Peppers suffer when exposed to cool temperatures and prefer daytime temperatures between 75 and 80 degree Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures above 50 degrees. For many areas of the U.S., this means young seedlings must be started inside six to eight weeks before the last expected frost in your area to allow peppers to reach maturity in the home garden. Fortunately, peppers germinate easily and grow relatively quickly when started inside.
Fill seed starter trays or peat cells with moist seed starter. You can make your own seed starter with a mixture of equal parts peat moss, sterilized potting soil and perlite. This creates a lightweight porous growing media that promotes drainage and provides aeration for growing roots.
Plant pepper seeds to a depth of 1/4 inch and cover with growing media. Firm down with your hands to secure the seeds.
Mist the surface of the soil with water to moisten the seeds. Cover with plastic wrap to hold in moisture.
Place the seed trays in a warm location. The top of a water heater or other appliance that provides gentle bottom heat is ideal. Peppers germinate quickly in soil temperatures of 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Germination takes longer in cooler soils.
Remove plastic wrap and move to a sunny location once seedlings emerge in seven to 14 days. Keep the soil evenly moist. Use caution to prevent over watering, as peppers suffer from excess water.
Transplant to the garden after all danger of frost has passed in your area.