Keeping hot peppers hot

Creek-side(5)December 31, 2012

I grow banana peppers which have been in the family for a very long time. We just reuse the seeds every year. They tend to vary a lot in heat. When I was younger my father always grew one patch of large sweet peppers, but we never planted them close together. I don't recall if he did anything select the hotter peppers for seeds.

In order to keep these peppers hot, is it as simple as using seeds from the hotter ones from year to year?

And could I do the opposite so that I can breed a sweet version of these? If so, would these have a greater tendency to "cool down" my hot ones than other sweet varieties would?

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Peppers self-pollinate rather easily. If you want to make sure you get a pure seed stock you can find a flower bud that's plump and very close to opening and "bag" it by covering/tieing up a piece of cheesecloth (or similar) loosely over the bud. Later in the day and/or the next day or two give the stem the bud is on a little shake to help it pollinate itself (not necessary, but helps). A day or two later you can remove the bag and let the pepper grow itself out. Collecting seed from these peppers give you an unmixed/unhybridized seed source direct from the parent. It's usually a good idea to bag multiple peppers, and to do it on multiple plants if possible.

Isolation (planting peppers far apart from each other) is a less labor intensive method. You can plant a "seed collecting plant" far away from your other peppers and severely lessen the chance of pollination from another plant.

About hot/sweet peppers mixing. Though some sweetness has shown up on some hybrid hot/sweets, the genes for heat are extremely dominate and rarely will a "tameness" occur when bred together.

This post was edited by nc-crn on Mon, Dec 31, 12 at 19:01

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 6:54PM
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