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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds

 “No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.” - Thomas Jefferson

Heirloom tomatoes are open pollinated, and non-hybridized varieties. I'm saving seeds from my favorite variety, 'Taps Tomato' for next years garden.

Choose a large, healthy, fully ripe tomato. Don't use one that's over-ripe, or the seeds could sprout, or decay in the later steps.

                                           Cut the tomato in half.

Squeeze the tomatoes, into a bowl, crushing them.(don't use metal) Don't worry about scraping seeds from the tomato, there will be a lot that will fall into the bowl.

Taps is a very juicy Tomato, I strain the juice away, and put the seeds back in the bowl. You'll notice the seeds are coated, with a gel. the next step is to get rid of the gel.

                                         Fill the bowl, half full of water.

Cover and let it set; for about, 3 days,(depends on the temperature) until you see mold growing on the surface. I used a cereal bowl, and covered it with a saucer.

The mold will look like a cloudy film on the surface. You most likely, will see a few seeds, floating on the surface as well. (these won't sprout) Pour off as much of the water as you can, including the floating seeds.

I pick out any large tomato particles, by hand, then dump the seeds into a small mesh strainer. Run water over the seeds, in the strainer, while gently rubbing them, with your fingertips, to dislodge any remaining gel, on the seeds. After letting the water drain from the strainer, dump the seeds, onto a clean folded kitchen towel, or a paper plate. Spread them out, a bit, so the air can circulate around them, and prevent them from molding. Let them dry for a few days, then store them in a labeled envelope.

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