Plant the seeds in sterile potting mix, eight weeks prior to the last expected frost date in your area (refer to the Hardiness Zone Chart). Sow seeds at a depth no greater than, or equal to, two times their diameter.
According to scientific studies, the biologically optimum conditions for germinating pepper seeds are "day / night" soil temperature fluctuations between 86°F and 59ºF with sixteen hours of light and eight hours of darkness. Seed will not germinate at all from about 50ºF and colder. Germination usually occurs in eight to eighteen days but rates can tend to be erratic.
Try soaking the seed in water for two to three hours prior to sowing for faster germination. The most common cause of poor germination, not including cool soil temperatures, is the result of uneven planting depths. Click here for seed starting ideas.
Transplant outside only after night temperatures average above 55°F. Peppers are tender plants that thrive in warm weather. Blossoms will drop if temperatures drop below 60°F or if they get too much nitrogen. Days to harvest quoted are an estimate from transplanting into the garden.
Hot pepper and the capsaicin oil in hot pepper cannot be neutralized by water. Wash hands or rinse mouth with vinegar to alleviate discomfort in an emergency. Bread, bananas, pasta, or potatoes will also alleviate the burning sensation. Never touch your face or eyes after handling hot peppers. (Warm growing temperatures develop the hottest peppers).
"If you eat something that has hot peppers in it, drink lemonade (but it has to be made with real lemon juice). It works! I live in Louisiana and they eat a lot of hot pepper foods here. Relief is immediate."
Sharon from Louisiana
• If you are seeking productivity, harvest the peppers green throughout the growing season to promote more flowering and increased fruit set. • However, peppers are most flavorful when they reach the maturity color specific to their variety. This can be green, yellow, orange, purple, red, etc. • Cut the fruit from the plants with shears or scissors so as not to damage or disturb the plants.