If you pre-grow peppers, the plants will be more robust and ready for harvesting early. Here you can find out what you need to consider when pre-growing peppers.
Pre-growing peppers means not planting the seeds directly outside in the bed. Instead, germinate them indoors or in a greenhouse. This increases the chances of a bountiful harvest, as the young seedlings are protected from pests, frost and weather for longer.
Another advantage is that you can choose from a wide range of varieties when you grow your own. So you can also grow varieties that you can not get in the regular vegetable trade. In addition, it is cheaper to grow peppers yourself than to buy the grown plants.
Pre-growing peppers begins about ten weeks before planting them outdoors. After a successful grow, you can then harvest peppers from July to October.
Pre-growing peppers: Material and timing
The optimal time to pre-grow peppers begins from the end of March. Earlier you should not start pre-breeding, because in search of light the plants stretch long, which later makes them less robust in the open field.
For sowing and pre-growing you need this material:
- A sowing pot to let the peppers germinate. Besides flower pots, egg cartons or old yogurt pots are particularly suitable for this purpose. Poke a hole in the bottom of the container so that the liquid can drain off.
- Peat-free growing soil in which the peppers can germinate and grow. Growing soil is lower in nutrients than regular potting soil. This helps seedlings grow vigorously and makes them more robust for the outdoors.
- A glass bell jar or old plastic bag. With this you create a greenhouse-like climate in which the peppers can grow especially well.
- Flower pots or balcony boxes in which you can repot the peppers after they have been grown.
Sowing peppers: This is how you proceed
To grow peppers, you also need a suitable location. Peppers love bright and warm places. For example, place them in a heated greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill in the apartment.
Pre-growing peppers begins with sowing the seeds. Follow these steps to do so:
- Fill your growing container with the growing soil.
- Place the bell pepper seeds in the soil about three inches apart. If you are using egg cartons, place one seed in each well.
- Cover them with soil about half a finger’s width apart.
- Moisten the soil with warm water. It is best to use a spray bottle and avoid heavy moisture.
- Cover your propagator with a plastic bag or a glass cover. To avoid mold, poke small holes in the plastic bag and lift the glass bell several times a day to ventilate.
- The optimal soil temperature for germination is 25 degrees Celsius. In another article you will learn how to sow peppers properly.
After sowing: Pre-growing and caring for peppers
To successfully grow peppers, you need to care for them properly after sowing. Make sure that the soil remains moist at all times. However, avoid waterlogging. The soil should also be consistently warm, as peppers do not like cold.
The time it takes for peppers to germinate depends on seed quality, moisture, light conditions and temperature. After about two to three weeks, the first cotyledons should be visible. Then you can remove the cover.
Now place the seedlings in a slightly cooler place. 18 degrees Celsius is the ideal temperature now. If the peppers are too warm, they will grow unnaturally fast. This makes them more susceptible to pests and weather damage later on.
After about four to six weeks, the seedlings should have developed at least two more leaves. Then it’s time to prick out the peppers. Pricking out means repotting the seedlings in their own or larger containers with more spacing between them. This stimulates root growth and makes the plant hardy.
How to prick peppers:
- Fill flower pots or window boxes with peat-free potting soil.
- Make a small depression in the soil.
- Lift the young bell pepper plants together with the root ball out of the seed pot. Use a small spoon to do this.
- Place the young peppers in the depression in the new pot. Make sure there is a space of about five centimeters between each seedling.
- Cover the roots with soil and press gently.
- Keep the soil moist and place the pots in a bright location.
Tip: Place the plants a little deeper in the soil than they were sitting in the propagator. This will help them grow stronger roots.
Planting peppers outdoors
About ten weeks after sowing, the pre-pulled peppers are ready for the open field. So that the peppers can slowly get used to the new climate, you should first harden them off. To do this, place the peppers outside during the day every day for about two weeks before planting out and bring them back indoors overnight. However, make sure that they remain protected from strong winds and cold.
I have 30 years of experience and i started this website to see if i could try and share my knowledge to help you.
With a degree a Horticulture BSc (Hons)
I have worked as a horticulture specialist lead gardener, garden landscaper, and of course i am a hobby gardener at home in my own garden.
Please if you have any questions leave them on the article and i will get back to you personally.