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Saving Tomato and Pepper Seeds

Remove the core of the pepper and harvest the seeds.The last of the easy seeds we save are tomatoes and peppers.  I've combined them into this post even though they have different seed-saving techniques since they're in the same family.  If you've been reading along daily, these guys are just a repeat of the methods we've been discussing all week.

Pepper seeds are a lot like squash seeds --- easy to save as long as you keep hybridization in mind.  Many hot peppers are in the same species as your bell peppers, so don't grow them close together or you may be surprised by the zest of next year's "sweet" peppers!  However, peppers don't hybridize quite as readily as cucurbits, so you'll probably be okay saving two different varieties from the same garden as long as they're separated by at least 50 feet.  To save pepper seeds, allow the peppers to ripen completely (to yellow, orange, or red, depending on the variety).  Then cut out the core, brush off the seeds, dry the seeds in the open for a while, and put them in your seed box.  Just keep in mind that the hottest part of hot peppers is the seeds, and you won't be thrilled if you touch your face after handling hot pepper guts.

Fermenting tomato seedsAlthough some sources say differently, in my experience heirloom tomatoes don't cross-pollinate.  I've had good luck saving seeds from different types of tomatoes growing next door to each other, and I suspect you will too.  To save tomato seeds, pick ripe tomatoes, squeeze out the guts into a jar, add a bit of water, and ferment the seeds for a few days just like you did the cucumber seeds.  Then pour off the liquid and film of fungus, rinse the seeds, dry them, and save them.

I'd be curious to hear if anyone out there has reached beyond the basic seed-saving level we've attained.  What would be the next vegetable on your list to save after the ones mentioned in this series?

This post is part of our Seed Saving lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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