Pepper seeds – Peppers are a warm season crop and resist most pests. Pepper seeds are either planted directly to the soil or you can allow them to grow seedlings before transplanting. The best season to buy and plant pepper seeds are in the spring, just after the last frost in warmer climate can be in the end of the winter.
If you enjoy long growing seasons, you can directly plant pepper seeds into the soil. To increase the chances of success, you may grow seedlings 8 to 10 weeks before the expected last frost. There are a few different methods to germinate seeds. It may take anywhere from few weeks to months in order to germinate pepper seeds. You may germinate them by following the steps below:
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Sowing Pepper seeds:
- Layout a paper towel and spray to dampen.
- Sprinkle and spread the pepper seeds on half of the paper towel and fold over.
- Lay the paper towel in a zip lock bag and seal leaving about an inch of opening to let oxygen in.
- Place bag in a warm area with moderate light. Remember to keep the paper towel damp.
- Once sprouts appear, they are ready to transfer into a small container until they are mature enough for transplanting. A first true leaf from your seedling is a mark that it is ready for your garden.
- Peppers should be hardened for at least a week to 10 days, and up to two weeks before transplanting. This will minimize the shock to your plant caused by the change in its environment.
- Again, be patient, some varieties can take 4 to 6 weeks to germinate. Others can show up in 7 to 10 days. It depends on temperature, sunlight, soil and variety. Introduce fertilizers or aged compost to your garden soil a week before transplanting your pepper seedlings.
- Seedlings prefer at least 6 hours of sunlight, the more the better. Planting in partial shade will reduce yields and lengthen the time required to produce and ripen fruit. Plant the seedlings 18 to 24 inches apart in a soil at least 65F. Any colder temperature than this will kill your plant. Also make sure that your soil is fertile and well-draining but moist. It would help to add a layer of mulch to keep the soil moist. Pepper requires watering of 1 to 2 inches per week, more if you live in a warm area. Ample moisture provides a pathway for nutrient flows into the pepper plant for lush fruiting and consistent ripening times while drought can slow down the ripening process of your peppers.
- Peppers are light feeders so be cautious on your fertilizers. Too much of it tends to make the pepper plants develop lush foliage at the expense of fruit production. Like tomatoes, peppers are easily laden when the fruits are large and mature. For support, tie the plants to stakes using old nylons which expand as the stems enlarge. Most sweet peppers mature and bear fruit in 60-90 days while hot peppers take 150 days to yield.