seeds Basic Guide to Saving Seeds

Hello Everyone,
 
I am Steve I am from Canada (Londo, ON) and I am fairly new to THP.  That being said the more I Troll around the forums the more new people I see making posts which is awesome!  I also have not run into a solid guide to saving the seeds of your favorite plant for next years growing.  As mentioned I live in Canada and our season is not exactly what you could call long and ideal for growing peppers so for those people interested in growing the hotter varieties saving seeds and starting them early is almost a must.  
 
I just thought I would share the technique that I used and some of my personal experiences in the short time that I have been attempting to save seeds.
 
First of all the most important thing to do when saving seeds or handling hot peppers in any way in abundance is to wear rubber gloves, to me there is not point in getting all the capsaicin oil on your hands and dealing with trying to wash it off for hours before you can scratch your eye again. (again from experience wearing the gloves have saved my eyes alot of pain and did not affect the end result in any way as far as I can tell)
 
The next step in saving your seeds is to pick the correct pods to give yourself the best chances of getting seeds that will propagate into strong plants when sewn the following year.  To do this you should choose the pod that looks the healthiest and is RIPE (2 biggest keys from what I have learned)  the first mistake i made was to pick the biggest pod of the year and let it dry (made sense to me) and the seeds from it did NOTHING.  I then learned quickly that if you have a smaller pod but it is very healthy and fully ripe you increase your chances ten fold.  You can easily find info on every pepper online as to what it looks like when fully ripe, I would personally let the pepper get to it's fully ripe color and leave it on the plant for a week or so for good measure.
 
To continue the topic on pods, when you get a plant that you feel you want to re-produce you should make sure to avoid cross-pollination as when a plant becomes cross-pollinated the seeds will become un-predictable and you may or may not get the same plant you want.  To avoid this problem I made little bags out of breathable material to surround the flower and avoid bug cross-pollinating your pepper.  This also limits your choices on pods so I typically do this to a few different flowers to give myself a better shot.
 
Fast forward a few months and your pod is ready to pick!!
 
As far as I can tell there are a few ways in which you can dry out the seeds (air dry, dehydrate, dry in pods, and probably many more) personally I take my pods slice them in half and remove all seeds, I then take away any seeds that look really small or discolored.  I spread the seeds over a paper towel and lay them in a dry place out of the way of traffic and direct sunlight.  The duration of time needed to dry seeds may vary depending on where, how, and what kind of seeds you are drying.  Again I keep drawing on personal experience I dried them for about 2 weeks moving them around to not allow them to stick to the paper towel.  After a few weeks I then tried to break the seeds, (i'm sure there is a better test as to not waste any seeds but it worked for me)
 
Once the seeds snap and no longer bend they are dry enough to be stored, storing seeds for me was easy I used small envelopes to ensure the seeds remain dry and do not gather moisture while being stored. From there I just made sure to store them in a dark place that had low humidity.  
 
I hope this helps any new comers to the seed saving business, again this was just my experience there are more experienced people then me on this site I just wanted to post a quick guide (I only saved my jalapeno seeds never any super hots or anything rare yet).  And I apologize that there are not any pics, I haven't graduated to that level yet!  Please if anyone has any more info to add or pics please feel free!!
 
Good Luck,
 
-Steve
 
 
Never tried paper I think it would restrict the sunlight too much, using the breathable material i find prevents the cross contamination and bugs but allows sunlight.
 
Can you tell me the breathable material that you use for the isolation, a picture or a link to it perhaps? Thank you
 
stevedigs04 said:
Never tried paper I think it would restrict the sunlight too much, using the breathable material i find prevents the cross contamination and bugs but allows sunlight.
 Does fruit need sunlight to ripen?  Obviously the leaves do, but it never occurred to me that much photosynthesis would come from the fruit itself in ratio to the plant.
 
old man said:
Can you tell me the breathable material that you use for the isolation, a picture or a link to it perhaps? Thank you
 
Personally I go to the local decorative shop or really any "fancy" store that sells knick knacks and such things and buy little cloth bags that do the trick, but im sure ladies nylons or something like that would do the trick, really any fine fabric with tiny holes small enough to let light in but keep bugs out. I got my little baggies at "JYSK".
 
 
Monkey Hunter said:
 Does fruit need sunlight to ripen?  Obviously the leaves do, but it never occurred to me that much photosynthesis would come from the fruit itself in ratio to the plant.
 
That I will have to pass off to another more experienced member but I always assumed sunlight would be good for fruit the old " put the green tomato in the window sil to ripen" adage.
 
-Steve
 
Did a quick search and found this
 
"If none of the above isolation techniques are practical for you, or you want to maintain a high degree of control over which plants pollinate each other, you can individually hand pollinate flowers or flower heads and enclose them in cloth or paper bags. This technique works well with large-flowered plants such as squash or daylilies."
 
I imagine fabric bags would be easier to use, but paper would be more effective against wind pollination.
 
The site actually seems pretty good, useful info for those interested in seed saving.
 
http://howtosaveseeds.com/isolate.php
 
Fruit doesn't need sunlight to go from green to red. I don't know if you start with a pollinated flower and never let the fruit see light if it will be green or not? For some vegetables, you can achieve white fruit by completely blocking out the light (white asparagus is the same as green, just never allowed to see sunlight). I wonder if you can get white or very pale peppers by keeping them in the dark?
 
does anyone else freeze their seeds??
It's gonna be gettin hot my my apartment soon, i need to think about that
 
PepperWhisperer said:
Fruit doesn't need sunlight to go from green to red. I don't know if you start with a pollinated flower and never let the fruit see light if it will be green or not? For some vegetables, you can achieve white fruit by completely blocking out the light (white asparagus is the same as green, just never allowed to see sunlight). I wonder if you can get white or very pale peppers by keeping them in the dark?
I got to try the pepper in the dark ! White peppers hell ya !
 
A method I have used to quickly dry seeds out at room temperature for storage is to put them in unsealed small baggies (labeled of course) and put them in a sealed tupperware container that has uncooked dry rice in it.  Drys them very quickly and I just pull the baggies out and seal them and they are good for the next season. 
 
Anyone have any insight on a general rule for how long saved seeds can stay valid for? Is it just a matter of giving it a go and see if it germinates?
 
julie said:
Anyone have any insight on a general rule for how long saved seeds can stay valid for? Is it just a matter of giving it a go and see if it germinates?
I have heard of people using 20 year old seeds that were jusy lying around.
 
And one member on here grew peppers from seeds someone had hanging in their kitchen for years.
 
julie said:
Anyone have any insight on a general rule for how long saved seeds can stay valid for? Is it just a matter of giving it a go and see if it germinates?
I think the oldest seeds that's been germinated was something like 20+ thousand years old, a little flower they found in the permafrost.  The key to long term seed storage is making sure they don't experience temperature/humidity  fluctuations.  If they're stored in the freezer, with desiccant and not removed often they should last for years.  When you do take them out, give them enough time to warm to room temps before opening to avoid condensation.  If they're stored properly, and were healthy to begin with they should be fine, with old seed I always start them early just in case they don't germinate and I need to get new stock.
 
The oldest seed I got going was around 10 years or so, with old seeds I always soak them with a bit of B1 for 24 hours to give them a bit of a kick start.
 
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