Hot Pepper Seeds are what we do. Although our main focus is fresh peppers, we would have no fresh hot peppers without hot pepper seeds. We have been seed savers and traders for about a decade. With each generation of seed, we select only the best examples of a plant grown in relative isolation and away from potential cross pollinators.
We do not buy wholesale pepper seeds and sell retail pepper seeds. If we offer seeds for sale, we grew them right here in our organic gardens. To prevent cross pollination, we practice the seed saving techniques found in our favorite book on the subject: Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth.
The benefit to buying pepper seeds from Peppers by Mail is that by hand selecting each pepper that is used for our seed stock, we can provide a better quality seed than those which have been mechanically picked. Additional benefits can be found in the quality of our stock’s dna. Because we grow from our own seed saving program, we can improve with each generation. The down side is we can not offer the variety that the big seed companies do. Additionally, when we are out of stock for a season we are out of stock for that season.
Isolation and Pepper Seeds
Because peppers are open pollinating plants, isolation is essential to produce quality seeds and to prevent unintentional cross breeds. Unfortunately, the fad status of super hot peppers and the allure of seemingly easy money has caused some good meaning people to enter the business with little knowledge of traditional seed saving techniques. We feel this has probably contributed greatly to the number of unknown F1 variants which seem to be popping up all over the place.
After years of trial and error, we have created a system which allows us to select the most vigorous plants to isolate. Once those plants begin setting pods, we choose which ones offer the best example of the individual cultivar. It is from those cultivars that we save our seeds. In the following season, we again grow from the seeds we have produced, thus improving our line year after year.
Age and Pepper Seeds
Despite some claims, the viability of seeds decreases with age. While a couple years might not make much of a difference, because age generally reduces viability we do not sell seeds other than those harvested the current or previous year.