Science Project with Tomatoes - Knowledgebase Question

Tampa, FL
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Question by pastagirl
November 22, 1997
Will cooking tomato seeds at different temperatures before planting be a good science project idea?

Answer from NGA
November 22, 1997
It's not a good idea to subject tomato seeds to heat before planting because you'll probably kill the embryo before it has a chance to germinate. In fact, many seeds die when they're exposed to regular indoor temperatures of 75 degrees.

How about planting tomato seeds and feeding the plants with different kinds of fertilizers? Or try growing tomato plants in different types of potting soils for a science project?

Another idea is to to experiment germinating the seeds fresh or dried. (Hint: the jelly-like substance that the seeds are encased in inside the tomato has germination-inhibiting qualities--otherwise, the seeds might germinate right inside the tomato!) You might try planting seeds directly from a ripe tomato, verses separating the seeds out and letting them dry, then planting. A third thing to try is to ferment the seeds in that gel--scrape the contents of the seed cavity into a jar and let it sit for two or three days, stirring each day. Fermentation breaks down the germination-inhibiting chemicals in the pulp. You might experiment with fermenting for different lengths of time, to see which has the highest germination.

You might also try germinating seeds from ripe vs. green tomatoes.

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