So what can you do while it's under 20 degrees outside and you are stuck inside but still want to do something garden related? Extract seeds from ornamental peppers! That probably wasn't the first thing on your mind but it works for me! Extracting the seeds from these 'Black Pearl' ornamental peppers was one of those small items on my to-do list that I kept intending to do but just never got around to do it. (I moved my Black Pearl pepper plant indoors in a pot to overwinter for next year so I wasn't in a big hurry*.)
The other day I was looking in a catalog and saw the seeds for Black Pearl going for around $5 per pack. It didn't tell me how many seeds were in each pack but in other catalogs I've seen the seeds with at most 10 in each package. The seeds should come true but since I haven't raised it from seed before I can't claim to have verified that with my own eyes.
Extracting the seeds is easy but take caution because these peppers can be hot! In the past I've burned the skin on my fingers while trying to chop fresh cayenne peppers - I had no wish to replicate that experience! To extract the seeds I used a paring knife and a fork. I held the ripe red pepper** down with the fork and cut each pepper in half. Then I used the tip of the paring knife to scrape out the pepper seeds onto a plate. Easy and fast! the inside of each little cherry sized pepper is almost all seed.
Then I let them dry overnight. You can see how saving a few seeds can really aid your gardening budget. I didn't count the seeds but there could be from 75-100 that came from 7 Black Pearl peppers. Now if you divide that up into the package above then pay what the catalogs ask you come up with a $35-$50 price tag! (10 seeds per pack at $5 a pack) Saving seed is well worth the time to keep your favorite plants from year to year.
Did you save seed this fall?
* Peppers are perennials but are not cold hardy and may be overwintered indoors in pots like houseplants.
**Black Pearl Ornamental Peppers turn from an extremely dark purple to a red color when ripe.
Labels: seeds and seed starting, vegetables