Why do seeds need to dry before planting? Or do they?

Billerica, MA(Zone 6a)

I just had this thought as I was collecting the seeds from a mature, semi-dry pepper I bought at a market recently. Since I'm hoping to start the seeds indoors soon anyway, why do they need to dry, just to get moist again after planting? Or do they need to dry in a case like this? Just a curious thought.

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

I don't know but I suspect that they might not have to be since peppers come from an area where they are perennial. If you plant some directly from the pepper let us know how they do.

Billerica, MA(Zone 6a)

Will do... thanks Doug.

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

Like Doug9345, I'm not so sure about pepper seeds because they come from a warm climate where it's OK for them to sprout any time.

Tomato seeds have a protective coating that keeps them from sprouting in the same season the tomato falls to the ground. That's so they won't start growing in the fall, only to get frozen when winter comes - and that's why the protective coating needs to be fermented off and the seeds dried for planting the next spring.

Pepper seeds don't have a gel coating, but I've always let peppers dry completely before crumbling them up to get the seeds. I'm guessing that needs to be done. If drying and re-moistening weren't needed to sprout the seeds, then why wouldn't they start growing inside a ripe pepper where they're already wet?

North Hills, CA

Pepper seeds don't need to dry out first.

In fact I've had seeds fresh from the pods sprout almost overnight when put in soil fresh out of the pod.

Drying is for saving seeds so they don't mold etc.
Fresh seeds are always better in my opinion.

Billerica, MA(Zone 6a)

How about that... and I was just using common sense with only the knowledge that they didn't need to be stratified.

Meanwhile, on the subject of tomato seeds, now that I know they need to be fermented (and why), as I've never dried them before, can someone explain the fermenting process please.

Every day I learn something new from this site. You'd never know I was born on a farm... Thanks everyone.

Quote from Ozark :
If drying and re-moistening weren't needed to sprout the seeds, then why wouldn't they start growing inside a ripe pepper where they're already wet?

My uneducated guess would be probably from a lack of oxygen, or some other element, because they're in a sealed enclosure?

North Hills, CA

Drop a pod on top of some potting soil.You'll get a lot of sprouts pretty soon.

Seeds in a pod on a plant are probably still getting something from the plant.If nothing else,some kind of chemical signal not to sprout yet because other seeds were still forming/ripening or whatever in the pod.

I think once a pod is off the plant the seeds germinate when conditions are right,in or out of the pod,dry or fresh.
I've opened some pods from the grocery store that had sprouted seeds in them.They were the older pods on sale...
I've had others tell me they couldn't get some seeds to sprout so the put a pod in some potting soil and ended up with a mini jungle in the pot.

Billerica, MA(Zone 6a)

Thanks smokemaster, interesting stuff. Should be common knowledge but doesn't seem to be. Makes me wonder how many other pod-type plants are out there which this would apply to. Anyway, it's on my "to do" list for tomorrow... will post on this thread when/if I get some results.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

The difference in the time to germinate is unbelievable. I started Tabasco and Chiltepin(which usually take forever) from seeds I collected last fall. They sprouted so fast I thought something was wrong. It has really given me insentive to save my own seed, one or two pods have more then enough seeds.

Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

You asked about fermenting tomatoes....there's a sticky thread at the top of that forum with lots of info.

It's incredibly easy. The needed equipment is a small container such as a yogurt cup and a small mesh sieve. Just squeeze or scrape the seeds into a clean container. You add water and let it sit out at room temps for 5 days. I end up filling my yogurt cups to about half full with the water and the seeds from a couple tomatoes. It gets a moldy looking scum on top which means it's working. Then you fill the cup, wait a few seconds and the good seeds will settle to the bottom. Pour off the trash, immature seeds, refill the cup and repeat until they appear clean. Then I place them on coffee filters to dry for several days. Some will clump together and you can just massage the coffee filter a bit to separate most of them. The whole procedure might take 5 minutes of your time and is well worth it.

Billerica, MA(Zone 6a)

Thanks twiggy... now that I have a good idea of the process, will do further research in the tomato forum. You say five minutes, huh? Does that take into account factors like DW's objections to the scummy looking thing on the counter?

Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

Lol. It does look disgusting and I sure wouldn't leave it laying around for company to see. Depending on your wife's sensibilities, you might want to hide your cups in a shed or something and tell her you saw a rat as big as a possum living in there. Surely they could then ferment undisturbed.

Ozark, MO(Zone 6a)

Fermenting the coating off tomato seeds is easy and kind of fun. I've been doing it for several years, ever since I read Carolyn's instructions posted in a "sticky" on the tomato forum.

Yes, do the fermenting outside in a shed, barn, or at least a garage. It stinks for a few days, and there's usually some gnats - but that's nature's way of breaking things down and keeping the world cleaned up.

When the fermenting's done, I do my rinsing of the seeds outdoors - all that's needed is a lawn chair and a garden hose with the water turned on low. I ferment seeds in plastic cups, and the rinsing is simply pouring off the gunk, adding clean water, swirling it around, and repeating until the seeds are clean. It's kinda like panning for gold - good seeds sink to the bottom, bad seeds and the stuff you want to get rid of don't.

Algonac, MI

I have always wondered as to why people think that one has to buy seeds every year. I used to be "one of those". This year definitely changed me.
Last year I planted too, too many tomato varieties: about 17. Well... there were so many tomatoes I couldn't give them away much less pick them all. So I let Mother Nature take care of them.
Winter came and it gets cold here in Algonac, MI, as well as, deep snow.a lot of the time. Come this past spring, I again planted a few toms and as the weather warmed, I noticed some tom plants sprouting in another part of my garden. I let them run and lo and behold several Cherokee Black toms ( cherry-size) and super sweet red cherry toms grew into very prolific producing plants. I now have too many toms to deal with again. Of course I do have help picking and taking the excess to small food pantrys this time. But I have learned a valuable lesson on gardening.
Thanks for reading!

Lowell the Lost Indian

Post a Reply to this Thread

You cannot post until you , sign up and subscribe. to post.