Peppers can be considered a regular vegetable that can be found in most gardens and kitchens.
Whether you like sweet peppers, green peppers or chili, there are almost endless varieties to choose from.
Pepper is not just delicious to eat and healthy too. It is also very easy to plant.
In fact , pepper seeds are one of the easiest seeds to save.
Saving seeds helps you have your best fruits very available to you at all times and helps you have a close of your best plants.
So saving seeds is not only an act of sustainability.
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CHOOSING WHICH VARIETY OF PEPPER SEEDS TO SAVE
Although the necessary steps to save seeds from peppers are very simple. There are certain things you need to keep in mind before saving seeds.
One of which is that you should Avoid Hybrid Varieties.
Generally, it is advisable that when preserving seeds one should avoid preserving seeds from hybrids.
Hybrids come about as the result of cross-pollination between two different varieties.
Sometimes this happens naturally, other times, but they are deliberately crossed by humans to produce a “better” plant with the characteristics of the two parent plants.
It is important to note that most pepper plants and seeds bought from grocery stores are hybrids.
The reason saving seeds from hybrids is discouraged is because you are not having your favourite variety of pepper. The hybrid seeds usually turn out to have features that resemble one or both parent plants.
Another thing to consider is to choose only open-pollinated or heirloom.
To achieve this, you should only start with open pollination or heirloom seeds or plants.
Heirloom seeds are seeds that have not been crossed yet, and are carefully stored as pure strains. This means that they will grow from seeds.
Open pollination means that the plants from which the seeds come as naturally pollinated which is not the deliberate cross-pollination.
Therefore, if you grow peppers and sweet peppers together, you may save the seeds of the sweet pepper plant and accidentally get peppers next year.
To prevent this from happening, you may want to use the isolation methods to ensure that there is no cross-pollination.
Related: How to germinate pepper seeds step by step
HOW TO SAVE PEPPER SEEDS
Basically, one or two peppers is what is required to get enough good seeds to save.
The easiest way to ensure that the variety remains pure is to grow only one. This way there is no possibility of cross-pollination. Therefore planting only one variety of pepper seed will be a great idea.
However, if you would like to grow more than one variety of pepper seeds. You may want to separate them from each other so that there will be no cross pollination.
Choose only peppers that look healthy and are free of pests.
Do not harvest any plants from plants that appear to be sick or unhealthy.
Use a pair of garden pruning shears to harvest the peppers of your choice and cut off their stem ends cleanly.
After harvesting the peppers. Cut them open with a clean knife and remove the seeds. It is best to cut around the stem and twist out the core. Then you can scrape off the seeds with your knife.
Ensure that the seeds of different varieties are separated and clearly marked throughout the process.
Read also: How to save seeds from store-bought peppers
STORING SAVED PEPPER SEEDS
If the pepper seeds are stored properly, the seeds will remain viable for two to four years, although you can expect that the longer they are stored, the germination rate will decrease.
After removing the seeds, your seeds need to be stored in a cool and dry environment and protected from sunlight. You can put them in paper bags, sealable plastic bags or sealed glass containers. The paper bag is easy to store and label different varieties, and then can be placed in a large container.
You can harvest peppers at any stage you want, green or mature. But if you plan to preserve the seeds, all types of peppers should be fully mature on the plant before harvesting. If you are saving seeds from chilli peppers, then you may want to wear gloves and avoid touching your face, especially your eyes.