Q: Hi Dave!
Love your site! We brought back a package of Pimiento de Padrón pepper seeds from Spain, planted them and had great success. We saved seeds from the best pods, planted them the next year, and the resulting peppers look nothing like the originals. The plant itself looks the same, but the peppers are long and skinny and curved, like a big cayenne or something, not the squatty little pods we expected. The flavor seemed similar, and the peppers were thin-walled—do you have any ideas what happened? Do we need to return to Spain for new seeds (happily)?
A: Hello Marlene:
Undoubtedly, when you planted the Spanish peppers, you grew other peppers in your garden as well. Insects cross-pollinated the plants, producing a classic F1 hybrid. Yes, you will need to get new seeds. To avoid this in the future, you will need to wrap one or two of the flowering branches in netting to prevent insects from bringing pollen to the flowers.–Dave