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Seed Sense: After Market Seeds

We get some pretty seedy questions through the contact form on seedlibrary.org so we've decided to start sharing some of our answers with everyone. Feel free to add your two cents.

Pepper seeds. Pepper seeds.

Question from Cheryl:

We bought a couple of the jimmy nardello sweet pepper plants at a farmers market in Detroit this summer.  We loved the peppers very much.   I kept the seeds from inside them after they were ripe and dried them out.  Will these reproduce for me when I plant them in the spring?
If not,  I hope I can buy some seeds from you.
Thanks Cheryl

Answer from Ken:
Cheryl,We love the Jimmy Nardello peppers as well!

Your seeds are what we call "after market" seeds: seeds that people saved from veggies they bought at thier farmer's market or grocery store.

It's hard to say if your seeds will breed true. Peppers, as well as many other fruiting plants like squash, eggplant, and cucumbers, need to be isolated from other varieties--otherwise they can easily cross pollinate. Most farmers who grow for markets are growing multiple varieties in close quarters. It's worth giving it a try, planting your seeds, and seeing what you get. You might get some new hybrid or you may get something close to a J-nardo Pepper. But if you want to be sure you are growing Jimmy Nardellos you need to save seed from pepper plants that have been isolated from cross-pollinating. One more tip: heat in peppers is dominant. So, if peppers do cross it's more likely they will go hot than stay sweet. So look before you leap (or nibble before you bite)!

Stay seedy,
Ken

Doug peeking in to check on isolated peppers. Doug peeking in to check on isolated peppers.

5 thoughts on “Seed Sense: After Market Seeds”

  • Eva

    It's good to know the terminology for these kind of seeds. I do a fair amount of seed trading and I like to be clear about what I'm trading with, but describing these seeds was always tricky for me. Now I know what to say! Thanks.

    Reply
  • ken

    Eva,

    Yes, seed trading can be tricky when the source of the seeds and seed saving practices are unclear. You can always ask if the plants were isolated. This can mean insect barriers, distance from other varieties, timing isolation, or hand pollination. As for "after market" seeds, that's not an official term, but I think it aptly describes the act of saving seeds from veggies you bought at the market!

    Reply
  • virginiatrembles
    virginiatrembles 10/25/2010 at 1:11 pm

    so if you are using a system like you have shown you must be hand pollinating?

    Reply
  • ken

    The pic of Doug is an example of using an insect barrier. We build low tunnels with hoops and cover them with row cover. The cover lets in light and moisture but keeps out insects. The peppers don't actually need the insects to self-pollinate, so no hand-pollination is necessary (for peppers) with this system.

    Reply
  • Lydia

    Ken;

    Thanks for the good advice. I, too, have used "after-market" seeds, and they have yielded some nice peppers. However, we did keep them away from our cucumber vines; it's something to think about next year!

    Reply

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