Skip to content


Gypsy sweet peppers first to emerge

Another little new-season milestone: the first of the original veggie gang has appeared. These are Gypsy (hybrid) sweet peppers, seeded six days ago, along with other varieties of pepper and eggplant. They started to poke up in the last day or so, and by this morning, the first leaves had unfolded. Along with tomatoes (soon to be seeded), I think of these three—toms, eggplant, peppers—as my original crops. These are the veggies I started first (and way early) in Year 1: winter was storming along outside, while these brilliant little splashes of green were popping up in the warm, bright bubble of the first seedling room (a side room in the farmhouse). I was fascinated and kind of amazed. I used to come downstairs in the middle of the night to check ’em out, make sure they were still alive and growing… Actually, it’s not so different even now! :)



  1. Nice picture. I love the eagerness of seedlings. All living things yearn to thrive.
    I seeded peppers about 8 days ago, and only the hot ones (Serrano, Jalapeno, and Thai Hot) are up: no sign of bell peppers or bull’s horns. Should I be concerned yet?

  2. klaus

    Hello again,

    Phew, glad to see I didn’t start my peppers too early (cayenne), if your schedule is any guide :)

    Which brings me to yet another question. At the same time as the peppers, I also started a bunch of squash (pumpkin, starburst, acorn, butternut) and they are all growing gangbusters (sprouted after 5 days, already 3-4″ tall). Did I start these bad boys too early? They’re sitting in a little 1″ cell, and it feels like my seed tray is going to explode any minute. How soon do i need to transplant these guys and to what size pot? Last frost tends to come mid to end of May, still a long 9 weeks away…

    Thanks for any advice you can offer,

  3. pepper… great promise of pleasure…

  4. exuberant lady: I wouldn’t worry about peppers not showing after eight days. If the temperature’s above 65°F and the seed’s fairly new, I’d be a little concerned after 10-12 days if at least a few hadn’t emerged, but things usually seem to work out under any reasonable conditions, give or take a few days! Germination is really fast around 70°F for most of the veggies I’ve grown.

    klaus: Your last frost is about the same as mine (third week of May)…although I don’t know how much that means nowadays with our crazy new weather. Your peppers should be fine. Unfortunately, you’re gonna have a handful with the squash, it’s way early to have started them. Some summer squash have fruit 8-9 weeks from direct seeding… Also, 1″ cells is tiny, that’s a tricky size for any veggie, ’cause you have to pot up pretty quick. With squash, some of those seeds practically don’t fit in there… :) AND, I’m not sure how well squash take to being potted up, to having their roots disturbed. It’s usually advised against. I plant squash, cukes, melons in 3″ peat pots, as little as 2-3 weeks before transplanting, and plant the whole pot…almost as if you’re trying to get ’em in the ground before they even know they’re in a pot! You could move yours up to 4″ pots or bigger, but they’ll also need lots of light…unless the weather’s warm and you can set them out a little early, you may be better off starting over…although experimenting is fun. Plants can always surprise you…(Hey, I feel like one of those advice columnists… ;)

  5. Hi,
    We started some eggplant 8 days ago, along with some tomatoes, peppers and onions. Everything but the eggplant has at least some small seedlings showing, but the eggplant is not appearing at all. We have been keeping them at about 27 to 30C cause we heard eggplants need the warmth. Do you think we are doing something wrong?  Thanks!

  6. Paulina: At 8 days, I wouldn’t worry yet, although at those temperatures, which are HIGH, I’d expect at least one or two to’ve popped up. In gardening books, the days to germination for eggplant is usually 6-14 days. If the seed isn’t buried too deep, the soil mix is firmly tamped down, and moisture is maintained, actual germination time depends on variety and age/condition of seed. Like, if you’re using older seed that hasn’t been stored particularly well, it could take a few extra days. Or, fresh seed of two varieties could come up a few days apart. Also, for reasons unknown to me, some years, seed of a particular variety of eggplant come up really unevenly, like, over a period of 10 days or more, whereas other years, they come up pretty well all at the same time, within 3-4 days of each other (and same for peppers). IMPORTANT: 27-30C seems way high. At those temperatures, some seed can go dormant (I know first hand that lettuce does), and some veggies slow down or stop growth. For most North American garden veggies, the ones I’ve grown, around 20C (70F) soil temp is ideal for germination, seed will pop quickly, and that should probably be considered the safe maximum (some seed, like peas, need cooler temperatures). Also, it’s a good idea to start a few more seeds than the number of plants you want: for20 eggplant, start maybe 30 seeds. The germination rate for fresh veggie seed averages around 90%, but why take a chance? IMO, it’s really not a waste to start a few extra seeds, and then thin ’em out, pick the nicest and be strong and toss the rest… (If you REALLY want to conserve seed, grow open pollinated varieties and save your seed, you’ll have LOTS!!)

    At this point in the season, it’s getting a little late for eggplant, so within a day or two, if there’s still no action, I’d toss in some extra seed for back-up.

    Hope that helps!

  7. Roberto

    Hi is 20-20-20 fertilizer good for seedlings

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.