In the past, I’ve had great success starting bell peppers from seed. Sadly, this time around I had terrible germination rates, in a tray with 48 cells only 5 plants developed. Here’s what I did to remedy the situation because we love bell peppers and at the store, peppers are pricey.
I could have simply poked more seeds in the soil but I wanted to experiment and try to figure out why this round of peppers was unsuccessful. I decided to exert more control over the germination process with a simple incubator using a moist paper towel and a mason jar:
I noticed that only one jar had any sprouts after 10 days which tells me that my horrible germination rate was from bad seeds, they’re probably just too old. Once I had sprouts, I did a little transplant surgery following these steps:
1. Gently pull the plants apart
2. Hold the plants by the leaves
3. Make a small hole in the soil and after placing the tiny plant inside, gently push the soil in and around the plant
4. Water with diluted seaweed to help with transplant shock and to stimulate root development
TIP: Put two or more plants in each cell to increase the chances of a viable plant. It’s easier to thin the seedlings than to bring a plant back from the dead.
Here’s another look at the seed tray, this time with all the little babies tucked into the soil. Here we go again, I’m confident that I’ll be soon be able to post another photo of this tray, looking full and happy with pepper plants!
Get the latest gardening tips and recipes sent directly to your inbox.
Send us your gardening question and we will give you our best answer.