Mary's Veggie Garden

April 24, 2017

Pepper Seed Test

Filed under: Peppers,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 8:05 pm
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When I inventoried my seeds last winter I discovered that I had plenty of seed for three of my favorite varieties. However the seeds were purchased for planting in 2015. They were 3 years old and most sources say that pepper seed is viable for only 2 years.

I decided to test this old seed, noting the germination rate and plant vigor. My old seed would be compared to two ‘new to me’ varieties  purchased this year, and to seed from last year.

I also had a backup plan  if none of the old seed grew – two of the varieties are available locally as transplants.

Pepper varieties  tested:

  • Carmen – Italian “bull’s horn” (corno di toro) type, Johnnys Selected Seeds (JSS) 2015.
  • Highlander – a mild Anaheim type pepper, JSS 2015.
  • Intruder – produces large blocky bell peppers. Plants have resistance to several diseases present in the community gardens. JSS 2015
  • Escamillo – similar to Carmen, but ripens to golden-yellow. JSS 2016
  • Felicity – a heatless jalapeño, Territorial Seeds 2017
  • X3R Red Knight – another bell pepper with good disease resistance. JSS 2017

I’ve been growing my own transplants for decades. I know that two-year old pepper seed takes several days longer to germinate than fresh seed. For this test I decided to stagger the planting times to compensate for the slower germination of the old seed. My goal was to have similarly sized transplants at planting time.  The 2015 seed was planted 3/25, the 2016 seed was started a week later on 4/1, and the new seeds were sown 4/7.

Results

My three-year old pepper seed did germinate, at rates ranging form 58% to 82%. The number of strong plants (as a % of the number of seeds sown) was considerably lower at  33%-73%. However I planted enough seeds that even a low percentage resulted in plenty of usable plants.

Variety Purchased for: Planting date # seeds planted Days to germinate # Seeds germinated Germination percent # Strong plants % Strong plants
Carmen

2015

3/25/17

19

16-19

12

63%

7

37%

Highlander

2015

3/25/17

11

15-18

9

82%

8

73%

Intruder

2015

3/25/17

12

18-20

7

58%

4

33%

Escamillo

2016

4/7/17

8

6

75%

6

75%

Felicity

2017

4/7/17

4

10-11

4

100%

4

100%

X3RRed Knight

2017

4/7/17

4

10-11

4

100%

3

75%

4/10 – Highlander, Intruder and Carmen are germinating. All were planted 3/25.

4/23 Highlander, Intruder and Carmen. Some plants are stronger, some are clearly less vigorous.

4/23 Red Knight, Felicity and Escamillo

October 28, 2013

10/28/2013 Half a Ton and Still Harvesting

Filed under: Peppers,Squash,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 1:37 pm
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With the forecast predicting overnight temperatures at or near freezing every night last week, I harvested the remaining summer crops: 10 pounds of peppers and the last winter squashes. My remaining tomatoes, all in my home garden, are protected by too many trees so I left green tomatoes on the plants and crossed my fingers. 10/29 frost hit the community gardens, killing the few remaining tomatoes and peppers. At home my neighbor’s lawn has twice showed frost, but my tomato plants are still alive. it is probably their last day: tonight’s forecast is for 27.

Peppers & tomatoes ripening inside.

Peppers & tomatoes ripening inside.

I chopped & froze loads of green peppers. Any peppers showing a bit of red went into the colander to continue ripening. It is necessary to keep an eye on the ripening peppers – they seem to go from firm to soft overnight.

The last and second largest Tetsukabuto squash at 5.25 pounds.

The last and second largest Tetsukabuto squash at 5.25 pounds.

This Tetsukabuto growing on the garden gate was an autumn surprise. It set in late September and it was the only one of the late squashes to get big.

I finally tallied up the winter squashes and added them to the total.

Squash tally - still done the old fashioned way, with paper & pencil

Squash tally – still done the old-fashioned way, with paper & pencil

The squashes are in the basement where they will be happy all winter or until chosen for dinner.

Butternuts and Tetsukabuto squashes stored in the basement

Butternuts and Tetsukabuto squashes stored in the basement

My current garden total is 1021 pounds. To me the most amazing part is that about 3/4 of that total was grown at the community gardens and transported home in my bicycle packs. Only the watermelons, weighing about 15 pounds each, traveled home in the car.

What’s left? Soon I’ll start harvesting carrots for winter storage, and celeriac, both in my community garden plot. At home there are leeks and parsnips. Plus those green tomatoes which should be harvested right now.

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