Pepper plants are a great way to add spice to your garden, and they can also be a source of pepper seeds for future planting. If you want to collect pepper seeds, it’s important to know how to do so properly. In this blog post, we will discuss the steps involved in harvesting pepper seeds, preparing them for storage, and storing them in a way that will ensure their viability.
Choose Ripe Peppers For Seeds
Only those pepper fruits that meet the following requirements are suitable for collecting seeds for further planting:
- if the packaging material is marked F1, this variety belongs to hybrids and is not suitable for reproduction;
- the pepper must ripen well;
- the specimen should have a healthy appearance, the correct shape, and the desired color;
- it is recommended to remove the fruit from 2-3 branches below.
When to Harvest Pepper Seeds?
Pepper seeds are usually harvested after the peppers have fully matured and developed a deep color. Depending on the variety, this can take anywhere from 2-4 months after planting. Once the pepper has reached full maturity, it should be removed from its vine and stored in a dry place until it is ready to be processed.
What You’ll Need for Harvesting Pepper Seeds?
Before harvesting pepper seeds, you should make sure that you have the right tools. You’ll need a sharp knife or scissors to cut the pepper open and gloves to prevent skin irritation from contact with capsaicin, which is the compound responsible for chili peppers’ spicy taste. Additionally, you should have some paper towels handy to help contain the mess.
How to Harvest Pepper Seeds?
After gathering the necessary tools, you can begin harvesting pepper seeds. Start by slicing open the mature pepper and removing the seeds from the inside. Be sure to take extra care when handling the seeds as they are delicate and may be easily damaged. Once all of the seeds have been removed, place them onto a paper towel to dry for several days, making sure to turn them over occasionally.
Saving Pepper Seeds
Once the pepper seeds are completely dry, it is time to prepare them for storage. First, spread the seeds out on a paper towel and inspect them carefully for any signs of damage or discoloration. If any damaged or discolored seeds are found, discard them. Once that is done, store the pepper seeds in an airtight container and place them in a cool, dry location with temperatures between 50-54 degrees Fahrenheit (10-12 degrees Celsius). Make sure that the temperature in the room does not drop to 0°C, as the seeds die in such conditions. The ideal humidity for storing pepper seeds should be 55-60%.
Tip. Seeds of hot pepper can not be removed from the pod when harvesting by yourself. Hang the fruits on a string in a dry, ventilated place in the fall and remove the seeds from them when spring comes.
Seed Shelf Life
A general rule of thumb is that a seed’s viability decreases by half each year. This means that the percentage of seeds that will germinate decreases over time. To ensure a good germination rate, it is best to plant pepper seeds within two years of harvesting them and preferably within one year. If stored properly, pepper seeds can last up to five years. However, it is important to note that the longer a pepper seed is stored, the lower the germination rate will be.