Sweet pepper, also known as bell pepper, is an annual garden vegetable plant. Popular colors of peppers are red, green and yellow-orange. The pepper grows on a small bush and once full grown, the pepper is green in color. Left on the bush to mature longer, the pepper will reach its final color. It’s the long maturation rate of red and yellow-orange peppers that give them their sweetness and also make them more expensive at the market. Red bell peppers, for instance, take about 70 days to mature. It is best to start sweet peppers indoors when planting from seed.
Organize the seed pots. Seed pots may be seed planting kits, which come with planting medium, tray and plastic cover, or small plastic containers, like empty yogurt cups. If using yogurt cups, create about three drain holes the diameter of a pencil in the bottom of the container. A knife can be punched in the bottom and twisted to create the opening.
Fill the empty containers with new potting mix. For starter kits, the potting mix will be included and may be a firm pellet. Place the container on a tray to capture overflow water. Moisten the potting mix until a minimal amount of water drains out the bottom.
Press one to two seeds into each seed pot just far enough to cover the seed.
Cover the container. Use the lid that came with a kit. For other plastic containers, a food storage bag can be placed over the container and held in place with a rubber band or twist tie.
Place the container by a south or west window where it will get sunshine. A grow lamp can be used instead, making it easier to grow peppers away from a window, like in a basement. Position the lamp about 6 inches over the container.
Keep the potting mix moist. Watch for reduced moisture buildup under the cover. Lift the cover to spray the potting mix with water or slowly pour water over the potting mix.
Remove the cover at about five weeks to allow the seedlings to acclimate to reduced humidity before planting.
Plant the peppers outdoors after the last predicted frost, which may be indicated on the seed packet. Turn the soil to a depth of at least 8 inches and remove weeds, grass and stones.
Carefully remove the pepper seedling and soil from the pot for planting. Use your fingers to create a hole large enough to hold the content of the pot. Place the seedling in the hole and gently press the soil around the plant. Space the seedlings about 18 inches apart.
Keep the area around the pepper plants moist and free of weeds.