A Seed Saver's Garden

Zeedman

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Two of the pepper varieties I'm growing next year began as hybrids - Yellow Pencil and Gong Bao. This will be my 3rd and 4th year growing them out and they have never shown any differences from their parent plants. I would have thought otherwise, but I'm glad.
Sometimes seeds labeled "hybrid" appear to breed true. While there may be hybrid traits which are not visual, I believe some varieties are labeled "hybrid" just to discourage seed saving. That proved to be the case for two bitter melon varieties I grow.
I'm still feeling tempted to plant some seeds for a variety called 'Rooster Spur'. It comes from Virgil T. Ainsworth of Laurel, Mississippi. It's been in his family for more than 100 years and I had terrific luck with it the last time I grew it, probably 3 years ago. You'd think that it wouldn't do well here considering its' origin, but it was an amazing variety and the first to mature. I already have so many of its' peppers in storage it seems silly to plant again already. But who am I kidding, I grow peppers for beauty as much as anything else!
It never ceases to surprise me, how well some vegetables from hot climates adapt to Northern locations. Several of my most successful cowpeas are from the Philippines, and an eggplant from there proved to be more disease resistant & tolerant of my cool climate than most commercial varieties. :hu

If it has already been 3 years since you last grew that pepper, you may indeed want to consider starting a few plants. Pepper seeds deteriorate more rapidly than tomatoes. I try to grow all of my vegetables in a 5-year rotation (which sometimes gets extended to 6-7 years) and lost two 5-year-old pepper varieties. :(
 

heirloomgal

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Sometimes seeds labeled "hybrid" appear to breed true. While there may be hybrid traits which are not visual, I believe some varieties are labeled "hybrid" just to discourage seed saving. That proved to be the case for two bitter melon varieties I grow.

It never ceases to surprise me, how well some vegetables from hot climates adapt to Northern locations. Several of my most successful cowpeas are from the Philippines, and an eggplant from there proved to be more disease resistant & tolerant of my cool climate than most commercial varieties. :hu

If it has already been 3 years since you last grew that pepper, you may indeed want to consider starting a few plants. Pepper seeds deteriorate more rapidly than tomatoes. I try to grow all of my vegetables in a 5-year rotation (which sometimes gets extended to 6-7 years) and lost two 5-year-old pepper varieties. :(
@Zeedman have you grown either 'Yellow Siam' or 'Ho Chi Min' hot peppers? I'm seeing these for the first time in a catalogue here and feeling like at least one of them might be worth trying.
 

Zeedman

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@Zeedman have you grown either 'Yellow Siam' or 'Ho Chi Min' hot peppers? I'm seeing these for the first time in a catalogue here and feeling like at least one of them might be worth trying.
I've never grown or observed those peppers; but reading their descriptions, both sound interesting. That "Ho Chi Min' hot peppers were grown in Minnesota means they will probably do OK in your climate. I'm not as comfortable with the description of 'Yellow Siam', which in one reference is quoted as both 2' tall, and 3' tall - in the same paragraph. For me, such mistakes cause me to question the reliability of the vendor... but fortunately there appear to be several sources.
 

ducks4you

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@heirloomgal , I burn a lot of candles, but they get to the bottom and won't burn anymore. I take cardboard egg cartons, fill them with pine shavings--some people use lint from the dryer--put the candle in the glass on an electric candle warmer to melt the rest, and create firestarters. I had about 10 used candles this Fall, so I cut a sheet of aluminum foil to put underneath the egg carton for any wax that leaks, then let it cool and put back into the candle jar I am melting, or Will melt soon.
Simply pour the melted wax on top of the shavings or lint. It dries pretty fast and you probably can use your fingers and tip the glass to pour the hot wax.
They are super easy to make, and you can store them ANYWHERE. You can pull off one or more of the 12 egg cups, and also use the lid, although I store them with the lid on. Light a match and watch it easily catch fire.
DH and 2 DD's are taking 2 of them on their CO vacation. The cabin they are renting has a wood supply and outdoor burn pit, but you still need to start kindling.
Compare with this:
I made 8 of them this Fall, and I DO use them to start the fires where I burn weeds in my firepit, and the social fires, too.
 
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heirloomgal

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Pepper seeds deteriorate more rapidly than tomatoes. I try to grow all of my vegetables in a 5-year rotation (which sometimes gets extended to 6-7 years) and lost two 5-year-old pepper varieties. :(
There must be some elusive aspects to pepper seed saving. 🤔 In the last two weeks I planted some Jalapenos and some Peters; the Jalapenos were the first pepper seeds I think I ever saved in 2016, the Peters I grew in 2019 or 2020. I think I did a much better job with the Peters than the jalapenos, if for no reason than I was a little more experienced. The jalapenos came up like gangbusters, with multiple sprouts for every seed I planted (though it looked like only 1 seed in each hole) while the Peters have given me MUCH more trouble and have not had fantastic germ. rates. The first pot sprouted only 1 of 4, so I planted a second pot and nothing has even germinated yet despite being on a heat mat and getting the whole treatment. It's strange. I've found pepper seeds very hit and miss, and can't account for why some remain very viable and others seem to fizzle - sometimes against reason. Even as far as commercial packets go, if something is going to give me trouble it's usually peppers. I wonder if during the domestication process certain peppers have 'built in compromise', like the 'domestication effect' of some beans that are prone to sprouting in-pod before drying down. Puzzling.

My bean & pea ordering is winding to an end. I saw a few more oddballs out there and couldn't resist. I would like to give Malawi green a try one of these days, if the Canadian seed market ever picks it up. I may have found one company, but the picture they post sure doesn't look like Malawi. I don't know if Malawi is a bit of a land race, this one seems to be.

These were the last bought ones, though I don't know if I'll get to growing them this year as I have so many others I want to try from trades and also some network beans. I wanted to snap them up since seed companies are evaporating at a pretty good rate, or are coming and going with more frequency, and listings in general seem to disappear overnight, especially peas and beans. So these are part of the new bean fam.

-Lillooet Snap Bean
-Royal City Cannery Snap (historical variety from BC they describe)
-Yer Fasulyasi Snap
-Jack in the Beanstalk pole


Being a green (when-ripe) tomato fan, when I saw a new (to me) variety last week, 'Mary's Pineapple', I had to get it too. We'll see how this one measures up to the glories of its' kind. There is a 'Speckled Zebra' bean offered too, but I can't find any info on it; it looks like a land race type. Lots of diverse beans to the mix with it, and they have no description assigned, at least not yet. Same with another one, 'Little Brown Zebra'. I may just get them anyway out of sheer curiosity. One vendor sent me a freebee packet of Ukrainian Comrades with an order, and I've always wanted to try that one, so that was a nice coincidence 😌
 
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Zeedman

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Same with another one, 'Little Brown Zebra'. I may just get them anyway out of sheer curiosity.
I wish I'd known you were interested in that one, I could have included it with the seeds I sent you. :( It is a bush dry bean, small-seeded but very prolific.
There must be some elusive aspects to pepper seed saving. 🤔 In the last two weeks I planted some Jalapenos and some Peters; the Jalapenos were the first pepper seeds I think I ever saved in 2016, the Peters I grew in 2019 or 2020. I think I did a much better job with the Peters than the jalapenos, if for no reason than I was a little more experienced. The jalapenos came up like gangbusters, with multiple sprouts for every seed I planted (though it looked like only 1 seed in each hole) while the Peters have given me MUCH more trouble and have not had fantastic germ. rates. The first pot sprouted only 1 of 4, so I planted a second pot and nothing has even germinated yet despite being on a heat mat and getting the whole treatment. It's strange. I've found pepper seeds very hit and miss, and can't account for why some remain very viable and others seem to fizzle - sometimes against reason. Even as far as commercial packets go, if something is going to give me trouble it's usually peppers. I wonder if during the domestication process certain peppers have 'built in compromise', like the 'domestication effect' of some beans that are prone to sprouting in-pod before drying down. Puzzling.
I've often wondered the same about peppers, whether in the process of selecting for taste, size, & color some of the vigor has been bred out. That especially seems true for sweet peppers in general, and bell peppers in particular. I track the germination on all my seeds each year, and hot pepper seeds consistently have better germination rates than sweets of the same age. These were the results this year:
Hot:
Bea, 2014, 100%
Beaver Dam, 2020, 100%
Korean Dark Green, 2015, 100%
New Orleans, 2014, 93%
Pizza, 2017, 100%
Sweet:
Amfora, 2016, 80% (and late)
Bacskia (crossing check) 2020, 92%
Cardinal Black, 2016, 93%
Greygo, 2020, 100%
Melrose, 2015, 79% (and late)

So even new sweet pepper seed shows some early germination failures; and deterioration progresses more rapidly. This is especially true if the peppers are not completely ripe when picked (like just before frost) and allowed to finish ripening indoors. Such seed will most likely be short lived... maybe only 2-3 years. That was the case for two of the peppers I lost, which were picked before they had completely changed color. I give all 'wet' seeds time to cure in-fruit before harvesting seeds, which usually allows the seeds to strengthen; but peppers seem less likely to improve than tomatoes or eggplant.

The
 

baymule

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I've waited nearly 40 days and no sign of life. Then FINALLY - lift off! These are 'Inca Red Berry' and 'KS Lemon Starrburst' peppers so I knew they might take some time given the heat they possess. Thank goodness I'm not 20 anymore, because I don't think I would have waited this long for 2 pots to sprout. lol My experiment with garden soil vs. some potting mix for starting seeds is over, and it seems the potting soil is superior. Not really a surprise I guess. There was a bit of dampening off in the garden soil and it is much more crusty when dry as well.
View attachment 46246

The others are about a month old. Little bit of yellowing just starting on a few leaves, time to give them some food. It's nice to have some seedlings to care for at this time of year. They should be a nice size by May, and I'm going to be pruning them really hard in the coming months in the hopes of some nice branching. Pepper seedlings are one of my favourites because they do so well indoors. The leaves stay a shiny bright green with fish emulsion (👃) and don't get scraggly with cutting. So far I'm doing pretty good with keeping a limit on how many plants I'm growing. 🙈
View attachment 46249

Made my first nut tart tonight. It was half pecans & half walnuts in a maple syrup filling. It was good, though a bit sweet; the aroma is incredible though. I found that the nut filling was a bit hard to cut through, the top of the filling that is. Is that how pecan pie is? A bit difficult to cut through? The filling was poured in a zero gluten crust - after 12 years going without any pastry (because there didn't seem to be any good alternatives) I've FINALLY found an excellent pastry crust. I'd say it's actually better than the wheat version. 🥰 It's so good I've made shortbread cookies out of it. 😋 Main ingredient is brown rice flour.
View attachment 46247View attachment 46248
Can I have your recipe for that crust? My DD can't have gluten. I bought a baking mix that was pretty good, but would like to try yours.
 

heirloomgal

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Can I have your recipe for that crust? My DD can't have gluten. I bought a baking mix that was pretty good, but would like to try yours.
Bob's Red Mill has a good pastry crust mix, it's pretty expensive here though. The homemade one is even better (and cheaper!). I bought all the ingredients at the bulk food store for really good prices.

Single Pastry Crust
1 cup brown rice flour
3 tbsp tapioca flour
1/3 cup potato starch
2 1/2 tbsp arrowroot
3 tsp any kind of liquid sweetener, maple syrup or corn syrup etc.
1/2 cup butter, if using unsalted butter add 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Throw it all in a food processor until it sticks together. If it isn't making a ball I add another tablespoon or more of butter 'til it sticks together. The recipe says to add a tbsp or so of water, but I never add water because it adds a little 'crisp' factor to the pastry that I don't like.

I made a few pies at Christmas and nobody noticed a difference! lol It has to be rolled out on parchment paper though, or it'll stick. I made coconut cream pie 2 days ago and had run out of parchment, so I just pressed the crust in by hand.
 

heirloomgal

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I wish I'd known you were interested in that one, I could have included it with the seeds I sent you. :( It is a bush dry bean, small-seeded but very prolific.

I've often wondered the same about peppers, whether in the process of selecting for taste, size, & color some of the vigor has been bred out. That especially seems true for sweet peppers in general, and bell peppers in particular. I track the germination on all my seeds each year, and hot pepper seeds consistently have better germination rates than sweets of the same age. These were the results this year:
Hot:
Bea, 2014, 100%
Beaver Dam, 2020, 100%
Korean Dark Green, 2015, 100%
New Orleans, 2014, 93%
Pizza, 2017, 100%
Sweet:
Amfora, 2016, 80% (and late)
Bacskia (crossing check) 2020, 92%
Cardinal Black, 2016, 93%
Greygo, 2020, 100%
Melrose, 2015, 79% (and late)

So even new sweet pepper seed shows some early germination failures; and deterioration progresses more rapidly. This is especially true if the peppers are not completely ripe when picked (like just before frost) and allowed to finish ripening indoors. Such seed will most likely be short lived... maybe only 2-3 years. That was the case for two of the peppers I lost, which were picked before they had completely changed color. I give all 'wet' seeds time to cure in-fruit before harvesting seeds, which usually allows the seeds to strengthen; but peppers seem less likely to improve than tomatoes or eggplant.

The
Aha, so we are onto something. One of the other experiences I've had with hot peppers, and sometimes tomatoes for that matter, is planting them, waiting forever for them to sprout, giving up, and planting something else in the pot a month or 2 later. In July, when the newly planted seeds have become plants, the old 'dead' seeds sprout! This has happened so many times. I wonder if sometimes pepper and tomato seeds go so dormant they are basically the equivalent of dead.

What do you use the Korean Dark Greens in?
 

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