A Seed Breeder’s Journey to Goldrush Golden Eclat
Keith Goldfarb of Steuben, ME, was part of the original Maine Seed Saving Network, which is to say he’s been doing this for quite some time. A self-reliant homesteader who likes to do things for himself—electrical work, plumbing, carpentry—Keith gets satisfaction from creative endeavors and views seed saving through this lens. “In light of the fickle seed trade,” he likes to save seed for what does well in his area.
Two decades ago, even before Fedco dropped Fat ’n Sassy pepper when Seminis was bought out by Monsanto, Keith had taken it upon himself to select this hybrid into an open-pollinated option.
“The first year out, it looked just like the hybrid,” he said. A little-known secret in the seed trade: sometimes the two parent lines of a hybrid are close enough to be virtually identical. Since the company is technically crossing two parent lines, the result can be called a hybrid, which discourages people from saving seed. (In other cases, like Roberta Bailey’s work on dehybridizing the Super Chili hot pepper, it can take many years of painstaking work to untangle all the genetic lines.)
The original Fat ’n Sassy ripened from green to red, but Keith soon observed that some of the crop threw out a yellow variation, which he began saving separately. The results are two excellent new open-pollinated varieties: Goldrush Golden Eclat and Red Con Brio, which we plan to introduce next year. Thanks, Keith!
Sweet Bell Peppers
About 110–175 seeds/g.
Days to full-color maturity are from transplanting date.
Capsicum comes from the Greek kapto which means ‘bite.’
Culture: Start indoors in March or April. Minimum germination soil temperature 60°, optimal range 68-95°. Set out in June. Very tender, will not tolerate frost, dislike wind, will not set fruit in cold or extremely hot temperatures or in drought conditions. Black plastic highly recommended. Row cover improves fruit set in windy spots. Pick first green peppers when they reach full size to increase total yield significantly. Green peppers, though edible, are not ripe. Peppers ripen to red, yellow, orange, etc.
Saving Seed: Saving pepper seed is easy! Remove core of the fully ripe pepper (usually red or orange) and dry on a coffee filter. When dry, rake seeds off the core with a butter knife. To ensure true-to-type seed, grow open- pollinated varieties and separate by 30 feet. Use only the first fruits for seed; allow only 3–4 fruits per plant to grow and remove all others. Fewer fruits = larger seeds = greater seed viability. Later fruits often have germination rates of only 60%.
- BLS: Bacterial Leaf Spot
- CMV: Cucumber Mosaic Virus
- TMV: Tobacco Mosaic Virus
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.