Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds

Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds is very easy and profitable.

Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds
Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds is easy

Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds sounds great, who could argue with growing your own heirloom tomato seeds instead of buying them? But when you take a look at what’s involved with saving seeds from squash and corn seeds you may start seeing the beauty of buying them. Even easy seeds like beans and lettuce require some forethought. Do your spring planting with fall seed harvest in mind. But saving tomato seeds is easy. Not only can beginning gardeners do it, people who don’t even have a garden can do it. Think business. At 5 cents a seed the profit adds up fast. The best tomatoes to eat are also the best source of seed. To know the difference between GMO, Hybrid and Heirloom read this.

The only thing to remember is that Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds means a tomato that is not a hybrid. We should all be very grateful that tomato names are now in style. Instead of “tomatoes,” pure and simple, the farmer and increasingly the restaurant offers let’s say Brandywines, Jetstars, Aunt Marie’s Marvels and who knows what-all. There are hundreds of possibilities. Doesn’t matter. As long as you know the name you can Google the name “XYZ seed”. If it’s a hybrid that seed can’t be saved, “hybrid” will be part of the description.

To begin, with any process in which you want to preserve the best qualities and traits, look for the best example of the fruit or vegetable that you want to preserve. It may feel like a sacrifice, to have to cut up the biggest and best Heirloom tomatoes in the garden, but you’ll reap the rewards for years to come. With this method one is only removing the center so the whole tomato isn’t sacrificed.

Hybrid Tomato
This looks like a hybrid not very many seeds

Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds

This Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds process is a process of fermentation. Don’t worry the A.T.F. will not becoming to the door. No still is needed unless you want one. But than we would be talking about a different process.

Select the seeds from an Heirloom Tomato that has a flavor that you love. If you’re a home gardener and saving seeds from tomatoes that are growing in your garden choose tomatoes from the very healthiest looking plants. Choose perfect, dead ripe tomatoes. The better they are of their kind, the better your chances of repeating their greatness. The riper the fruit, the more ripened the seed it will contain.

Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds
Cutting your Heirloom Tomato

Once you’ve selected the best of the best, cut the tomato lengthwise or across the equator. Which ever allows you to expose as many seeds as possible. Squeeze, or better yet spoon the seeds, gel and juice out into a small container, glass or plastic which ever you prefer. No need to separate the seeds just yet.

Add enough water to the container to make soup out of the seeds and gel. Usually just cover the gel and seeds with about an inch of water.  The water will help to separate the seeds from the remnants of the tomato interior. If doing a number of different varieties at the same time now would be the time to label the containers.  Loosely cover the jar with cheesecloth, a piece of paper towel, or use plastic wrap but be sure to punch some holes in it, so air can get through. Fresh air needs to get in and out of the container to help foster fermentation.

Put the container someplace warm (not hot), out of the sun, a place where odd smells won’t be noticed. On the top of the refrigerator is an excellent site to place the container of seeds. Now Mother Nature will take over and begins to ferment the seed and water mixture.

Allow time for mold to grow. The mold is necessary for the seeds. The mold is an important part of the process, as it dissolves the gel coating from the seeds. This process which will take anywhere from three to five days, depending on the time of year and the temperature at which you keep your home. The top of the liquid will look “scummy” when the fermentation process has separated the “goo” from the seeds during which the jar contents will bubble. It also helps destroy many of the possible tomato diseases that can be harbored by seeds.

Many garden bloggers say they don’t bother to ferment tomato seeds and it isn’t absolutely essential, and this is true, as we had a number of volunteer tomato plants germinate this year in our garden beds from fallen tomatoes. But it does 3 important things:

It separates the floaters from the sinkers. The floaters will not germinate so there is no reason to keep them. It removes the germination inhibitor that keeps the seeds from sprouting inside the tomato. And last but not least, it gets rid of many seed-borne diseases as stated above.

Now that the process is complete. Carefully pour off the smelly water and debris from the top. So  all that is left are the good seeds. Then, fill the jar with cool or room temperature water and gently swish the seeds around to wash them. Then put the seeds in a strainer and rinse under running water.

Tomato Seeds
Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds for Seed Money

Place these seeds on to a paper plate or paper towel, this will help wick excess moisture from the seeds as they dry. The idea is to allow the seeds to dry fast, so that no mold grows on them.

Place your dried seeds into a labeled baggies or envelopes and keep in a cool, dry place. Don’t forget to label them. I tend to keep mine in our refrigerator, but they can also be stored on the lower shelf of a root cellar. If you want to keep them for years. If you choose to store your seeds in plastic the seeds must be BONE DRY, otherwise any moisture in the seeds will be transferred to all seeds inside the plastic packet, it will foster mildew and rotting and the seeds will be ruined.

Tomato Seed
Aren’t they cute. Remember Sinkers not floaters

Presto! You saved your fabulous Heirloom Tomato Seeds for next year. With the way things are going Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds may be the next form of seed money!

Knowledge is Power

Take your Power Back

CJC

Winky, thumbs up to you
Color me red and call me a Tomato.

The next form of money. (Seeds) Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds is very easy and profitable.

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