Bell peppers are a great addition to many recipes--adding flavor to salads, soups, stir-frys and any number of dishes. There are so many varieties to choose from, and they come in so many colors, including green, red, yellow, orange and purple. Bell peppers grow best in warm temperatures and are not always tolerant to cold, which can can damage the plants. For best results growing bell peppers in your home garden, start your seeds indoors and then transplant them outside in the late spring, when the temperatures start to warm up.
Place two bell pepper seeds in seed-starting cells or cups. Seed-starting kits can be purchased at garden centers and nurseries, or you can use yogurt cups or other small containers filled with a rich soil. The seeds should be placed very shallowly in the cells or cups.
Water the seeds gently, making sure the seeds are not disrupted or moved by a heavy stream of water. A spray bottle is a good choice for watering newly planted seeds. Check the seeds every day or every other day to make sure they are moist and water with the spray bottle if necessary.
Cover the cells or cups with plastic and place them in a warm location.
Check every day to see if your seeds have sprouted. Most bell pepper seeds will sprout about seven to 10 days after planting. Once they have sprouted they need a good source of light. Place them in a warm, sunny location, such as in front of a window, or place them under fluorescent light.
Remove one of the two seedlings in each cell by plucking it out once they have formed their first set of leaves. Leave only one seedling per cell or cup.
Move the seedlings outdoors for a few hours each day once they have been growing for about five weeks. Start by leaving them out for a hour or two and then gradually increase the amount of time they spend outdoors. Make sure to bring them in at night because cold temperatures can damage the plants.
Prepare to transplant the seedlings outdoors by selecting a site to plant them. Look for a spot that gets full sun and has well-draining soil.
Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the seedling. If they have been grown in cells or peat cups, the entire cell or cup can be planted in the earth.
Place the seedlings in the hole and fill it back in with the surrounding soil.
Tamp down on the soil firmly so any air bubbles are removed. Air bubbles in the soil can damage the plant and it may not grow and thrive.
Water the plants immediately after planting so they can begin to take root in their new location. During the growing season, water the plants during extended dry spells.
Things You Will Need
- Seed-starting cells or cups
- Plastic cover or lid
- Spray bottle (optional)
- Trowel or small shovel
- Bell pepper plants should be spaced 18 inches to 24 inches apart.
- Green bell peppers usually grow to be 3 inches to 4 inches long and can be harvested when they reach their desired size. Other colors of bell peppers can be left on the vine to fully ripen and mature. Their flavor develops as they ripen and develop their color.
- Do not plant bell peppers outdoors until overnight temperatures are at least 50 degrees to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If they are planted when colder than that their leaves can fall off and they may not produce peppers.