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Starting and Planting Chili Peppers

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Plant chili pepper seeds about ¼” deep in growing medium. Medium should drain well but have moderate moisture retention capabilities. Medium should also have moderate organic material. Suitable mix would be equal parts of compost, perlite, and loam.

Seeds germinate best at 85-90F. Keep medium moist during germination. A humidity dome or other closure is useful.


Once seedlings appear, temperatures of 75F daytime and 65F night time are ideal. Remove the humidity dome at this point. Let the soil surface dry out before watering. Seedlings are susceptible to damping-off, which is a fungus that kills the seedlings and forms in the moist soil around the young sprouts.


When seedlings are about 6” tall, set in the ground or containers when there is no danger of frost and when the soil temperature remains above 60F.

Transplant 12-18” apart in rows 3’ apart or in large containters. Set the plants about 1” deeper than previously grown stripping off any lower leaves, as necessary. Fertilize with liquid fertilizer and supplement with bone meal scratched into the surface to provide extra calcium.



(Taken, in part, from the 2012-2013 New England Vegetable Management Guide)

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