Vegetables and Fruit forum: Harvesting tomato seeds question please?

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Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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pod
Jul 5, 2014 9:13 PM CST
I have finally found a tomato that seems to like our heat and delivers tasty tomatoes in large volume. Five plants have already generated over 100 tomatoes and are still loaded with green ones. They appear to still be setting tomatoes in the heat.

It is either a good year for tomatoes or I have hit the east Texas tomato lottery.

I want to save seed and trial it for another year before I become ecstatic.

I understand how to ferment and dry the seeds.

My question is does the tomato have to ripen on the vine before the seeds are harvested? Thank You!
Thumb of 2014-07-06/pod/3394ae


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Name: Claud
Water Valley, Ms (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member
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saltmarsh
Jul 5, 2014 10:09 PM CST
[quote="pod"]I have finally found a tomato that seems to like our heat and delivers tasty tomatoes in large volume. Five plants have already generated over 100 tomatoes and are still loaded with green ones. They appear to still be setting tomatoes in the heat.

It is either a good year for tomatoes or I have hit the east Texas tomato lottery.

I want to save seed and trial it for another year before I become ecstatic.

I understand how to ferment and dry the seeds.

My question is does the tomato have to ripen on the vine before the seeds are harvested? Thank You!

Pod, no it doesn't have to ripen on the vine. The more mature the seeds are in a tomato the higher the germination rate of the overall seed count. When you ferment the seeds from the tomato, the viable seeds will settle to the bottom and the nonviable seeds will be removed with the scum on top. I have saved seeds from green tomatoes and ended up with about 50% of the seeds being viable. An f2 volunteer from Sungold had 2 clusters of mature tomatoes but none had started ripening and a killing frost was forecast, so I cut the section of stem with the 2 clusters and placed it in a jar of water in my kitchen window. After about 2 weeks in the window most of the tomatoes were showing good color and I saved the seed from them. The only thing I would do different from normal is to stir the fermenting seeds more often as they are held more securely to the seed locules. Claud

Also, if you don't have enough tomato juice from the tomatoes you may need to add some strained juice from another tomato.
[Last edited by saltmarsh - Jul 5, 2014 10:13 PM (+)]
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Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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pod
Jul 5, 2014 10:19 PM CST
Thank you!!! I appreciate that information. These tomatoes have plenty of liquid and it sounds as though I can start saving seeds right now. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge on this. Kristi Thank You!
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Jul 6, 2014 6:20 PM CST
So Kristi, what variety are you talking about?

@saltmarsh can you clarify what you mean when you said you put the two clusters in a jar of water? The tomatoes or just the stem of the clusters? I'm guessing it was the stem but I just want to make sure. *Blush*
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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pod
Jul 6, 2014 7:37 PM CST
The variety was recommended by Mother Earth News as suitable for southern growers. I found an online source and purchased a meager bunch of seeds.

Later I read there was some controversy regarding the cultivar and the seller. The cultivar was Plate de Haiti or Hispaniola. They are producing as the seller described. I have decided it really doesn't matter if they will produce well. So far I am happy with them.

I believe Saltmarsh was saying the stem had two clusters of Sungold tomatoes that he put in water to allow the tomatoes to ripen so he was able to harvest seed. You might want to read that again and see if I understood it correctly. I've been known to do otherwise. Green Grin!
Name: Claud
Water Valley, Ms (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member
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saltmarsh
Jul 6, 2014 8:34 PM CST
Kristi, your understanding is correct. I've never tried to save seed from green tomatoes. If you have several green tomatoes, you might go ahead and try saving seed from one (the most mature), if none sink to the bottom you'll know the answer to your question. Kindly post the results here so we'll know too. If you use a clear jar or plastic cup you should know in about 3 days whether there are seeds on the bottom. In the meantime, wrap the other green tomatoes in newspaper and let them ripen. Claud
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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pod
Jul 7, 2014 5:43 AM CST
No but thank you Claud. I was mostly curious as I was picking these as they were beginning to turn and letting them ripen off the vine. I wondered if that would affect seed development.

It is my intention to select the larger of these tomatoes and harvest seed from them. I'm not sure it will matter to try to develop into a larger fruit but it can't hurt either.
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[Last edited by pod - Jul 7, 2014 5:43 AM (+)]
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Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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pod
Jul 7, 2014 1:52 PM CST
When I ferment the seeds, is it preferable to use an open dish or a fruit jar or glass?
Name: Claud
Water Valley, Ms (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member
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saltmarsh
Jul 7, 2014 3:04 PM CST
I've always used 16 oz. plastic cups and covered them with a short piece of nylon stocking which keeps bugs out but allows the fermenting seeds to breathe and easy access to stir them as the ferment progresses. I use a sharpie to write the variety and date the ferment was started then after the seeds are spread to dry, I strike through the name, wash the plastic cup and reuse them. Claud
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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pod
Jul 7, 2014 3:16 PM CST
All right, thanks again for sharing your knowledge.

I take it, you do this outdoors by covering with nylon for bugs.

Is the warmer temps better suited or the smell too offensive?

Thinking I'll move them to the porch or greenhouse... Green Grin!
Name: Claud
Water Valley, Ms (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member
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saltmarsh
Jul 7, 2014 5:50 PM CST
I use an unused bedroom and a little air freshener.
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Jul 9, 2014 6:53 AM CST
"I use an unused bedroom and a little air freshener."

Heheheh, yeh, they can sure get to stinking after a while, can't they!

Kristi, I've done mine outside on a work table for years but the past few summers I've had to move them into my shoffice where it is much cooler. When they ferment for a time in excessive heat (upper 80's and 90's) the germination rate drops dramatically, even if they are the viable seeds that have sunk to the bottom. And yep, I'd definitely cover your jars to keep gnats and other bugs out; if not sometimes you'll see little larvae in there and they will also sink down to where the good seeds are. It really doesn't matter if you cover with a solid lid or a breathable fabric though as the fermentation is an anaerobic process.

Have fun with your seed saving and selecting for bigger/better fruits in the future. You'll find it inspiring and downright fun!

Happy Gardening!
Shoe

[Last edited by Horseshoe - Jul 16, 2014 6:30 AM (+)]
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Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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pod
Jul 15, 2014 8:27 PM CST
Hey Shoe ~ thanks for the vote of confidence.

I hope I didn't leave them too long. I had to go out of town for six days. I set it out in the greenhouse and need to check it tomorrow. I'll guarantee the temps were too high. On the upside, the plants are still delivering. I picked a bunch more this evening when I got in. I think those that were larger were doubles but I'll try the seeds anyway. Thank you, Kristi

Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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pod
Jul 16, 2014 10:01 AM CST
...and I'm afraid it was too long. I find plump healthy looking seeds but taking a closer look I see quite a few have already germinated. I shall have to try another batch and keep this one in the dark for less time. Thanks again... Kristi
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
For our friend, Shoe. Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Permaculture Container Gardener
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Horseshoe
Jul 16, 2014 5:29 PM CST
Oh well, bummer. I've done the same thing. Fortunately you still have some more tomatoes coming on so it won't be a big loss.

Hang in there!

Shoe (gettin' his fill of tomato sandwiches!)
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
pod
Jul 16, 2014 10:11 PM CST
Yep ~ you are so right. I still have more coming in.

I was just hoping to save seed on some of the larger ones. All is not lost... thanks!

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