Hot peppers add zing to your home garden with their spicy flavor. They require a long, hot growing season in order to reach full flavor. Most hot peppers require between 70 and 80 frost-free days to reach full maturity. Extend the season by starting the seeds indoors and later transplanting out into the garden. Start the hot pepper seeds eight weeks before the expected last spring frost in your area. They will be ready to transplant outside by the time the weather has warmed sufficiently.
Fill seed starting pots with a soilless seed starting mix. Make your own mix by combining 1 part peat moss with 1 part vermiculite.
Sow three seeds per pot on the soil surface. Cover with a ¼-inch layer of vermiculite then water until the soil is evenly moist throughout.
Cover pots with plastic wrap and place in a warm 70- to 75-degree room to germinate, which takes between 7 and 14 days for most varieties. Place pots on a seedling heat mat to maintain the proper temperature if necessary.
Remove the plastic once seedlings emerge. Place seedlings in a warm room near a sunny window. Alternately, place under grow lights that are raised 3 inches above the top of the seedlings.
Keep the soil moist at all times, watering when needed to maintain soil moisture. Raise the grow lights as the pepper plants grow taller.
Transplant outside once all danger of frost has passed and nighttime temperatures are above 55 degrees. Harden-off the plants by placing them outside for two hours one day, then gradually increase the time each day until they spend a full day outside by the seventh day.