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isolation for pepper plants

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isolation for pepper plants

Post  retired member 2 on 4/12/2011, 1:44 pm

I grow several different peppers and I understand they will cross pollinate. Is that correct? I have an idea for making isolation cages using the smaller tomato cages and making a sleeve from wedding tulle. I am going to use the cage upside down anchored with earth stapels. Then I can slip on the tulle "sock" and tie it off at the top. Then when I need to hand pollinate, I can just untie the top of the sock, do my business, and then re-tie. How does this sound?

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Re: isolation for pepper plants

Post  camprn on 4/12/2011, 2:06 pm

It sounds like a good plan. Let us know how it works!
(psssst: photos please) Wink
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Re: isolation for pepper plants

Post  acara on 4/12/2011, 2:24 pm

Are you planning on saving your seed from this generation to replant next year?
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Re: isolation for pepper plants

Post  ashort on 4/12/2011, 2:37 pm

I am confused by all the talk of keeping peppers separate - isn't the plant that is growing the fruit dictating the genetics of the fruit - it would seem to me that the pollen from the other plant would affect that seeds for future plantings, but not the fruit of the current plant.
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Re: isolation for pepper plants

Post  staf74 on 4/12/2011, 2:49 pm

Acara was probably about to jump on that too ashort. Yes, it really is only a matter of seeds for the following season. One of my beds has just been planted with 10 pepper squares. Not saving the seed so no need to worry about isolation. My neighbor grows peppers too though, so it would be very hard if not impossible, to control the genetics even if I wanted to.
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Re: isolation for pepper plants

Post  acara on 4/12/2011, 2:50 pm

Yes, crosspolination has no effect on parent generation.

Some peppers will NCP on successive generations, but unless your an SSE or using your seed to grow next years crop, it's generally not a concern.
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Re: isolation for pepper plants

Post  acara on 4/12/2011, 2:55 pm

LOL ....

This comes around every couple of months on gardening forums ... insert "your plant name" here.

I hate seeing folks going through all the work of using an isolation technique, for fear of breeding man-eating abominations in their garden.

You scotch-bonnet hot peppers will not make you bell papers taste spicy in this years planting Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy .....

Honestly, I really wish cross-pollenation of plants was as easy as they make it sound on the internet gardening forums. From someone whose tried it ..... it's not exactly the easiest thing to pull off.

I think the best current research/studies out there only managed to pull it off with a 45% occurance in the first generation of offspring ..... and that was sticking the parent plant in a commercial grove of a completely different variety.

However, if you participate in conservatory group, preservation group, sell your seed or use it for sucessive plantings, then this is a huge concern. So some folks have cause to follow ISO guidelines.


Last edited by acara on 4/12/2011, 3:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: isolation for pepper plants

Post  staf74 on 4/12/2011, 3:04 pm

for fear of breeding man-eating abominations in their garden.



LMAO - Something like this perhaps?



Beware - This is a cross between a bell pepper and a yellow sweet banana pepper Wink


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Re: isolation for pepper plants

Post  acara on 4/12/2011, 3:14 pm

AHHHHH ... run for your life !!! LOL

All kidding aside .... I can't tell you the number of tomato peeps I've known who spent unknown hours and $$$$, trying to make sure their tomatos didn't produce something other than they wanted.

I actually was helping a guy change out his isolation cages and replant (think 10' tall towers that look like space-age teleporters..... not cheap). Then I watched him open a packet of seeds and start planting forthe next season....... I didn't have the heart to ask him ow many seasons he had been doing it
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Re: isolation for pepper plants

Post  retired member 2 on 4/12/2011, 3:21 pm

So are y'all saying I don't need to worry about it? I would like to try and save seeds for next year, so should I use the cages or just forget about it?

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Re: isolation for pepper plants

Post  staf74 on 4/12/2011, 3:38 pm

Its up to you but like Acara says, this is much more of a process than you might think. You might literally have to create an airtight vacuum during pollination to be sure you have not contaminated your stock. This is just something I'm not willing to undertake personally. I love transplants and even Mel suggests doing this for peppers as they take something like 19 weeks from seed to harvest. So unless you are going to be able to rear them inside for a good while before your last frost date, its just not worth it IMO. Seed saving is a valuable and noble trade for sure but with peppers you are really picking a doozie ! I saved my Basil seeds from last year and are just sprouting them now. Easily done. Seeds are cheap. If you want to rear seeds then simply buy some and begin like that first but you are going to pay more money in attempting to buy the materials necessary to manipulate the pollination process this summer and then, at best, you may only have questionable results.

Just sayin Very Happy and certainly don't want to insult or offend your creative license here. I have no idea how much experience or drive you have to create that perfect pepper.
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Re: isolation for pepper plants

Post  acara on 4/12/2011, 3:59 pm

The wonderful thing about gardening is that it's YOUR hobby, and your god-given right to do it however you choose.

We're just trying to save you some time and/or cash, if your simply going to grow from purchased seeds or transplants next season.

Isolation in an outdoor atmosphere isn't easy and sometimes not cheap. some of the isolation meshes (which vary by the pollen particle size of the plant species) can run as "cheap" as $5.00/SF, to almost $50/sf for some of the smaller meshes (price varies by absolute/nominal filter rating of the mesh). Then there is the sterile/aseptic technique, sanitized/seggregated tools, etc.

Distance isolation is another option, but your at the whim of insects, wind, neighbors ...... and the "safe distance" varies with every book/paper I've ever read.
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Re: isolation for pepper plants

Post  ashort on 4/12/2011, 4:13 pm

clb58 wrote:So are y'all saying I don't need to worry about it? I would like to try and save seeds for next year, so should I use the cages or just forget about it?

If it makes you happy, then by all means do it. I am lazy at heart though...

On a similar topic - can you use the seeds from the bell peppers you buy at the store?
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Re: isolation for pepper plants

Post  killjug on 4/12/2011, 4:51 pm

The bell peppers at the store are probibly hybreds and will not have the exact characteristics like color like if it was yellow or orange, but they will grow a plant that makes bell peppers. Things like higher yeilds and fast growth are usually bred into the second or F1 generation.

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Re: isolation for pepper plants

Post  busygirl on 6/11/2011, 1:43 pm

clb58 wrote:So are y'all saying I don't need to worry about it? I would like to try and save seeds for next year, so should I use the cages or just forget about it?

IMO, if you want to save seeds, you should isolate just to be sure you know what you are getting the next year. HOWEVER, depending on the size of your garden, you don't need to isolate every plant, or even an entire plant. Think about how many seeds are in a pepper, or eggplant, or tomato, or squash. I generally isolate the blossom cluster on one BRANCH, or sometimes even one BUD before the blossom opens. When the flowers open, I hand-pollinate then replace the cover until the fruit sets. Once the fruit is set, I remove the cover and mark the branch with surveyors tape or string to identify which fruit(s) I intend to save for seed.

Tulle works great for insects, but I am not sure it would be fine enough
to stop pollen. I have used muslin cloth and a cut-up row cover with
pretty good success . (I am only doing this for myself, so don't
keep germination stats but usually end up giving away plants when I start seeds the next year).

It is a fairly simple, low cost way to do things if you are only experimenting for your own satisfaction.
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Re: isolation for pepper plants

Post  quiltbea on 6/11/2011, 5:53 pm

I've read up on this a lot and since I want to save seeds for tomatoes and peppers for our community gardeners next year and years after, I am making the effort to breed true.

Tomatoes and peppers are among the few crops that are self-pollinating but to be sure a helpful insect doesn't get into the middle of the flower and cross-pollinate, the best way to achieve this is to make isolation bags.

You can segregate them by keeping them several feet from another variety but that, too, is chancy.
The only way to assure your toms and peps don't cross, is to isolate them. I've done lots of research on the subject this year.

You can't do this with a Hybrid , only open-pollinated varieties.

You don't need elaborate cages or hundreds of feet sepatation, just isolation bags.

Make a net bag with a drawstring (tulle or netting is good). When the very first stirrings of a blossom appears on the plant, bag it. You want to keep insects from cross-pollinating. Whenever you are passing, give the plant a tap so the pollen can do its job. Keep the bag on the blossoms until a green fruit appears on one or two of them. Then you can remove the bag and allow the tomato or pepper to grow normally.

Here's my Harvest Luck tomato with its bag put on yesterday when a blossom was forming. So far I've bagged 3 tomato plants.

Just be sure you somehow mark that tiny green tomato and the other tomatoes, if any, that were protected within the bag, with a piece of fabric or yarn so that you know which ones from which you will save seed for next year.

When it comes to saving tomato seed after harvest, that is subject for another time.

Edited to add: You do the same thing for open-pollinated peppers when you want to save their seeds.


Last edited by quiltbea on 6/11/2011, 5:54 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : See Edited to add:)
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