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Need Tomato Advice

Posted by biblion z6 CT (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 25, 07 at 9:19

I need some advice on what I did wrong saving my tomato seeds from last season.
In early October I collected seeds and gel from the three varieties we grew--San Marzano, Boxcar Willy, and Powers Heirloom (none of these hybrids as far as I know)
I added water to cover to each batch of seed and kept them sufficiently watered and let them sit for a week or so to ferment. Each batch of seed developed a nice scum on top of the water.
I rinsed them and then air dried them, and stored them in paper envelopes in a plastic bag over Winter.
My lettuce seed, which I allowed to mature outside, is sprouting well, but, alas, not so my dear tomatoes.
Since this is my first season saving seed, I'm wondering what I did wrong.
Any thoughts?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Need Tomato Advice

You may have added too much water, most of the references I have seen say to add no more water than 50% of the volume of seeds + juice. For most tomatoes, the juice you can squeeze out will suffice; I have never had to add water. If the tomato is very dry (I have a few that are) or if the seed quantity is very small, strain the juice from a juicier tomato (to remove the seeds) & add it to the mixture to increase its volume.

Also, a week seems like far too much time. The gel will be destroyed by fermentation in 2-3 days, or even as little as 24 hours; the warmer the area, the more rapid the fermentation. If the seeds are not removed promptly after the gel breaks down, they may begin to sprout - I've forgotten a few batches and had this happen (it only took 4 days). Such seed will die quickly once dried, and should be discarded. Examine the seeds under a magnifying glass; you may see a small dead sprout on the pointed end of some of the seeds.

It is possible that there are still a few live seeds. You could place a large number on a wet paper towel, and watch closely for germination - then immediately transfer any that sprout to moist seed starter. But if seed is still available, it might be best (and far easier) to start fresh.

RE: Need Tomato Advice

Thanks, zeedman. I'll be following your advice this season and will try the rest of my seed to see if any survived.

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