Pepper plants are warm-season vegetables that are commonly planted in home gardens. Sweet pepper varieties include green bell, red bell, yellow bell, Purple Belle and Chocolate Bell. Hot pepper varieties include habanero, cayenne and jalapeño. All pepper plants need steady warm temperatures and consistent watering. Pepper plants grow slowly and are smaller in size than tomato plants. To help extend the growing season length, plant pepper seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last spring frost date.
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Things you need
- Peat pellets
- Clear plastic
- Spray bottle
- Potting soil
Place peat pellets in a bowl of water at room temperature. Soak until the peat pellets stop expanding. Remove the enlarged and waterlogged peat pellets from the bowl. Set the peat pellets in a tray with 2- to 3-inch tall sides.
Make a hole in the centre of each peat pellet 1/4 inch deep. Use the eraser end of a pencil to create the holes. Place one pepper plant seed in each hole and gently brush soil into the hole with your fingers.
Cover the peat pellets with a sheet of clear plastic. This creates a small greenhouse, which preserves moisture around the seeds. Place the tray in an area with indirect light. Keep the temperature between 23.9 and 29.4 degrees Celsius.
Check the peat pellets each day for dryness. Mist the seeds with a spray bottle filled with room temperature water whenever the pellets begin to dry out. Remove the plastic once most of the pepper seeds have sprouted.
Plant the pepper seedlings in small plant pots filled with potting soil once they grow two to three true leaves. Place the entire root ball with the peat pellet into the soil. Keep the plants moist and in a sunny area. When the pepper plants reach 5 inches tall, they are ready for transplanting outside once the weather turns warm.
Tips and warnings
- Plant pepper seedlings in fertile, well-draining soil. Place them 1 inch deeper in the soil than the level they were previously grown. Water the new transplants with a starter solution, which is 1 cup 10-10-10 fertiliser dissolved in 4 gallons of lukewarm water.
- Pepper plants are susceptible to retarded growth and damage in cold weather. Wait to transplant outside until all the spring freezes are finished. Set them outside once the weather has warmed up, after nighttime temperatures remain consistently above 10 degrees Celsius.
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