Learning how to save bell pepper seeds is an easy and worthwhile activity, both from an educational perspective and for the budget conscious gardener.
Bell peppers are such a versatile vegetable: they're equally perfect in salads and hot dishes, and are particularly delicious for snacking on. And because a single bell pepper can yield over a hundred seeds, there's ample chance to grow your own pepper plants too.
If you're after fresh kitchen garden ideas for less, we highly recommend learning how to complete this simple task.
How to save bell pepper seeds in a few simple steps
Whether this is your first time growing vegetables from scraps or not, saving bell pepper seeds will be made much easier with these tips.
1. Remove the seeds from your bell pepper
Choose your intended bell pepper carefully: a ripe plant with a good flavor is your best bet. 'The plants from which you collect seed must be healthy and vigorous,' says the RHS. 'This will help ensure good quality seedlings and plants.'
Carefully cut open your bell pepper with a clean knife. Scoop out the seeds from the flesh of the bell pepper, either with your finger or a small spoon.
There are plenty of seeds in a bell pepper – often more than a hundred. You only want to keep the golden yellow colored seeds. White seeds aren't yet ready for preserving, and any dark or damaged seeds can be discarded.
2. Dry the bell pepper seeds
Lay out your collected seeds on a plate or piece of kitchen towel to dry off, preferably in a warm spot that's not in direct sunlight. Leave them here for five to six days. Keeping each seed separate from the next allows them to dry evenly, as does flipping the seeds every day or so.
You can test for their dryness every couple of days by picking up a seed and attempting to bend it. When a seed is brittle enough to snap or crack easily, it's ready to be stored away.
3. Store the seeds until you're ready to plant
Place your dried bell pepper seeds in a paper envelope or paper bag (or a plastic food bag if you don't have paper bags), and store them in a cool, dark spot away from sunlight.
If stored continuously somewhere cool and dry, harvested bell pepper seeds should stay viable for around 3 to 5 years. It's a good idea to label the date you've saved your seeds to keep track!
Planting bell pepper seeds
To get ready for planting, you first need to germinate your pepper seeds. Place them on one half of a damp paper towel and fold the other half over them to cover. Place this inside a ziploc bag to help retain moisture, and in a few days you'll see the seeds beginning to sprout. That means they're ready for transplanting into some starting soil.
While it's not necessary to soak them, a bit of water can help soften the seeds, which in turn makes it easier for them to germinate.
You could also try to save tomato seeds and grow them in your garden too!
Freelance writer and author Flora Baker is a keen amateur gardener and houseplant enthusiast. Her small garden in South London is a constant work in progress as she gets to grips with snail prevention, DIY trellises and what to plant in shady spots overrun with ivy.
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