If you are growing peppers in your garden, you need to read this to know everything you need to know about saving the seeds to grow the same variety or varieties again next season.
The number one reason why most gardeners save seeds from their peppers to grow season to season is to ensure that they continue harvesting and enjoying their favorite peppers. Many gardeners also save seeds from their peppers to save money. They save money by not having to buy new seeds to grow peppers every year.
Whether you want to save pepper seeds to continue enjoying your flavorful peppers or to save money, this is just the article you need to read. It has got every important detail you need to know about saving pepper seeds.
Saving Pepper Seeds What You Need To Know
The best thing about collecting or saving pepper seeds is the fact that they are very easy to save. This is because it is very easy to harvest them, dry them, and store them.
Perhaps the only thing you need to worry about when saving pepper seeds or if you are planning to save pepper seeds is cross-pollination (I will explain why in the next section). However, cross-pollination is only a problem if you are growing multiple pepper varieties. With this said, even if you are growing multiple varieties of peppers, you should find it very easy to save pepper seeds to grow new peppers next season.
Why Cross-pollination Can Be a Problem If You Want To Save Pepper Seeds
If you are not new to the pepper world then you are most probably familiar with cross-pollination. Cross-pollination is what yields new peppers. Many gardeners around the world cross-pollinate peppers to create new pepper flavors or peppers with greater heat. It is the most popular and accepted method of plant breeding.
So what exactly is cross-pollination? Well, it is the transfer of genetic material between two different types of pepper plants. Many gardeners do it deliberately by collecting pollen from one type of pepper and introducing them to the stigma of another type of pepper. However, cross-pollination can also happen naturally especially when two types of peppers are planted close to each other.
Cross-pollination is nice if you want to create new types of peppers. However, it is a problem if you want the exact same type of peppers you are enjoying this season when you harvest your peppers next season. And this is probably what you want if you want to save pepper seeds from your peppers this season.
As mentioned, cross-pollination will happen naturally when you plant two types of peppers cross to each other. So to significantly reduce the likelihood of cross-pollination taking place, you should grow your peppers about six feet from each other. If you do not have much space in your garden, you should strongly consider getting isolation/ exclusion bags.
Isolations bags are special bags you can put over the flowers of your pepper plants to prevent them from being pollinated by neighboring plants. Therefore, by getting them and using them correctly, you will prevent cross-pollination and ensure the seeds you collect will produce the same types of peppers you are harvesting or will harvest this season.
But as I said, cross-pollination is only a problem if you are growing different types of peppers in your garden. If you are growing just one type of pepper, it is not really a problem. If you do not mind the types of peppers in your garden cross-pollinating and producing hybrids, it is also not a problem.
How Exactly To Collect Pepper Seeds
Now that you know all the important information you need to know about cross-pollination and saving pepper seeds, it is time for you to know how exactly to collect pepper seeds for growing.
- Wait For Your Peppers To Mature. You should not harvest pepper seeds from immature peppers. This is because they are not viable for future growing. You should only harvest seeds from peppers that are mature and ready for harvesting. So wait for your peppers to mature before even thinking of saving their seeds.
- Harvest Fresh and Healthy Peppers. Once your peppers are mature, you should remove fresh and healthy ones. These types of peppers are the ones that will have the best seeds for growing new peppers in the future. The seeds you should find in mature, fresh, and healthy peppers are hard and not very bright in color. If they are soft and bright, you should wait for your peppers to mature a bit more. Before harvesting two or three fresh and healthy fruits for seed extraction.
- Clean and Dry The Peppers. Once you harvest the right peppers, you should wash and then dry them. This is just to make sure there is no dirt or contaminant on them.
- Slice Open the Peppers And Extract The Seeds. Once you have cleaned and dried the peppers from which you want to extract seeds, you should slice them open and extract their seeds.
It is very easy to extract seeds from large peppers such as bell peppers. You simply need to slice the peppers open and extract their seeds using tweezers or even a teaspoon. In contrast, it is not very easy to extract seeds from small peppers such as superhots. Slicing them open is usually not enough. Most times you will need to finely chop them to make their seeds easier to extract.
Please wear gloves and a face shield when handling hot peppers if you do not want seed harvesting to become a very unpleasant experience.
- Spread the Seeds on Large Ceramic Plates To Dry Them. After extracting viable seeds from healthy and mature peppers, you should spread them on ceramic plates to dry them. Avoid drying them under direct sunlight. This can kill them and prevent them from germinating when you try growing them in the future.
Just spread them on the plates and put them in a well-ventilated room. If you dry them on paper towels or paper plates, they will stick to them and become difficult to remove.
You should let the seeds dry for at least a week. Flip all the seeds every evening to ensure they all dry evenly. You will know your seeds are ready for storage if they make a cracking sound when you break them.
- Store the Seeds Correctly. If you dry your pepper seeds correctly and store them correctly, they will remain viable for planting for a very long time. The best place to store properly dried pepper seeds is in a glass jar. If you store pepper seeds in a glass jar and add a sachet of silica gel in it to absorb the moisture and seal it to an airtight level, the seeds will stay viable for more than two years.
How to Revive Saved Seeds for Planting
To revive and grow dried seeds, follow the steps below.
- Start Them Indoors. Find pots and start them indoors several weeks to the last frost date. It is important to start them indoors where it is warm to enable them to sprout.
- Sow Them In A Sterile Potting Mixture. Add a sterile potting mixture to your pots and sow the seeds. Make sure to sow them at a depth of no more than 1 cm.
- Water the Seeds Daily. After sowing the seeds, spray them with water daily to keep them moist. You can seal the pots in polythene bags to prevent the potting mixture in them from drying out.
- Maintain Your Indoor Temperature at a Minimum of 75 degrees F. To ensure your seeds germinate, maintain your indoor temperatures, or at least the temperature around your pots at 75 degrees F.
If you follow the steps above, your pepper seeds should germinate within 14 days. However, if you stored them for a long time, they could take as many as 21 days to germinate.
The Best Seeds to Collect For Future Growing
As mentioned in this article, the best peppers to harvest for seed extraction are those that are mature, fresh, and very healthy. However, if you cannot easily tell the maturity of your pepper plant fruits, you should let them become very ripe until they show signs of starting to wrinkle.
At this point, you can be very sure that the seeds will be totally ready for extraction and very viable for future growth. In other words, what I am trying to say is that the best seeds for future growth are mature seeds.
The Final Word
As you can see from the article above, it is not very difficult to save pepper seeds for future growing. You simply need to harvest ripe and healthy peppers, remove their seeds, and dry them properly. If you do this and store them properly, they will be viable for a long time. Saving pepper seeds will save you money and will allow you to continue enjoying the flavor or flavors of your peppers.