Starting Pepper Plants Indoors for Florida Fall Gardening

Florida gardening is unique. We don’t winter over, so pests run rampant for most of the year. Starting seeds outdoors for things like peppers and tomatoes have proved unsuccessful (for me, at least). So I’ve really taken to starting plants indoors to make sure I’m planting healthy, hardened off, and well-adjusted plants in my garden. I like to give them a lot of TLC as I give them a head start. Also, I don’t have a lot of space, so I’ve got little room for error.

About three weeks ago, I began the indoor seed-starting project. Using a clean and sterilized a clean egg carton, I put some Miracle Gro seed starting mix in each compartment. I sewed four heirloom non-GMO Jupiter pepper seeds from Southern a Exposure Seed Co., four heirloom non-GMO Doe Hill pepper seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Co., and four California Wonder pepper seeds from Ferry-Morse. I marked the varieties with used wine corks on a bamboo skewer, so I’d know what I had growing. Yay, upcycling!

Humidity is very beneficial for seed germination, so I used a tray with a humidity dome that I got from my local gardening supply store. I placed the egg carton inside, sprayed each compartment with water from a clean spray bottle, put on the humidity dome, and placed the whole shebang in a sunny indoor location. I checked them and watered them lightly each day. This was the first adorable sprout that came up after about a week:

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I removed the dome after mostly all of the seeds germinated and popped up their little green heads. Sunlight would be their ally at this point. This is them two weeks later on my windowsill:

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As you can see, not all of the seeds germinated. All of the California Wonder seeds came up, though. I really wonder why they’re so dependable (maybe I should be afraid to ask?). Here are photos of each seedling variety:

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I’ll be potting up each of the babies this weekend, and when they’re about 6-8 inches above the soil line, I’ll start hardening them off little by little to get them acclimated to the outdoors. I’ll be sure to post on their progress, and, please, wish me luck in the meantime!

Happy gardening, everyone!

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7 thoughts on “Starting Pepper Plants Indoors for Florida Fall Gardening

  1. Yeah, I’ve been trying to germinate some Anaheim chili peppers here in Hawaii – your ideas are most welcome, thanks!

      • Well, I’m a seedling gal – can grow anything from seedlings, or seeds in the ground when it comes to veggies. But germination, well, that’s been a struggle. So I’ve germinated papayas now just fine in peat pots. They’re pretty hardy. I keep them out on the lanai. Did the same w/the Anaheims, but so far they’ve not come up. A woman I’ve bought them from before at the farmers market told me she has trouble here in HI (though admittedly, she’s at a higher/cooler elevation than I – we’re at 300 ft and she’s more at 2500, which makes a big diff here), so has to use a seed mat and keep them really warm. Then I talked to another gardener who shook her head at that advice, like she didn’t think it necessary. (?!) That’s about the extent of my efforts …

      • Not heavy – used potting mix. Anyhow, hopefully I can get seedlings somewhere. I’m stumped. Thanks for the sweet offer of help, though. šŸ˜‰

  2. I am very glad you can have a fall garden in Florida… Here, I am wondering if the grasshoppers would eat the young plants planted that late in the summer. Plus, I need to figure out when the first frosts are here again. GREAT POST!

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