Seed Sense: After Market Seeds

by Ken Greene

We get some pretty seedy questions through the contact form on so we've decided to start sharing some of our answers with everyone. Feel free to add your two cents.

Pepper seeds. Pepper seeds.

Question from Cheryl:

We bought a couple of the jimmy nardello sweet pepper plants at a farmers market in Detroit this summer.  We loved the peppers very much.   I kept the seeds from inside them after they were ripe and dried them out.  Will these reproduce for me when I plant them in the spring?
If not,  I hope I can buy some seeds from you.
Thanks Cheryl

Answer from Ken:
Cheryl,We love the Jimmy Nardello peppers as well!

Your seeds are what we call "after market" seeds: seeds that people saved from veggies they bought at thier farmer's market or grocery store.

It's hard to say if your seeds will breed true. Peppers, as well as many other fruiting plants like squash, eggplant, and cucumbers, need to be isolated from other varieties--otherwise they can easily cross pollinate. Most farmers who grow for markets are growing multiple varieties in close quarters. It's worth giving it a try, planting your seeds, and seeing what you get. You might get some new hybrid or you may get something close to a J-nardo Pepper. But if you want to be sure you are growing Jimmy Nardellos you need to save seed from pepper plants that have been isolated from cross-pollinating. One more tip: heat in peppers is dominant. So, if peppers do cross it's more likely they will go hot than stay sweet. So look before you leap (or nibble before you bite)!

Stay seedy,

Doug peeking in to check on isolated peppers. Doug peeking in to check on isolated peppers.