The past few years I have been growing out a variety of peppers for myself and others, but this year, I have to save my Jimmy Nardello Peppers. Once it hits year 3, I need to save seeds again from those that grow best in our area. I saved heirloom Nardello peppers from our 2012 drought and needed to grow those out since I want my peppers to be acclimated to my growing area. Peppers need to be isolated at least 500 feet from another species. I have not had any problems with them coming back a nice, sweet frying pepper since I am the only one growing this type of pepper in the area. Since I live in an urban area, I can’t count on that always being the case.
“Self- or insect-pollinated, pepper varieties of the same species will cross-pollinate. There is no crossing between varieties of different species, however. You can safely grow one hot or sweet pepper (C. annuum) and one Tabasco pepper (C. frutescens) without danger of their crossing.
Peppers within the same species can be safely isolated by 500 feet of separation, or they can be caged since the plants are not overly large. Allow peppers to ripen and dry fully on the plants before harvesting the pods. Wash your hands thoroughly with soapy water after harvesting hot pepper seeds, since the residues will burn eyes and lips for some time after contact!”
Pepper seeds will keep for 2 or 3 years if properly stored.” read more”
I also need to save seed from my Casper Egg Plant (50 feet isolation) from 2013. I wrote a post on seed saving (Seed Saving in Urban Areas-read more here) last year and there is a chart on that site ( chart from FEDCO for seed saving-here) One of the problems of saving seed in an urban area is that we live so close to one another since our growing area is quite close to one another we need to be aware of what seeds we can save in the city.
I germinate my eggplant and peppers a few weeks earlier than my tomatoes. I have found they are the perfect size if I start them a bit sooner than my tomatoes. I usually start tomatoes for our zone 5 area after St. Patrick’s day or week of March 17th. One year, I started them in early February, and I felt the plants were too lanky and did no better with ripening sooner than the ones; I started in March.
It was not until Andrew from Yeoman Farmer Ramblings told my husband at work,” Tell Robbie to start her nightshades with heat.”Boy was he right! I have had some of mine come up as soon as a few days after I place them on the heat. Crazy! It makes a difference. If you are starting your tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant this month, make sure you use a heating pad. You will never attempt to germinate these seeds any other way once you try it!
I also use a cover on them while they are germinating. In the evening, before we close down for the night, I turn off the overhead lights but leave the heating pad on for 24 hours until most of the young nightshades are germinating. Once the tray is mostly germinated, I take them off the heat.
I do not lie! I started these on March 4th, and they are germinating on March 9th! Yep, and sometimes I have even had them do it in 24 hours-heat works!