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Winter Sowing Peppers

Winter Sowing Peppers

Winter Sowing Peppers

Note: Peppers are very sensitive to frost. 

You can use Winter Sowing with Pepper Seeds, but it is important to wait until warmer weather has arrived closer to the last chance of frost. Peppers generally will not thrive in their Winter Sowing jugs when the temperatures drop below 40˚ F, especially overnight! 

If you start frost-sensitive peppers using this Winter Sowing method, start them closer to spring – and make sure to keep the plants covered in their jugs, however keep the lids removed for air circulation. Do not transplant pepper seedlings into the garden until all chance of frost has passed and after hardening them off first.

Pepper seeds need a lot of warmth to sprout, so if Winter Sowing it would be best to start them in April/May is probably best in most colder climates. You can also bring your pepper jugs indoors and just put them out during the day on extra cold nights. You can also cover them with row covers or old sheets or blankets to trap in heat overnight or on cold days. Generally, we will cover the bottles anytime there is no sun and the temperature is below about 40˚F, especially overnight. The jugs definitely help keep them warmer and protected, especially during the warmth of the day and on cool (but not freezing) nights, but pepper seedlings are frost sensitive so it's best not to leave the jugs unprotected if freezing overnight temperatures are expected.

If a long deep freeze is expected with cloudy weather (no sun), definitely move winter sowed pepper seedlings to somewhere warm and protected (indoors) until the deep freeze has past for the best success. 

Winter Sowing Peppers: Keep Jugs Moist but Don't Overwater!

Ongoing Watering as Needed:

Make sure to keep the soil moist by using a spray bottle or some people use milk jugs or other containers and poke holes in the lids to create easy watering jugs to add water to the Winter Sowing Jugs when starting to dry out. If you have a lot of sunny days and not a lot of humidity, it's good to check the jugs every couple days (it's hard not to anyway we think!) to ensure that the soil is still most. You'll see condensation on the inside of the jugs which is a good sign they are still damp, but a lot of steam will escape, drying out the jugs more quickly, so keep an eye on them on sunny days. That said, don't overwater...

Peppers hate wet feet!

With peppers, soggy soil is bad news, so make sure to only water after they are starting to dry out.  Use well-draining potting soil have plenty of drain holes so that the containers drain quickly so the peppers don't sit in wet soil. 

Winter Sowing Peppers: Transplanted Peppers in Large Pot
Transplanted peppers above getting settled into a large pot.

Reuse Jugs & Free Light & Heat from the Sun
Winter Sowing pepper seeds is a great way to reuse milk jugs, vinegar jugs and other containers to germinate and grow pepper seedlings for transplanting into the garden. 
Using the solar heat from the sun, Winter Sowing containers steam and warm the seeds in a moist environment and they germinate well. Just remember to keep them warm!

Read more about Winter Sowing »

We're going to take some pictures of our Winter Sowed pepper project here soon, so stay tuned. If you are Winter Sowing peppers, send us pictures, we love seeing how everyone starts their seeds!