cityGarden
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Cali wonder heriloom pepper...this year seeds vs last

Hey guys new here but not new to forums in general.

Last year I bought some California Wonder heirloom bell pepper seeds. I ended up keeping right around 6 plants. I love bell peppers and they are one of my favorite things to grow (peppers in general).

Out of the 6 plants none of them were exactly the same. Some grew skinner longer fruits and some grew fatter more typical bell shaped fruits. One plant however grew the nicest fruits and was the most prolific of all. I ended up collecting seeds from this one plant.

I still had some of the original seeds so I planted some of them as well as my seeds I collected last year. They both germinated at the exact time.

Fast forward to today and the plants are around 3-4 weeks old. The cool thing is my plants from the collected seeds are twice as far along. They are twice as tall and have twice as many leafs. All plants have received the same amount of light/water.

I'm wondering what the reason is for this extra growth.

Would you say it is from my seeds being fresh and the original seeds being older?

The odd thing was the older seeds had a better germination rate then my collected seeds. The older seeds germinated at about 90% and my seeds were closer to 50%.

Why would this be?

Could it be possible that since I took seeds from the strongest plant last year then my new plants will also be really strong?

Any input appreciated.

PaulF
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Re: Cali wonder heriloom pepper...this year seeds vs last

Good observations and a cool experiment. I am really not an expert, but know enough to make some observations. Yes, your fresh seeds probably are doing better because pepper seeds age more quickly than say, tomato seeds. My guess at the germination rate is the method used to save your fresh seed may have caused a lower germination. That observation is a little suspect on my part. Plant strength should be transferred to this years plant as a trait. Fruit shape should also be passed on unless you had some cross pollination from some other plant.

Why you had such a variety in fruit shapes last year is a puzzle. If the seeds came from a reputable seed seller that should not happen, but you did the right thing in choosing the size and shape you wanted to grow. Peppers are renowned cross pollinators and it is very difficult to get identical plants unless you bagged the plant you wanted to replicate. I don't know the expected % of identical reproduction from unbagged plants.

You are doing what I think is the fun part of gardening. Let us know what happens.
Paul F

cityGarden
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Re: Cali wonder heriloom pepper...this year seeds vs last

Thank you for your reply.

The funny thing was I bought these while standing in line at a home improvement/garden center store. I still have the packet. The brand is ferry-morse. They say packed for 2013 season.

I thought the plants would be more uniformed as well which made me think the seed might be of lesser quality but I was very happy with the production and flavor of the pepper so its a keeper.

As far as how I collected the seeds last year. I let two peppers stay on the best plant past when they were ready to be picked. Then I cut it open and took out the seeds. I cleaned them with a paper towel and then just let them sit on another paper towel until I was ready to use them.

I know that's probably not ideal and would love to know what could of been done differently for saving the seeds.

I also agree that this is a lot of fun. I will update when they start producing.

PaulF
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Re: Cali wonder heriloom pepper...this year seeds vs last

To save pepper seeds, the only question I would have is: how long were the saved seeds sitting out in the air before you replanted? The seeds need to be dried thoroughly like you did, making sure to turn them over a time or two to be sure the whole seed is dry. After they dried, put them in a container like a glass vial or small jar or an air tight container and put them in a cool, dry location. Moisture (like humidity) will cause the seeds to become less vital and prone to disease. That may have been the germination problem.

I have no clue about Ferry-Morse quality control. They sell a lot of seeds and sell cheap. May have been a bad batch from whoever they contracted with to provide seeds.
Paul F

cityGarden
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Re: Cali wonder heriloom pepper...this year seeds vs last

Ok that was my problem. They were in a cool place away from light but I didn't have them in anything airtight. They were just sitting on a napkin. I'll definitely put them in a better container next year. Thanks for the tip.

I bought the seeds as a last minute "hey why not" and they were cheap but I was very impressed with the plants last year. Will see how mine turn out this year. Hopefully they will be as prolific as last year. Also hoping I don't get the long skinny pepper variation. Those tasted good but were a pain to stuff. The plant I collected seeds from had the perfect size/shape to stuff and they were delicious.

Thanks again.

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