Or just maybe you suddenly realized how fast the Old Fashioned -Heirloom favorites are vanishing from the seed counter and even from the garden Catalogs. Some by accident and others, I fear, by design. Some say even ordinary vegetables are being genetically altered so they can be patented and "Owned" by hungry agricultural conglomerates - who would like to control all seeds. Even the ones the cottage gardener like you and I would plant. They want to make it Illegal to even save your own seeds as has happened with most varieties of field Corn and Soybeans. Is it really happening in the Cottage Garden? And to the independent Truck Farmer? I don't know. But it wouldn't hurt to save all the varieties of seeds you can before they vanish! Maybe we should have started a long time ago.
Here is everything you need to know to save all the Tomato Seeds you want. There are clearly 4 separate stages. Preparation. Fermentation. Drying and Preservation.
Tools and Materials You Will Need:
1. Find a nice specimen of the Tomato you want to save seeds from. This should be ripe - even a little over ripe wouldn't hurt! We want to be sure the seeds inside are mature.
4. Using the Fork and a plate, gently work the pulp and seeds down to a texture of juice and seeds. Do not press hard on seeds so as to damage them.
7. Using your fingers, gently rub the Gel through the screen as you run water through. Best use rubber gloves as the screen may abrade and scratch your fingers. Remember, some tomatoes are very acid. This plus scratching the tips of your fingers on the Tea Strainer is a recipe for sore fingers for several days.
Eventually most of the Gel will disappear down the drain and you will be able to pick out most clumps of remaining tomato pulp.
9. After a few minutes of rinsing and working, almost all the Gel is gone and most of the Pulp. Pick out as much Pulp as possible with your fingers and commence to the Fermenting Stage.
1. Turn the tea strainer with its seeds over on top of a plate. Tap out all the seeds into the plate. Set aside while we prepare the fermentation bottle.
2. Using a small funnel, work the seeds out of the plate and into the fermentation bottle made from the juice bottle. When all the seeds are in, add water to about 2/3rds full.
If you have the cap for the bottle, carefully drill a 1/4 to 3/8" hole through the top. For safety sake, drill from the inside of the cap out slowly and carefully. With a piece of sandpaper smooth out the hole. You now have a fermentation bottle with a Cap which will look like this.
4. With the seeds in the bottle of water and the cap on, set them in a warm place for the left over Pulp and Gel on and around the seeds to ferment. You may see a little foam or the water clouding up. This means the seed is shedding fermented Pulp and Gel. A good sign.
5. Gently shake the bottle a couple of times once a day. After a few days, dump the original water out, add new and set the seeds up on the shelf to continue the fermentation process that will continue to clean the seeds.6. Continue this process for about a week. Dump out the old water and rinse the seeds still in the bottle thoroughly. Dump the seeds and water back into the sieve . Shake and knock out as much water as you can. Again turn the sieve over as you did before and knock them out into a plate with a coffee filter in it. Now begins the -
1. Be sure to label the Drying Plate with the Date, The Name and Possibly the source of the original plant.
2. Set the plate in a warm dry place for the seeds to dry thoroughly. I use a library shelf. Stir the seeds at least once a day. If seeds are clumping together, gently break them apart. The seeds should never be over one layer. Never laying on top of one another. 2 or 3 weeks should be more than sufficient to dry them thoroughly.
3. Pour them into a dry container. I use old pill bottles that have been cleaned out. Or some people go to the hobby store and get change envelopes. In a pinch, you could use a small mailing envelope.
4. Again, Label the seed container with the type of seeds - Tomato - The Variety, and the dated prepared. I also sometimes add the source of the doner tomato. Have Fun!
If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the comment section. I answer all comments.
Thanks for stopping by!
Copyright Robert Mader 2009
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