Aug 19, 2008

Seed Saving

Inquiring minds want to know my "secret" to successful seed saving.

I like that. :)

Well, there is no real secret. I follow the same method for seed fermenting as I have found many others online follow. Fermenting is for saving of tomato seeds only, as I just harvest and dry all my other seed types, and call it a day.

Firstly,I only do Open Pollinated, so there is always a small chance of cross pollinating. I have tried bagging blossoms but have experienced awful blossom drop that way. Plus I figure there is only like a 5% chance of cross pollinating this way, and I don't sell my seeds on to fermenting....

First pick the best of your favorite tomatoes,Squeeze the seeds and their surrounding juices into a plastic or Styrofoam cup...I save yogurt and sour cream containers for this, the old renew reuse theory . Make sure you label the cup with the name of the seed being saved.
Then add enough water to ensure that after sitting around for a few days the liquid will not have all evaporated...usually I add maybe a teaspoon or two.

Now either you need to cover this with one of those 'Favor Bags' like you see at weddings. You can find them at at craft stores...they are made out of Organza material, and they do a good job of keeping the fruit flies at bay. Or you need to keep these in a room where you wont mind swarms of fruit flies. Then simply let the mixture sit until a nice fungal mat forms on the top...this will look kind of mottled and goopy. 

Now it is time for seed cleaning. Take your fermented mess and gently remove the fungal mat by tipping the cup and helping the mat slide off with the aid of a toothpick, pick any seeds that are stuck in the goop out and add back to the liquid in the cup. Fill the cup with fresh water and swirl a bit, being careful not to slosh out the seeds. pour off the excess liquid , again being mindful of your seeds. Any bad seed should float to the top of the water and be poured away. Repeat this process three or more times until you are left with just clean seeds.
Pour seeds out into one layer onto a clean paper plate or paper towel and leave in a dry spot for as long as it takes for them to be dry. Loosening them from the plate or paper and giving them a stir is a good idea 1 or 2 days into their drying.
Make sure to label with the correct name and date and store out of the light in a cool dry place.

Enjoy :)


Martha/All the Dirt said...

Hi -
Thanks so much for the tomato seed saving tips!

I put a link to your blog into mine so readers could find your fab writings.

Donna said...

You are Most Welcome :) I am glad I could help. And Thanks for the link. ;)

giam said...

Don't you isolate your tomatoes?
I isolate not flower but all the plant. I use tulle.
The best method is to grow only one variety a year... the best in little hortus like my hortus :-)
This year I have grow only Tomato Wins All.
But I noticed that insects don't visit always tomatoes' flowers.
I know that there are varieties of tomato that has cross pollineting easier than other varieties, because they have external pistil.
Ciao... and excuse me my invations... :-)

Donna said...

I dont sell my seeds, and when I share I tell people that they are open pollinated. So I dont feel the need to isolate. I have not grown any Currant type tomatoes or any others that have exerted stigma, so I feel I am 100% purity just isnt all that important for me ..yet....but if I ever want to try it again, I will try your method of isolating the entire plant. :)