what to start indoors from seeds
Timing is everything with peppers. They are a warm-season crop, like tomatoes and eggplants, and will not thrive when temperatures are below 60°F/16°C. However, very little fruit set occurs above 90°F/32°C, especially with bell peppers. Some hot peppers are more heat-tolerant.
The best scenario is to get peppers transplanted as soon as the weather is warm and settled, so that fruit set occurs when temperatures are between 65°F/18°C and 85°F/29.4°C.
Of course, weather is beyond a grower's control, and the ideal conditions may not occur in some locations and some years when high temperatures arrive earlier than usual. In such cases, early yield may be reduced but plants will grow vegetatively until conditions are right to resume fruit set.
Sow seeds 8 weeks prior to transplanting. Pepper seeds should be planted 1/4" deep in a fine-textured seed-starting mix or vermiculite to provide good drainage. We recommend using a Flat the shallow channels in the flat allow you to minimize the amount of growing medium needed while maximizing the number of seeds you can start on a heating mat. The channels also provide a convenient way to grow multiple varieties and keep them separate.
Heat of 80–90°F/27–32°C is essential for pepper germination. Seeds will germinate in 7–8 days at that temperature; at lower temps, germination is slower, erratic, and percentage germination is reduced.