First time saved seed sticking together.

donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)August 2, 2011

I printed out the instructions for saving tomato seeds from the Seed Saving Forum and followed them to the letter. AFter a week of drying, the seeds are sticking together and I cannot get them to separate. Do I need to ferment them again? If I do, will it hurt the seeds?

Also, my heirloom plants were planted side by side, one variety each, in one bed. I don't intend to trade these seeds, they are only for my personal use. Do you think they will come true?

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Bets(z6A S ID)

Don't referment them (if that is a word). Usually if you rub them between your fingers or palms, they will come apart. Sometimes you might have to really pinch the clump at an angle. If you can't get the seeds apart, you can soak them for a few minutes or an hour or two and you should be able to seperate them then.

I think the fact that they have stuck together might indicate insufficient rinsing or removing them from the ferment before all the gel had been removed from the seeds. Two to three days is generally sufficient, but it can vary, cooler temperatures will slow the process down and hotter temperatures will speed things up. Also, if you have saved some liquid (no seeds of course!) from a previous batch and add it to the mixture, that will kick start it. BTW, I never add water to it, but that is just me I guess.

A good guage to tell when the ferment is done is the fungal mat that develops on the surface of the liquid. I don't stir my fermenting seeds (I might swirl them a bit, to check the gel coat, it is an anerobic process) so the mat is pretty pronounced when it's time to rinse the seeds.

Tomatoes have "perfect" blossoms, and unless they have an exerted stigma, about 95% of the time they will breed true to type.

I hope that helps.

Betsy

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 2:00PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

It helps alot. There was a mold mass on top of the liquid when I took them out of the "stew". I rinsed and rubbed them as carefully as I could inside a wire strainer. There were some that had more goo than others, and though I tried very hard to get it all off, maybe I didn't? The main thing is that they will germinate later, right? Do you think they will? Thanks for the response, Betsy.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 7:42PM
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sconticut(6b)

After fermentation and rinsing, I place my seeds on a paper plate for drying. At this point, I invest five minutes or so in separating every seed from every other. Just tease them out with a toothpick. It may seem laborious or tedious but it only takes a few minutes and no seed sticking.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 8:34PM
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remy_gw

Donna,
If you still had gel sticking on the seeds after rinsing, it is possible that you didn't ferment them long enough. They come really clean easily when the fermenting is complete. But that's ok, you'll still get good germination on them.
Remy

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 10:34PM
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Bets(z6A S ID)

Aaaack! I just reread what I said: "If you can't get the seeds apart, you can soak them for a few minutes or an hour or two and you should be able to seperate them then." I should have said "If you can't get the seeds apart for planting, you can soak them for a few minutes or an hour or two and you should be able to seperate them then. Don't soak them just to seperate them!

Like sconticut, I dry my seeds on paper plates, or sometimes coffee filters, and I sitr them and rub them between my fingers daily so I seldom have more then a couple of seeds stick together.

Remy is right, you should get good germination, even if you have cut the fermentation somewhat short, it has started the breakdown of the gel that inhibits the seed from sprouting until conditions are right.

Betsy

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 12:31AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Thanks, folks. I went back to them and was able to get them pulled apart and into their plastic bag until next year. Remy, your post was very reassuring. :)
I am so glad, for several of the varieties I got at a tomato tasting and would have no chance to try again.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 6:25PM
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