starting mix. Be sure to plant in sterile containers. Moisten the soil, but don't get it soggy. Place seeds less than 1/4" deep. Cover the pots with plastic wrap and place in a warm (80-90F) location (top of the fridge is great). Check daily to make sure soil is still moist. As soon as they sprout, remove the plastic and place in a brighter location (lighting from above is great such as fluorescent lighting suspended about 2" above seedlings, window sills are OK but you must turn seedlings daily to avoid "stretching") which is a bit lower in temperature. When they have their second set of leaves they can be transferred to larger pots and you can start fertilizing with a fertilizer such as Miracle Gro mixed at half strength. Pepper seedlings do not appreciate sitting in water so always be sure your pots or containers have good drainage, don't let water stand in the little saucers holding the pots. After all danger of frost has passed, they can gradually be moved outside. Remember to offer them shade or the first week.

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