Q: Hello Dave,
Early in November, I bought some capsicum seeds. Initially, I only wanted to test germination, but after they germinated, I planted a few of them. Kept under a four tube fluorescent fixture, they grow very well. The temperature is above 80 degrees F. I’m planning to start all over again in January, but I also would like to keep my plants that I started in November. Is that possible and is there any risk that they’ll die as soon as they get outside (after the latest frost)?
A: Hello Jan:
What you do is pinch back the growing tip of the plant. This will make the plant bushy so it will not topple over. When you are ready to plant them, you will need to harden-off the plants. This means exposing them to the outdoor elements of sun, wind, and temperature gradually, over the period of about 10 days. Never place them immediately in full sun after they’ve grown in the low light of a fluorescent fixture or they will get ultraviolet light damage and burn up. Place them outdoors in the shade, then in partial shade for a few days, and eventually in full sun before you transplant them. There is no sense in planting them soon after the last frost, as the ground will still be too cold. Wait two or three weeks after the last frost.