CULTURE: Well-drained, fertile soil with abundant phosphorus and calcium is best. GROWING SEEDLINGS: Sow seed in shallow flats, 4 seeds/in., 1/4" deep, in late March or about 8 weeks prior to transplanting outdoors. If possible, maintain soil temperatures 80-90°F (27-32°C). Pepper seed germinates very slowly in cooler soil. When the first true leaves just show, transplant 2-3" apart in flats or 2" cell-type containers. (The use of 2" or larger cells will produce larger plants with better-developed root systems.) Grow plants at approx. 70°F (21°C) day and 60°F (16°C) nights. COLD TREATMENT: Exposing the seedlings to controlled cold treatments can increase the number of flowers and fruits. When the third true leaf appears, grow the plants at a minimum night temp. of 53-55°F (12-13°C) for 4 weeks. The plants should receive full sunlight. After 4 weeks adjust temp. to 70°F (21°C) day and night. If this technique is used, peppers should be seeded 1-2 weeks earlier than usual. TRANSPLANTING: Transplant out after frost when the soil is warm and weather is settled. Ideal seedlings have buds, but no open flowers. Set plants 12-18" apart in rows 24-36" apart, or 2 rows on poly/paper mulch, 18" between plants. Water-in transplants using a high phosphorus solution. ROW COVERS: Cold weather is buffered and earliness increased by using IRT plastic mulch, especially in combination with a slitted row cover or lightweight fabric row cover supported by wire hoops. (See Mulch and Row Covers in Index.) Remove row covers when in sunny weather above 85°F (29°C) to prevent heat damage. INSECT PESTS: Control climbing cutworms with Dipel, or with paper cylinder collars. Control tarnished plant bugs, aphids, and flea beetles with rotenone or pyrethrin. DISEASES and PROBLEMS: To prevent bacterial spot and phytopthora, drip irrigate only, plant only in well-drained soils, minimize soil compaction, follow a 4-year crop rotation. Sunscald is caused by inadequate foliage. Prevent blossom end rot with adequate soil calcium and regular moisture. Big bushy plants with few peppers can be caused by an excess of nitrogen, hot or cold temp. extremes during the flowering period, tarnished plant bug injury, and choice of late, poorly-adapted varieties. BACTERIAL SPOT NOTICE: Bacterial spot can be seed borne. All Johnny's pepper seed lots are tested for bacterial spot, and we chlorine wash any positive lots. No treatment can ensure absolute freedom from disease. NOTE: A disease-free test result does not guarantee a seed lot to be disease-free, only that in the sample tested, the pathogen targeted was not found. HARVEST And STORAGE: Pick the first peppers promptly when they reach full size to encourage further fruit set. Wash and hold at 45°F (7°C) and 95% humidity. DAYS TO MATURITY: Approximate days from transplanting outdoors to first pickings of full size fruit. AVG. SEEDING RATE: Avg. 1/3 oz. (1,250 seeds @ 80% germ.) per 1,000 plants; avg. 4.6 oz. (18,150 seeds @ 80% germ.) to produce 1 acre of transplants (14,520 plants), 12" between plants in rows 36" apart. TRANSPLANTS: Avg. 3000 plants/oz., 45,000 plants/lb. SEED SPECS: SEEDS/OZ.: 3,400-4,900 (avg. 4000). MINI: 0.2 gm. unless noted otherwise (avg. 30 seeds).