Saving Tomato Seeds: Tomato Seeds

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Saving Tomato Seeds

By RossWindows
August 9, 2012

Saving tomato seeds is a perfect way to have great tasting tomatoes from year to year. This technique is basically fermentation and being a home-brewer, I just had to try it.

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Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
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blue23rose
Aug 8, 2012 6:41 PM CST
Interesting stuff. I will have to pass this along to my son-in-law. He likes to see what he can grow from the previous years seeds.

I have had rotten tomatoes lying on the ground and overwinter. Then in the spring I will get tomatoe plants from the rotten tomato.
Vickie
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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Aug 8, 2012 7:21 PM CST
I think the most important part is washing the seeds well.
I now wash all tomatoe seeds really well before trying to sprout them.
Sometimes a batch that won't germinate, will germinate after a good rinse in clean water.
Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
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bitbit
Aug 9, 2012 8:09 AM CST
Great tutorial!

I use a canning jar with a rim and some old fabric in place of the lid. Thumbs up
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Aug 9, 2012 8:41 AM CST
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Ross: Thanks so much for this great tip! It sounds so easy that I'm going to give it a try ... right now!
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Name: Jan
St. Pete,FL
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Budgielover
Aug 11, 2012 5:25 PM CST
I've done this for years with my tomato seeds. I think there is a much higher germination rate with this method, at least in my experience.
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Aug 11, 2012 5:46 PM CST
You're exactly right, Jan. I wouldn't think of saving certain seeds w/out fermenting them first.

I seldom see the need to add water to the seeds/pulp though unless you have a tomato that is unusually mealy or "meaty". Normally there is plenty of juice for proper fermentation to occur. And since this process is an anaerobic process you really don't need to punch holes in your jar/container covering. I sure do recommend covering your container with something though as it keeps out the gnats, flies, or other creatures.

As for the germination results, all the bad or non-viable seeds will float to the top along with the pulp and can be easily discarded (great in your compost, or if you have chickens they love it!). All the strong, viable seeds will sink to the bottom and those are the ones you want to save. I usually do several rinses till the water is clear then turn the jar over into a strainer, catching the viable seeds, drying off the water dripping off the bottom of the strainer, then flop it over onto a waxed paper plate. The seeds usually lay out perfectly that way. And you can write on the paper plate the name of the variety so you know for sure what it is.

Great info, Ross, well worth sharing and a very important seed-saving tip!

Shoe
Name: Jan
St. Pete,FL
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Budgielover
Aug 11, 2012 6:59 PM CST
I usually add just enough water to cover the pulp to prevent it from drying out. I am getting ready to prepare some Roma seeds right now.
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Aug 11, 2012 9:12 PM CST
I've had to add water in the past but seldom do anymore. It seems to me the tomato will ferment just fine. After all, just think how slimy a rotten tomato gets. Yuck! Blinking

Here's some of mine from this past week. None of these have had water added. I just smush them a bit with a wooden spoon to get some juices flowing.

Thumb of 2012-08-12/Horseshoe/3390e1

Roma tomatoes are pretty meaty though and I might add some water to them as well, mainly so the good seeds have a bit of liquid to release themselves into. Too much water added seems to slow down or reduce the amount of fermented goo that I'm looking for though.


Shoe

Name: Jan
St. Pete,FL
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Budgielover
Aug 12, 2012 5:33 AM CST
That's a lot of future maters Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Joseph
Delaware USA (Zone 7a)

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Gerris2
Aug 2, 2013 10:04 AM CST
How long do you ferment the seeds? When do you know when to do the rinse step?
Name: Jan
St. Pete,FL
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plumerias Dog Lover
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Budgielover
Aug 2, 2013 11:05 AM CST
Personally, I leave them until there is a nice layer of mold/fungus on top. I take the top layer off and clean and dry the seeds.

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Patti1957
Sep 24, 2013 11:09 AM CST
Gerris2 said:How long do you ferment the seeds? When do you know when to do the rinse step?


I wouldn't go longer than 4 or 5 days because they could start to sprout if left too long.


Name: Joseph
Delaware USA (Zone 7a)

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Gerris2
Sep 26, 2013 9:25 AM CST
Thanks everyone, I appreciate your advice very much!

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