A Complete Guide to Starting Peppers Indoors: See Description for a Digital Table of Contents

welcome to the rustic garden today I

want to do a comprehensive video on seed

starting peppers indoors today is March

4th and I have had these peppers

starting somewhere from the middle of

January all the way through February so

I can show you different stages and

really cover the whole process I want to

start right at the beginning and again

this video is really for people that are

just starting growing transplants

indoors or if you want to learn more

about peppers but if you don't need all

the stages just fast through fast words

through the video so first thing is is

seed starting mix you do not want to use

soil from outdoors you will bring in

fungus and insects so you want to get a

bag product that usually stays indoors

and that would be like gypsy starting

mix that's what I like to use there in

the mylar bags that are sealed now that

being said because it's a natural

product you're probably going to get

fungus gnats they have and pretty

impressive ability to lay eggs it's kind

of bless through everything you can pour

boiling water into here to try to kill

off any eggs I put neem oil in here now

to disrupt the growing process of any

potential fungus or insect eggs or

anything that might be in here you can

microwave it I don't recommend freezing

it because the eggs can last through a

freeze also pre moisten the soil put

some water in there get some fluid into

it because if you just use dry mix it's

not gonna really draw water in when you

go to water and I'll talk more about

that when we get to the watering so it's

a pre-moistened mix drop it into the

seed tray fill it once some pack it down

fill it again and you have a great

starting bed for your pepper seeds I do

not put fertilizer in here at the

beginning the actual seed will supply

enough nutrients to the plant to get

your emanated and get going and we'll

talk about fertilizing afterwards I used

to say go ahead and put some organic

fertilizer in there go ahead and put in

some props of chemical fertilizers I

found the organic fertilizer can cause

fungus and mold growth it doesn't hurt

your plants but it's unsightly and the

plants just really don't need it

so here are two trays that

set up and you want to start to seeds

first base and if you're not doing a lot

of seeds you could go ahead like for

instance I'm going to do Cayenne red

pepper I'm going to do an orange cayenne

serrano and this is an Anaheim pepper if

you're only doing a couple you can go

ahead and just put them into a cup or a

container like this this way you can

skip the transplant

you can skip planning into something

small like this and having to transplant

it up but if you're doing a lot of a lot

about peppers you can do it this way so

just start by dropping two seeds in and

just press it in you can do a

quarter-inch 1/2 an inch I did plenty of

experiments and found that the pepper

seeds will germinate at any depth

alright and that's all you do cover them

up you would label them put the date on

there and you're good to go

now peppers are going to take anywhere

probably from seven days to 21 days to

germinate let me show you what I mean so

when it's flat I started these on

February 11 so today is March 4th so

what's I've been 17 days plus 6 so 23

days so this is about 3 weeks in and

what you'll notice are like this variety

much larger germinate more quickly this

was a bell pepper wonder bell both of

these groups or bell peppers so they

germinate pretty quickly and then you

come on over to this group and you can

see that some of them are just Germany

now and this is a poblano so different

varieties of peppers will take a longer

time to germinate so don't get

discouraged but it's going to take

somewhere between 7 and 21

days this is how I start all online my

grow closet stays at about 7075 degrees

peppers like heat to germinate so you

could put a heat mat under here that's

going to raise the temperature up to

about 83 is a little bit more and these

will germinate quicker the warmer they

are once you use a heat map they

germinate they break the surface in

about two or three days you can shut off

the heat mat with the assumption that

your you know grow closet or the room

that their interview to stay around 70

degrees fries but a heat map will speed

up the germination process but you don't

need to leave the heat mat on through

the whole process I mean once they start

growing shut it off and they will grow

just like this with no problem so I keep

mine in a tray just like this and I

bottom water and what bottom watering is

is instead of pouring water right on top

of the surface which is going to

possibly splash out starting mix move

the seeds and if you have disease or

funguses you're going to spread the

disease and fungus with the splashing

water you don't want to do that and it's

more time consuming I water just by

keeping something a jug like this fill

up the trade this way to about a quarter

step with the tray and just let the

trays soak up the water from the bottom

these are just been watered they're nice

and dark whatever they don't absorb in

15 or 20 minutes just pour out but

you'll find that you get you know pretty

good practice at eyeballing how much

they're going to need the other question

I get is how often do I water these and

the answer is one time a week to five

times that we could depends on their

size depends on how warm your grow

lights are it just depends on what's

going on but you watch the top of the

soil when this soil becomes light ahead

videos on it if you want to look it up

when the top of soil dries out get to

the light brown the color that the

starting mix looks like when it doesn't

have any water that's when you bottom

water the top will drive first Moisture

will stay below it moisture will stay

down here in the root system so as soon

as you see the top dry

it's a good time to water it's also a

good idea to let the tops try because

that helps take care of some disease and

fungus issues if you always keep the

soil moist the top is always moist the

fungus and molds are going to keep

growing so if you let them dry out it

really disrupts their growth cycle and

here's an example from another video

this is salad bowl lettuce which is not

healthy this is what leg enos is called

but you can see the difference in the

tops same starting mix this is fully

saturated this is dried out and the tops

are light brown so that's what you look

for is the light brown colors now for

lighting this is an example of lettuce

not getting enough light to get tall

they get thin they get leggy same thing

will happen with your peppers so you can

either if you have grow lights make sure

the grow lights stay above them and I

recommend that the lights stay on top on

for 18 hours when they just break the

surface and keep them on for 18 hours

for I don't know three four five six

seven days after germination that's when

they need the most light that extra

light will keep them from getting leggy

and spindly and it will be nice and

stocky once a week goes by cut the

lights down to anywhere from 12 to 16

hours whatever you'd like to do and that

will get these off to a great start now

there's no feed in here they don't need

to be fed yet but they're getting close

and we'll talk about feeding in a second

let me talk about acclamation because

there's two ways to do it and again I

know this was a lot of information but I

want to put it all in one video for

those of you that just want to watch it

start to finish

acclamation is a process of taking your

indoor plants and putting them outdoors

in a way that the Sun the wind the cold

doesn't burn doesn't harm doesn't stress

out the plants these plants have no

resistance to the Sun the UV rays

because I've been growing comfortably

indoors two ways to do it when your seed

your germinating if you can take this

outside and it's you know 40 degrees or

warmer just put this out in the Sun for

about an hour let the Sun hit these

newly germinated plants

and they will start getting a tolerance

to the Sun you will start acclimating

them and just do that you know for an

hour every day if you can or every other

day and you're going to be acclimating

them why they're mostly growing indoors

but you're going to be taking them in

and out so when it gets to this size

they have some tolerance build-up

they're you know getting the wind

blowing across them they're feeling the

cold weather so they're going to be a

tougher plant now if you can't do that

and your plants get to this size and

they're ready to go out you have to

slowly acclimate them to the outdoors

over a week and I can't give you an

exact recipe because if it's a cloudy

day they can stay out longer if it's a

sunny day they can only stay up 15

minutes so what you want to do is start

with 15 minutes 20 minutes 30 minutes

for the first day but then get some Sun

some wind some cold bring it back inside

next day same amount of time Thursday

you can start lengthening the amount of

time for six days to be moving into an

hour so seventh day you can give them a

lot of fun if you're able to put these

out when it's a fully cloudy day give

them four or five hours with being

outside they can get used to the cold

the wind the clouds will protect them

from the Sun and you can slowly harden

them off as this one of the terms use

harden them off to the elements but you

have to make sure you acclimate these or

when you move them outside you're going

to be really disappointed because all

your great growth is going to be harmed

by the Sun the wind in a cold so we have

the plants growing at this stage now

this is about what do we say 23 days

about 3 weeks worth of growth they

aren't quite ready for a feeding but

they're getting close and when they all

have their second leaves that's what

they're secondly that's they're actually

first set of true leaves when all of

them have the first set it truly is I'm

going to give them a liquid fertilizer I

prefer and use the process chemical

fertilizers because they cover

everything they don't smell they don't

attract insects but you can use if you

want oh that's actually kelp meal you

could use fish emulsion

that's a 5-1-1 fertilizer you want too

low fertilizer I recommend using

something that stays under a 5 5 5 n P

and K I like using the organic

fertilizers outdoors I just don't like

the smell the plants do not care I don't

care what people tell you

organic gardening is great but you don't

have to be an organic gardener to be a

great gardener or to have healthy food

the process chemical fertilizers do not

hurt you you do not care plants at this

stage there is no soil life growing in

here so these chemicals aren't going to

harm your microbiology and soil you just

don't have it as a plain old basic

starting mix and if I didn't mention I

just want to make sure that when you set

up your seed starting mix is you you

don't use soil that's been sitting

outside because it will bring it insects

and disease alright so how often do you

feed them well this is a 10-10-10

fertilizer so use this at half-strength

quarter strength a two point five a two

point five a two point five NPK or

something around the five five five is

perfectly fine I would just use it once

a week you can use a fertilizer

keeping it low once a week that will be

plenty of nutrition for these plants and

this is what they've been getting

they've been getting that fertilizer I

just showed you and they're doing really

really well so that's about three weeks

worth of growth then we come over to

these plants pepper plants that were

started on 128 so these have four weeks

so these are at about five weeks so and

it's five weeks it looks great this is

when they're getting close to really be

transplanted up into these pots and the

way you tell is really by side these

guys are ready to go you can simply top

the plant look at the bottom and when

you see the roots starting to curl at

the bottom they're close this guy could

go another week or so in this container

but he's ready to be potted up and what

I do is I either use some recycle

containers my neighbors always give them

to me or a press container this way

styrofoam cups are great if you don't


styrofoam pick a cup or a container of

your choice but you want about an 8

ounce cup let me just see what this was

this is an escandalo and this is how I

like to label I like these cups because

you can write write on them

so just label Escamilla it was started

what do we get for the deep on here on

128 so I put an S for starting day 128

and then a T for transplant day of March

force now we use starting mix to get

these going when you're moving them up

into the cup you can then go to the

bagged soil the stuff that's outside if

you bring it inside you're still going

to get insects but at the point where

these are going to be outside mostly

you're perfectly fine to use bagged soil

that's been you know sitting outdoors

like any kind of potting mix or grow mix

if you want to use but what I have here

is the starting mix now I do mix neem

oil into my starting mix to help deal

with fungus and diseases and all you do

fill it up put a nice big finger circle

in there I'm going to remove this plant

and this one germinated late but I just

want a single plant in here drop it in

maybe just a quarter inch or so over the

stem press it in add in a little more

soil and it's good to make sure you put

holes in the bottom now this will also

go into the same tray that I showed you

just like this and then I just put in

all of my cups or my containers through

here and I still bottom water it's the

easiest way to do it because you just

fill the tray real quick the plants will

absorb what they need so we started with

planting the seeds you saw what three

weeks growth look like this is about

five weeks growth and then in plants

over here are only 13

days let's see what we got these were

started on 1:15 these are start on 1:28

so this is about seven weeks worth of

growth so all the plants here have been

growing for seven weeks they're nice and

strong they've been actually getting

acclimated to go outdoors but I would

still won't be able to put these up for

about five weeks and I wanted some

peppers just to get really strong and

tall at this point I'm also doing

something where I'm growing to be

growing two peppers right next to each

other because I read but that's

something that you can do and they do

really really well

for a long time I just won't let the

information that they have to be you

know one plant per whole space it up to

feed apartment that probably isn't true

now when they get to this size you can

do something that's called topping them

off and you would do this when you still

have three four weeks five weeks of

indoor growth and what you do will go

with this one and this one just to give

you a reference this was started around

118 it was transplanted in here on

February 26 and today is March 4th once

you transplant them into here you want

them to grow for at least a week or ten

days before you do this but you're going

to top them off that means you're going

to just go to put it down here to do it

you're going to take off the growing tip

pinch it off your plant will look like

this I remove the growing tip this with

just kept growing up just like that what

this is going to do it's going to force

side shoot growth from here the plant is

going to be stockier it's going to have

more side growth and you're going to get

more blooms and more peppers that way

what I found was that most peppers enjoy

this it makes them stronger don't do it

with banana peppers don't do it with

bell peppers I found they don't really

benefit from having the tops taken out

but most the other peppers really seem

to do well alright so now it's gone from

seed to you know through week old

seedlings five week old plants that are

ready to come out of

go into the cups now these are going to

stay in here like I said four to five

weeks they will be fed same way that I

explained once a week with a organic

fertilizer or a chemical process

fertilizer either one is fine at about a

5 5 5 and piqué or lower and these

aren't going to go into the ground until

the ground temperatures are about 50

degrees a bit the ground might be a

little bit colder but you want 50 degree

nice 73 days acclimate these to the

outdoors and you will have really

healthy great-looking pepper transplants

that will get you produce will get you

peppers sooner to your table because

you've been growing them indoors for 8

to 12 weeks that's the benefit you get

nice sized plants out there as soon as

the ground is ready rather than putting

in a pepper seed and then having the

weight 8 to 12 weeks for it to get to

the side you are already there hope you

enjoyed the video

quite comprehensive I notice I said it

was wrong but I hope it gives you an

understanding start to finish on what

you need to do for growing peppers

indoors and getting your transplants

going please check out my blog at WWDC

garden blog

also check out my youtube videos I also

have a seed in garden shop where you can

buy the seeds that I'm growing in my

videos and grow as I grow thanks