You can get a head start by starting your seeds indoors if you live in the northern states where the last frost doesn’t happen until end of April / early May.
All you need to get them started is a heated seedling mat. You can get these 10″ x 20″ mats relatively inexpensive for under $15 on Amazon. Click here.
The nice thing about the heated mats is you can keep them plugged in the entire time and provide a constant warm environment for your seedlings to thrive. Here at Bucketfood, we use the 72 cell Burpee Seed Starting, self watering system. This comes with a clear top cover that creates a little mini-greenhouse environment.
We start out by placing two, to three seeds in each cell as you can see in the image below.
Depending on the type of seed (Teaspoon Tomato in the above photo, very tiny seeds), you can expect to see the seedlings sprout anywhere between 3 and 5 days for tomatoes and sweet peppers, but hot peppers can take quite a bit longer.
When the seedlings start and get to about 2 inches tall, you want to cut them down to just one per cell. Use a small pair of scissors, or you can just pull them straight up and out if they aren’t too close to each other.
Put your clear lid back on and let them keep growing until they touch the top, then it’s time to move transplant them to a bigger pot. With the heated mat and the clear lid, the temperature is usually a nice temperature of 80 degrees.
You can expect to transplant your plants up to 3 or 4 times as it grows. Whatever you choose for your plants final destination, make sure you give it a pot or bucket big enough to develop a strong and healthy root system. Your plant will grow bigger and produce more if it has space to grow.