Friday, August 29, 2008

Saving Seeds, Part II Tomatoes

My last blog we talked about Zinnia, so if you need to be refreshed on the subject, just take a look at last weeks blog! I Don't think I know a single individual who doesn't like a good just picked tomato!, except maybe my sister! Although I can remember a time when I, like my sister, despised tomatoes. Just the thought of that red, seedy, fruit made shivers run up and down my spine. When I was younger my best friend, whose name was also Zack, use to love tomatoes; he would just pick one up and eat it like an apple! UGH! I would think, his mom use to grow little cherry tomatoes right next to the house. Zack and I would go over to them and I would watch him eat them. Now I never told him that the though of tomatoes made my stomach queasy and become woozy, and one day day he asked me if I wanted one. Being a man, there was no way possible that I was going to show him that I was a woos, so I swallowed my pride and basically swallowed the tomato whole! After a moment, or two, I thought about it, and those tomatoes didn't taste so bad! The rest of that day was spent in use eat nothing but cherry tomatoes, and form that day on I have been a avid tomato lover since!
Now that you have heard my little story of the day, lets get down to business! When to want to gather tomato seeds, the first step is to get your supplies ready. You will need...
  • Knife, for opening the fruiting body
  • Small Spoon, for scooping out seeds
  • Strainer, for cleaning the seeds
  • Paper towels, for drying the seeds
  • Storage devises (jars or ziplock baggies), for storage.

You will also need to learn when to pick the tomato, and how to know when the seeds are ready. This is probably the easies of all, basically, when the tomato looks good to eat is when that seeds are ready! Any ripe tomato will do just fine! Your first step is to cut the tomato (DUH!,) there is no right or wrong way to cut it, just have fun!
Once the you have cut the tomato, you will want to scoop out the seeds, for this job you will want a spoon! This is all pretty self explanatory, once you have scooped out the seeds, put them in a fine mesh strainer, like the one shown int the picture. You want a fine mesh strainer so that the seeds don't go through the strainer and down the drain!
Now that the seeds are in the strainer, you may have noticed some jelly looking flesh around the seeds. If you wanted, you could stop right here, and just let the seeds dry as is. If you do decide to do this, you will end up with one great big lump of seeds that will be bane of your existence when you try to separate them! The way I like to do my seeds, is similar to the way professional companies do it, or at least I think it is! Any who, this method will give you clean looking seeds that will be able just like the store bought ones! This is what the stainer is for.
That jell stuff around the seeds is a growth inhibitor, so I like to remove it. The first thing you want to do is run it under cool water, room temperature will be fine. With your fingers start to rub the seeds around in the mesh, this will rub off the inhibitor jell, Do this until the seeds look clean. You may have to rinse them a couple of times to get them separated from the seeds, but this proses should not take long.
Once you have removed the seed jell, lay the seeds on a cloth or a paper towel, to get the excess water off. Once the seeds have dried off a little bit, transfer them to a clean dry paper towel or cloth. Fold the cloth up so that the seeds to not fall off and label the seeds with the name and date, this will ensure that the seeds do not get mixed up with other seeds! Be sure to check the seeds every now and then, to make sure that they don't mold. After a week or so, you can now take the seeds off the towel, and store in ziplock baggies, or click HERE to download some templates for seed packets!


Anonymous said...

Wonderful blog. Very informative. Waiting for next post.

Anonymous said...

Hi Zack and again your blog is so amusing and informative. Can't wait for the next one. Robin

The Organic Gardener said...

I am so excited! I just learned last Sun. the 31st, that My local nursery will be having a plant sale! You have no clue how excited I am. My sister and I will be going, the sale stares next Sun 7th! For all of you who live in Col, Oh...the garden center's name is...Straders Garden Center!


Robj98168 said...

I fell in love with tomato ice cream! I have only ate it once but it is one of those things you never forget! Great little blog y'all got here.

DP Nguyen said...

Hi Zach, That is really cool that you save your own seeds. I don't think you can really do well replanting seeds unless they are heirloom tomatoes, but still. It's pretty coool.

My Mother's Garden said...

Hi Zach~
Those seed packets are great!
It really is delightful to hear about your passion for gardening at such a young age. You should have great success with your seeds, I have tons of baby tomatoes growing from my composted veggies.
Putting you in my blog list right now :)

Dan said...

Zack - Great blog! Another way of removing the jell from tomato seeds is to collect the seeds & jell in a bowl and add a little water. Then let them sit until a layer of mold grows on the top of the mixture. Then strain, rinse and dry the seeds for storage.

This replicates what would naturally happen when a tomato falls to the ground, rots and then sprouts in the following season.

I will add your blog to my blog links at

Sue Swift said...

Really useful post. Thanks.

Came in from Blotanical. Wanted to leave you a welcome message there, but the site is taking so long to load I gave up. Hope this is just as good!

Compostings said...

Great site. Found it through blotanical.

I save my seeds also and I usually do the fermenting method (which I'll have a post up on shortly.) This year I'm going to try a batch this way too and see if the fermenting is even worth it...

Chili Bean said...

nice blog Zachs.
Thanks for the tips re tomatoes.

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