Fill your containers to the top with moistened seed-starting mix. Your containers can be anything from toilet paper rolls to empty egg cartons. Make sure you use one container per pepper variety.
Make a small indentation in the tops of the mix with your finger to create a spot for the pepper seeds. The seeds should be no more than 1/4 inch from the top, so don't create too big of a hole.
Drop a few seeds in each container and then cover the tops of the seeds with the mix. Lightly spray the tops of each container with water.
Label each container or use a plant tag to identify the variety of each pepper seed that was sown. It helps to write the planting date too.
Place your containers on top of a water-proof heat mat, and then loosely cover the tops of each container with plastic cling wrap. Poke a few holes in the wrap to help with the air circulation.
Hang a fluorescent light or a grow lamp no more than 4 inches away from the top of the containers. You don't need to turn this light on until the peppers push through the soil (germinate).
Add water to the containers every couple of days to keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged. The frequency that you water depends on how large your growing containers are.
Watch for pepper germination. When a chile pops, it looks like a green, upside-down "U" shape. Germination can happen in as little as three days or three weeks or more, depending on the chile variety.
Remove your seedlings from the heat as soon as they all germinate and continue to water them and give them light. When the seedlings have at least two pairs of true leaves, put them in a bigger pot.
Harden seedlings off for 15 minutes outside the first day. After that, bring them outdoors in increased 15 minute increments -- for example, 30 minutes the second day and 45 minutes the third day.
Put your plants outside in the ground or in a larger outdoor container. Enjoy your hot peppers!
- Containers with holes in bottom
- Seed-starting mix
- Pepper seeds
- Plant tags (optional)
- Water-proof heat matt
- Plastic cling wrap
- Fluorescent light or grow lamp