You can choose from a wide variety of pepper seeds each spring on the shelves of your local gardening store, but there are also benefits to saving the seeds yourself. By noticing how well each type of pepper plant does in your area, you can choose to save seeds from those that flourish. Harvesting your own seeds will also save money over time. It is very rewarding to grow pepper plants from seeds you harvested yourself, especially when it's time for the delicious fruit of your labor to grace the dinner table.
Harvest pepper seeds when the fruit is completely ripe and starts to look withered. Most peppers change colors when fully ripened, but a few varieties remain green so do some research about the pepper plants in your garden if you are unsure.
Cut the pepper in half with a sharp knife and scrape the seeds onto a glass or plastic plate. Remove any large pieces of pulp with your fingers and discard.
Scatter the seeds into one layer and place the plate in a dry, cool place in your home. It is vital that the temperature in the chosen location not exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit, as this may damage the pepper seeds and prevent germination.
Examine the seeds daily and stir through them to encourage drying. The seeds are ready to store when they are no longer flexible and snap easily when you bend them.
Place the seeds into a glass jar that is clean and dry. Place a tissue containing 1 tbsp. of powdered milk into the jar to absorb any moisture that may develop and seal the jar tightly.
Put a piece of masking tape on the jar and use a marker to make note of the variety of pepper seed and the date that you gathered them. Place the jar into your refrigerator until spring when it is time to plant the seeds.
Things You Will Need
- Glass or plastic plate
- Glass jar with lid
- Powdered milk
- Masking tape
- Most varieties of bell pepper turn red when they are completely ripe and ready to harvest for seed.
- If frost is predicted for your area before the last of your peppers have ripened, pull the entire plant up and hang in a place that remains cool and dry until the peppers are ready to be harvested.
- Do not dry pepper seeds on a paper plate; they may stick and could be damaged when you attempt to remove them.
- Avoid saving seeds from pepper plants marked as hybrids because they will not produce the same fruit as the mother plant that the seeds were harvested from.