Pepper Seed Is Even Easier Than Tomato Seed!

Saving pepper seed is even easier than saving tomato seeds.

As long as the fruit is nice and ripe, all you have to do is: split the pepper open, scrape out the seeds, dry those seeds on a counter, and voil!

(Plus you get the seedless peppers to eat or freeze.)

But peppers also cross much more readily than tomatoes do.

If you were going to be saving seed to sell, I would give you a big warning about respecting isolation distances and tell you a sob story about my Scotch Bonnets that crossed with some Italian peppers. (Which actually has had a nice ending as I turned that accident into the #scotchbonnetremix project.)

But if you just want some seed for your market garden, you can throw caution to the wind and save pepper seed without worrying about isolation distances


Now to be clear, Im not saying this because you wont see crossing in your plants. You will see some crossing.

But rather, if youre someone who likes to grow a bunch of pepper varieties, I think you should be excited about seeing some different plants in your pepper fields. New shapes and sizes, maybe even new colours – new stories and diversity for the eaters you serve.

So dont worry about crossing!!!

Well, there is some crossing you should worry about.

Your sweet peppers and your hot peppers will happily cross with each other.

And there is nothing more disappointing than discovering the hot peppers you just brought in for your latest batch of your signature hot sauce are not so hotso. (I guess for some mild-palated folks, the surprise of biting into a supposedly sweet pepper and discovering the biting edge of Capsaicin might also be an unpleasant twist.)

If youre growing sweet and hot peppers and you plan on saving seed, separate your hots and your sweets by  200ft to 300ft to significantly reduce the chance of crossing.

#protip. If you see a crossed up pepper plant in your field, taste one fruit from before sending the rest to market. 

If it is a rogue hot pepper in your sweet field, you can pull the plant for the compost pile or mark it with flagging tape and tell the crew that its ????????????.

6 thoughts on “Pepper Seed Is Even Easier Than Tomato Seed!

  1. Hi Dan – Thanks so much for your blog; I enjoy it. I have a question about soil. How do you enrich your soil? All with green manure? Do you leave that section of the garden fallow for a whole season?

    1. Thanks!

      We used cover crops and chicken manure to fertilize our fields.

      In our vegetable fields we do 1 year cover crop and then spread chicken manure, then 1 year of a heavy feeder crop, and 1 year of a light feeder crop, them back to cover crop.


  2. Hey, Dan — question on saving pepper seed — how to you ensure that seed viability is strong? My biggest complaint with The Exchange at Seed Savers Exchange is that people offer pepper seed all the time and 3/4 of the time, I get germination of about 25% (and this is with All The Tricks: heat mats at 80 degrees, damp paper towels and now a chamomile tea soak.

    I’m going to be saving pepper seeds from some of the varieties I’m growing out this year and want to ensure that the seeds have the vitality to germinate as low germination frustrates me with others! 😉 I welcome your thoughts.

  3. My experience has been the opposite! Tomatoes are easier for, at least this year it is. I am having a hard time getting my hot peppers to germinate! (The sweet peppers are fine.)

      1. Thanks. I am going to mention this to SSE for The Exchange. I am so frustrated

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