Are hybrid bell pepper seeds worth the price?

cole_robbie(6)September 21, 2012

Last year I ordered all open-pollinated bell pepper seeds because they are so much cheaper. It's $5-8 for a thousand seeds, as compared to $60-100+ for the hybrids. For example "Orange Blaze" is $151 for a thousand, and "Orange Sun" is $9. The price difference is extraordinary. They both look like the same pepper to me.

Is the production difference between OP and hybrid bell peppers as drastic as that of hybrid versus heirloom tomatoes?

I had a lousy year for peppers, but so did everyone else due to the weather. I sell plants mostly, but it is to the same customers each year, and I really want them to have success with what they buy. I also would like to have better results for the ones we garden to eat, and I wonder if the expensive hybrids are worth the price.

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myfamilysfarm

I don't believe so, I plant basically OP seeds due to the cost. I can sell my plants much cheaper than others that spend the money on hybrid expensive seeds.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 7:58PM
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randy41_1

we've had a good year for peppers. we grow hybrids only. the seed is expensive. however the plants are very productive.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 6:56AM
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randy41_1

i forgot to mention that we sell the peppers not the plants.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 6:57AM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

in my opinion some are and some are not. I'm in a unique position where I grow and sell plants, then I plant my plants and grow and sell veggies, so I get to evaluate many of them and weed out keepers and losers.
The large hybrid sweet banana peppers I grew this year, the large early sunsation yellow bells, and the big early bells definitely worth 3x the price. some of the others, like the italian roaster II, not worth it. they were too variable in heat and got too hot even with drip. the larger mild jalapenos, worth the price. The best OP bell pepper I've tried was Keystone Resistant giant, almost as productive as the hybrids and as large. way better than good old cal wonder, but many people want cal wonder plants each spring so I have to grow them. and since they are a nice cheap seed, why not?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 2:15PM
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cole_robbie(6)

Thanks. I had 'golden cal wonder' this year and got poor results with it.

The greenhouse supply company I order from sells plugs of "Blushing Beauty," which I am considering trying. They also have 'Lady Bell Red.' I'll try that Early Sunsation as my yellow bell. I still need an orange bell.

I think this year I won't sell 6-packs of bell peppers. It's easier to recover the expensive seed cost by selling individual plants.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 3:40PM
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2ajsmama

Bells have just never done well for me - Purple Beauty was OK this year, not great, CA Wonder was less than wonderful, and King of the North (2nd yr running) has so far produced zilch this year (I did get some small green peppers off it last Oct).

Cubanelles did great this year (though it's a harder sell), my 1 Pimento Tangerine is loaded and finally ripening - going to try that again next year though again people are used to bells. Going to try Corno di Toro (sp?). For some reason my jals looked great beginning of the season but then just stopped producing.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 5:25PM
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elrem2002(z5NY)

Bell peppers are a glut on the market, just about every week, and sell so cheap that out of the 6500 plants I put in only 168 were bells. We need some for our own use and for some of the mixed boxes I make up at the market.

I do sell a lot of plants, about 8000, mostly hot. Only about 750 were bells. If I had more greenhouse space I would grow more.

I've been doing this a long time and have trialed many varieties. I have found that the hybrid bells did better here and the varieties that we grew this year were: Ace, Early Sunsation, King Arthur, Socrates X3R, Merlot. Our plant customers have been happy with them.

This growing season started out very hot and dry with a lot of blossom drop, but it has turned out to be one of the best years ever for peppers. Again, I grow mostly hot peppers.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 8:33PM
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cole_robbie(6)

Thanks for the information, both of you.

And you're right, elrem, now that I think about it. I did see a lot of other vendors packing up unsold bell peppers. I should focus more on the early market and grow under plastic. The Early Sunsation is 70 days and I see a "Gypsy" that is 60 days.

The Ace you mentioned looks good as an early pepper at 70 days. Johnny's has a "New Ace" they say is 65 days.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 12:16AM
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cole_robbie(6)

I mean Reimer, not Johnny's:

Here is a link that might be useful: New Ace

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 12:19AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

The best pepper for me this year was Odessa Market available from Sandhill seeds. I also had some nice long Ancient Sweets from the peppers sold at Sam's Club.

Ancient Sweets on left.

Cal Wonder do well for me and this year marconi and Aconcagua did too. Corno di Toro Giallo was big but a little late. Purple Bell did well too. For hybrids I like Tequila and that is all. I am going all OP for sweet peps next year.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 7:28PM
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myfamilysfarm

Minnie, is that your cell phone in the first pic. I really like the cover.

DIL had really good luck with Ca Wonders this year, and got LOTS of HUGE peppers just in time for her market to end. Doesn't it figure?

Marla

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 7:59PM
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rustico_2009

California wonders do great for me, here in ....Californa. However, one planting on black plastic in April this year had a ton of fruit all crammed up into the lower branches. I was following suggestions from another market gardener thread on the spacing. It is about 14"x14" spacing all directions, with three rows to the 4 foot bed, but think it caused the smallish plants and crammed fruit syndrome? I usually plant California wonders about 18" apart in all directions. (Maybe the tight spacing was suggested for the more open habit hot peppers)

If not the spacing, Could something else cause this? The plants were beautiful but shorter than normal. The plants are still looking great. Pollination worked because there were about 20 peppers per plant on the first flush!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 10:04PM
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myfamilysfarm

Everything around here was shorter and usually smaller due to our drought, I believe. She planted on black landscape fabric.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 3:55AM
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2ajsmama

I've got little peppers on my KOTN - about as big as a thimble. Last year they were late too (and this year I planted later). I spaced about 24" last year, this year the bells were a little closer, about 18", I had to squeeze them in the half row left after planting tomatoes. Soil N tested OK, and the tomatoes did well (but my "early" varieties were late as well), but I think the decomposed bark mulch base mixed with compost on top near the house grew the plants better last year than the sandy loam with coffee hulls, wood shavings, and manure this year. Or maybe it was b/c we had more rain last year, and the 1 month we didn't I had drip.

Anyway, I'm going to be amending that bed with more manure for next year. Coffee hulls were an experiment this year - don't seem to work well for anything except compost activator.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 7:42AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I think mine were shorter than normal too but I did have them row covered extremely long and didn't plan on cages or supports so that was good. I plant close together- 3 rows, staggered in a 3.5 foot bed.
It is my husband's cell phone and mine was taking the photo. It has a bamboo cover I guess.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 10:14PM
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myfamilysfarm

I like it.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 2:43PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

Yes bells are overproduced, but you just need to be careful in your picking. If you dont pick too many then the remaining one will must turn colors, if you need to pick more, then the customers just dont get them colored. I grew about 200 bells, mostly big early and early sunsation and keystone resistant giant and a few excursion. The one from Harris seeds were great! So Ive already reordered from them. Some of the big early peppers were as big as a quart canning jar. But we had them on drip and were occasionally running some of the greenhouse fertilizer thought the drips.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 7:03PM
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alanleveritt

We sell red Gypsy Bell Peppers, slightly smaller and a little elongated when compared to regular bells. With the humidity and fungus it is almost impossible to grow regular bells to the red stage here in Central Arkansas but we get almost 100% with Gypsy. That is with no pesticide or fungicide. We get $2.00 a pound (3 peppers). Can't say enough good about Gypsy.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 5:58PM
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cole_robbie(6)

And this year's winners for most expensive bell pepper seeds are the greenhouse varieties from Sieger: Mango, Moonset, and Triple 4. For just 100 seeds, they are priced at $55-75. Wow!!!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 1:50PM
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