When to Plant Pepper Seeds
Peppers, hot or sweet, can be quite easy to grow, but a little patience is required. Most varieties will take at least 85 days from sprouting to harvest. For best results, seeds should be started indoors approximately 8-10 weeks before last expected frost date. Temperatures must be at least 70 degrees for good germination rates.
Where to Plant Pepper Seeds
Peppers are a hardy, warm season crop that enjoys full sun and loamy, well draining soil with a neutral pH. While they are pest tolerant, peppers can be susceptible to mildews so they will prefer a warm and dry climate. Keep in mind however, that while pepper plants grow well in warm summer temperatures, many varieties will wait until nights begin to reach cooler temperatures to produce the bulk of their harvest.
How to Plant Pepper Seeds
When starting seeds, it is recommended to start three to a pot and thin the weakest seedling, leaving the remaining two to grow as one plant. Approximately one week before transplanting outdoors, harden off seedlings and prepare your plot with fertilizer or organic material, making sure your soil temperatures are at least 65 degrees consistently, or else seedlings will not survive the transplant. Seedling pairs should be placed about 18 to 24 inches apart. They need a well drained bed, but consistent moisture is also important -- plastic sheeting or mulch can be good ideas for retaining moisture, but a drip irrigation system can be a good approach as well. Peppers will appreciate a stake or cage for stability, especially when they begin to fruit. Put a few match heads and a teaspoon of fertilizer in the hole before planting, peppers like the sulfur.
How to Harvest Peppers
Harvest your peppers when they are firm and full. You can pick them while still green, but the more you let them ripen the sweeter they will be.