My pepper seed saving experience

david52_gwAugust 2, 2012

I burn about $20 a year buying pepper seed. Lucky if I have a 30% germination, so I thought I'd try saving last year's seed from Jalapeno, Jimmy Nardano, Hungarian Carrot, and a off-sport of Gypsy hybrid that showed up, a 6 inch long, 1" dia, thick-walled sweet pepper that turned red early. Maybe de-hybridize it.

The seeds came up like bandits. I also planted seeds for Lip Stick, Wonder Bell, Chili Noir, and some new Gypsy. I was careful to segregate the seedlings, planted three of the same variety in each container, segregated the ones in the garden, and set out maybe 120 plants.

So yesterday I was out harvesting some jalapeno to make pickled slices. Its hilarious - I don't think there are two plants out there that have the same fruit. Crossed all over the place - long skinny jalapenos, short stubby Jimmy Nardano, even the new Gypsy, lipstick, and wonder bell hybrid seed was messed up and they're every shape under the sun.

Even more frustrating, I can't tell which ones are hot and which are not - nibble the tip, but that doesn't help. Slice in half, lick the seed membrane, and yes, that one was hot, but now my tongue is burning and I can't tell if the next one I try is hot.

Oh Well.

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Something like this never happens to me, David!


Maybe you can combine ALL of them as a pepper sauce . . .


May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, the foresight to know where you're going, and the insight to know you've gone too far. ~ Charles M. Meyers

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 6:43PM
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This was the year I was going to make up several years' worth of salsa. I'll go ahead and try, but no guarantee if its going to be mild, medium, or too hot to eat.......

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 6:58PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

I have been saving pepper seeds and growing out my own seed stock for 4 or 5 years now, and so far I've only had one "mystery" pepper. Last year, I grew an Alma Paprika, that looked suspiciously like the Lipstick the parent grew next to the year before.

I don't grow on the scale that you and Steve do though, so I'm sure that's part of it.

On the flip side, I've had several "mystery" plants that came from nurseries, and from seed that I received from other people. It doesn't bother me as much when it's my own saved seed, but when I pay for a specific plant, I kind of hope the seller is making an effort to isolate ...

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 12:19PM
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How do you go about isolating the plants?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 11:39PM
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I will add my 2 cents which along with 2 dollars may buy you a cup of coffee somewhere.

I have never isolated tomatoes or peppers. And had never experienced any issues till this year on tomato seeds saved from last season. The pepper seeds I saved from last year that I grew again this year seem to be true. In my opinion the crosses were likely an indirect result of me planting more flowers and beneficial attracting plants in the garden. My plan was to attract the beneficials to control the bad insects. I hardly ever saw a bumble bee ect in my garden before. Now I see them every day. Something including butterflies are checking the blooms all the time. So more likely I will continue to see more crosses unless I isolate or bag blooms.

I usually only save seeds from early fruit and fruit inside the plant and not outside fruit more readily available. Last year due to work schedules and also the tomatoes setting late the fruit I saved from were more on the outside of the plant. This is the first cross I have ever experienced from my seed saving. I have several mix up from purchased seeds this year. At least a couple of varieties aren't stable yet. Seed sold before variety was completely stable. I have a couple that are probably F1 crosses and one just maybe mixed seed. All of this was with tomatoes. So far I haven't found any wrong fruit types on the peppers.

If you want to cut down on the chance of cross pollination you can do one or a combination of several things. You can isolate by distance. By using barriers like tall buildings, ect. You can bag blooms. You can use a cage over the plants covered with fine mesh small enough most insects can't enter. I'll link a site with some good info. You can do a search and find much more if you desire. Jay

Here is a link that might be useful: How to save seeds

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 5:15PM
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I've never had a problem with tomatoes, been saving seed now for 15 years. I do the same thing, pick the early fruit.

I think it must be the way I grow my peppers, which is in containers - three plants to a container, jammed together on a sunny concrete slab. Which is surrounded by flower beds, so there a a bazillion bees all the time.

Today I made a dozen pints of 'jalapeno-esque' pickled slices, and most of these crosses are pretty good peppers - 6 in long, thick walled, slightly less heat than a jalapeno, they're a better product than the original. Others are a pale, yellow-green, but still have that basic jalapeno form, again with good flavor. Only one plant has some sort of heart-shaped, not so thick walled, but thats the exception.

Anyway, I'll be saving seeds from some of these better plants/fruits, and see what happens next year. The germination is so much better, and for what I use these things for, the actual shape and color of the pepper isn't that big a deal.

Next year, I'll separate the heck out of them.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 7:13PM
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