Things You'll Need
Seed starting pots
Seed starting soil
Clear plastic wrap
If you do not have a heat lamp, you can also maintain the temperature with a heat mat.
Avoid purchasing bell peppers from the grocery store to save seeds because they are often sterilized. Harvest bell pepper seeds from your garden that have not cross-pollinated with other vegetables.
Bell peppers ripen in shades of yellow, orange, red, green or purple. The seeds inside the peppers appear disc-shaped and white. The small seeds require specific light and temperature settings for them to germinate. The seeds are often germinated indoors to control the conditions. Bell pepper seeds will germinate in eight to 10 weeks depending on the variety and growing environment. After the seeds germinate, you can harvest the peppers in 65 to 70 days.
Select fresh bell peppers and cut the tops off with a knife. Scoop the insides out of the pepper with a spoon. Remove any debris from the seeds and spread them on a pepper towel in a single layer.
Place the paper towel with the seeds on a plate. Place the seeds outdoor in the sun or next to a sunny window. Allow the bell pepper seeds to dry for five to six days.
Store the pepper seeds in a paper envelope. Store the envelope in a dry location until early spring arrives.
Fill seed starting pots with seed starting soil. Warm the soil to 80 degrees F by placing the pots under a heat lamp.
Soak the bell pepper seeds in warm water for three hours. Sow two bell pepper seeds in each container. The seeds require a shallow planting, so plant them twice as deep as their diameter.
Cover the pots with a clear plastic bag or a plastic dome that comes with seed starting pots. Inspect the soil daily to ensure that it does not dry out completely. Water the soil so that it remains moist. Avoid overwatering the seeds because it can lead to fungal infestations.
Maintain the 80 degrees F temperature under the heat lamp. Keep the bell peppers under the heat for 16 hours a day. Always check the soil temperature to ensure that it remains between 80 and 90 degrees F during the daytime. Turn the heat lamp off for eight hours at night so that the soil temperature remains above 60 degrees F. Continue to repeat the heat and light conditions until the seeds germinate.
Thin the bell pepper seeds to one healthy seedling to each pot once one set of true leaves develops. Transplant the bell pepper seedlings outdoors once the threat of frost passes and the soil temperature remains above 50 degrees F. Space the pepper plants 12 to 18 inches apart.
- Texas A&M University: Pepper
- University of Illinois Extension: Peppers
- North Dakota State University: Questions on Pepper; Ron Smith
- Ohio State University: Growing Peppers in the Home Garden; Marianne Riofrio
- Utah State University: Peppers in the Garden; Dan Drost; June 2010
- University of Minnesota Extension: Growing Tomatoes, Peppers and Eggplants in Minnesota; Cindy Tong; January 2009
Angela LaFollette was born in raised in West Virginia, but she currently resides with her husband and children in Minnesota. She is food freelance writer and blogger as well as a full-time stay at home mother. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marshall University. Angela's work has appeared on many online publications like Yahoo!, eHow, and Leaf Group.