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de oppresso liber
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I've always bought my tomato seeds but I have been thinking of trying to save some of my own but I'm not sure how. I also don't know which variety or varieties are the best for this.
 

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STILL not Alice
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It's a little bit of a gooey job, but rather fun and satisfying.

Here's how I do it:

Which tomatoes to use? Pick a tomato you love from your garden. Choose one from the healthiest, happiest plants you have.

Wash your hands really well.

Cut across the middle (stem end on top) and remove the seed goo from the cells. Place the goo into a glass container, add a teaspoon or two of water, and cover with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the plastic wrap to allow air in and out.

When your seeds develop a lovely mold, plop the whole contents into a tea strainer, and rinse well, removing mold and gelatinous goo. Place your freshly washed seeds on a clean paper towel or paper coffee filter, and cover them with the same. Let them dry in a warm place (top of the fridge or some place like that).

Once they're dry, put them into a clean envelope, mark them, and you're all set for next year.

Huzzah!
 

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Don't use hybrid tomatoes for seed saving purposes unless you really want to experiment with tomatoes. The hybrids do not come true from seed. But if you have heirloom tomatoes save the seed from those. I don't let the goo ferment, I just scoop a few seeds out onto a paper towel and let them dry. When planting time comes I just pick them off the paper (label the towel so you know what you have). A bit of paper may come with the seed but it won't hurt anything to plant it with the seed.
 

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The fermentation method is a good one, if you need really clean seeds. However, clean seeds are not necessary for good germination, just for looks and possibly to make it easier to deal with them with machines in a big operation.

I like the paper towel method, too. I used to do that, but now I just let them dry on a plate and then scrape them off and put them into containers (envelopes, medicine bottles, etc.). It is much easier just to scoop them out and let them dry.

Saving seeds is much easier that you think and I highly recommend it.
 

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Also, after you have dried and packed the seeds, put them in the freezer for a few weeks, then do a germination test. I usually put about ten seeds in a wet paper towel and put it in a ziploc bag. I label the bag and just lay it on a shelf somewhere and check it every day. Do this in early winter and you will see what you need to order, by the germination successes/failures. If you have a lot of seed and you have a rather low germination rate, you may opt to just plant a little thicker than normal. The seeds that you test, can either be planted or thrown away.

When you save seed, save much more than you will need for the next couple of years, and get in the habit of saving them every year. That way, you can share your leftovers and you have plenty for those times when the weather may not cooperate and nothing comes up and you have to replant. (Been there, done that...)
 

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Master Of My Domain
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i simply washed the goo off of my seeds in a fine mesh strainer under cold water and let them dry on a coffee filter. i checked on them and they look to be in fine shape.
 

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STILL not Alice
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i simply washed the goo off of my seeds in a fine mesh strainer under cold water and let them dry on a coffee filter. i checked on them and they look to be in fine shape.
Have you planted them and had a successful harvest?

I was taught that the seeds have to go through the fermentation process in order to produce healthy plants.
 

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STILL not Alice
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Don't use hybrid tomatoes for seed saving purposes unless you really want to experiment with tomatoes. The hybrids do not come true from seed. But if you have heirloom tomatoes save the seed from those. I don't let the goo ferment, I just scoop a few seeds out onto a paper towel and let them dry. When planting time comes I just pick them off the paper (label the towel so you know what you have). A bit of paper may come with the seed but it won't hurt anything to plant it with the seed.
Sorry, didn't see your post before.

IIRC, many tomatoes are "hybrids" that do, indeed, reproduce.

I don't understand the mechanics of it exactly, but maybe Paquebot will pop his head in here and give his input.
 

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Or, use the KISS method. Just scoop out a spoonful of seeds and plaster them on an index card with the variety name. When dry, place it in an envelope and store in a cool dry place. When needed for planting, scrape off what's needed.

Martin
 

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Pony,

Yes, hybrids will reproduce (except for "terminator" seeds), but they will not reproduce "true to seed", which means that you don't know what you will get. Sometimes, if you plant a seed from a hybrid plant, you will get something that doesn't even resemble any food you have ever seen. It can be quite an adventure planting seeds from hybrid plants, but if you really want that particular thing that you planted last year, then it is best to deal with open-pollinated seeds/plants. Also, there are many books about growing your own seeds. You can usually find them in the library. It is a good idea to learn about it, because you don't want to go to all the trouble and find that you don't have viable seed or that you accidentally came up with a hybrid of your own. (Although, sometimes that can be fun, too!)
:)
 

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Dirt Doctor Weekly Newsletter

How to Save Tomato Seeds

If you still have time to save seed this year, here’s some help. If it's too late, hold this information for use next year.

Tomato seed saving uses the process of fermentation for best results. Choose the biggest, best looking tomatoes from the healthiest looking plants. I know you'd rather eat those, but behave yourself!

Slice fruit in half across the middle. With a spoon or your well-washed fingers, scoop out the seeds and their gelatinous "goo" into a clean cup or glass container. Small tomatoes can just be smashed with your fingers. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to the seeds.

Cover the container with a piece of plastic-wrap and then poke holes to allow for aeration. Fresh air needs to get in and out of the cup to help foster fermentation.

Place the container of seeds in a warm location - a sunny windowsill or the top of the refrigerator. This fermentation takes about two or three days. Each night remove the plastic-wrap, stir the seed and water mixture, and then replace the plastic-wrap. The top of the liquid will look "scummy" when the fermentation process has separated the "goo" from the seeds. It also helps destroy many of the possible tomato diseases that can be harbored by seeds.

Seeds are ready when they move quickly and easily across a plate and do not stick to each other. Store seeds dry in a container. Any moisture in the seeds will be transferred to all seeds and foster mildew and rotting.

To learn more on how to live a more Natural Organic lifestyle, go to DirtDoctor.com.
 

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I think Martin gave the best advice one time. Might have even been on hybred seeds. He said to remember, what you get will still be a tomato-might not be like the one the seeds came from, but it will still be a tomato--not a cucumber. I think this simplifies seed saving for anyone who just needs their own seeds.
LOL--see, I DO remember some things.
 

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Every tomato seed, hybrid or otherwise, will develop into another tomato. 95% of all fixed tomato varieties are stabilized hybrids. Problem with some hybrids is that the cross is such a wild one, and indeed often wild, that the results will be quite varied. Santa is a hybrid which will be 95% true as F2. (The odd 5% is usually blocky rather than round.) Sungold is so unstable that any 6 seeds may produce 6 different growth types and 6 different fruit, none like the original. Many may look down on hybrids for that reason but it also reflects the huge number of trials that are required to find that exact combination to come up with it.

Oh, don't worry about the "terminator gene". Last we heard is that it was over in Iraq and a number of soldiers and marines were looking for it!

Martin
 

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If you've ever thrown tomatoes out on a compost pile you know they'll have some come up in the spring. So we keep it simple....squash a very ripe tomato in a Folgers can,stick a label on it and set it in the greenhouse. Every year we get a healthy crop of seedlings...often earlier than we actually plan to start flats. Mother Nature wants to grow stuff...seeds fall, blow in the wind,birds eat them,whatever. When they land they most often grow. If saving for friends we just do it a 'la Paquebot and they've always had good results growing plants from them. We save seeds from everything. Even hybrid tomato seeds will grow a tomato plant and will still go in a jar for winter. DEE
 
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