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Don't struggle with Tomato seeds

 
pollinator
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Location: Summers County, West Virginia
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For years I spent alot of time separating, cleaning and drying tomato seeds, but I found I was doing it the labor intensive way. Now I always take a top and bottom slice (paper thin) of a good looking tomato, if it tastes good I put them in a hot box to dry until they are leather to brittle to the texture. Come planting time, I just plant the entire slice and get a dozen or sometimes more small plants for transplantation, no muss no fuss. Probably many people know this technique but somebody showed me and it was a no-brainer....enjoy..M
 
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My method is super simple. I take a spoon or a knife and use the tip to remove seeds from tasty tomatoes and smear them on a paper towel. I can avoid getting too much flesh this way, but if it seems too wet then I  transfer the seeds to a new paper towel.  You can use a ballpoint pen to label the sheet. Then I  set it in a warm corner in the kitchen for a few days to air dry. Done! I fold the towel and put it all in a storage bag. At planting time, if the seeds don't want to come loose,  then I just plant it with a bit of paper towel attached.
 
Michael Littlejohn
pollinator
Posts: 230
Location: Summers County, West Virginia
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Very neat, I might change my method. I could even write the tomato's description or variety on the paper.
 
Christina Wilson
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The best part is that you can eat almost the entire tomato. If you take the tomato for lunch and really like it, then you can easily save a few seeds and carry them home to dry. The labelling is really important, though.  I am growing some tomato plants this year which are either a really nice beefsteak for which I otherwise have no more seeds, or maybe they are an heirloom oxheart of which I have plenty of seeds.  I only saved two types of tomato seeds that year...shame I failed to label these seeds. Really hoping for the beefsteak...  

Funny story about the oxheart, though - the friends in West Virginia who grew them for many years gave us a tomato and we liked it so we saved seeds and started plants the following years, then we found out they had lost all their seeds, so we gave them some plants and seeds back. They didn't even know we had them when they told us how sad they were to lose their seeds.
 
gardener
Posts: 2168
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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Fermenting tomato seeds to get them clean turned out to be easier than I thought.

As mentioned previously, you can eat almost the whole tomato. Just scoop out some of the seeds into a cup with some water in it, and leave it standing around for a few days. It's okay if it goes a little skanky or moldy. Then pour it through a tea strainer, rinse for a few seconds, and spread out on a plate to dry.

I find this way it's easy to plant a given number of seeds in spring, and to share seeds with friends.
 
gardener
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Location: Pacific Wet Coast
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Rebecca Norman wrote:

Fermenting tomato seeds to get them clean turned out to be easier than I thought.

I think I read somewhere that tomato seeds that had fermented, germinated more easily. That sort of makes sense to me, because tomato "volunteers" I've met, usually were from dropped fruit that would have fermented as part of the fruit decomposing.

I've generally used the paper towel method described above, but if the fermenting is important, maybe I will consider fermenting first and paper toweling second. Opinions/experiences everyone?
 
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Location: Tacoma, WA & Winemucca, NV
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So the local gardening groups gave me heck when I posted that I had donor (cherry/grape) tomatoes from last year and that I was going to let them go. Fast forward to last week, the "pro" gardening groups were giving out/selling tomato starts for planting outdoors. I picked up a few free ones from a group I belong to. Guess what? The best ones were the same size as my donor tomatoes. *rolls eyes* yes, the same ones they told me I was stupid for allowing to continue.

That's the easy way to plant tomatoes as far as I'm concerned. Lol. Just leave the ones the squirrels taste or that split, or that don't ripen enough before frost under some cover until next spring and voila!

I firmly believe mother nature is smarter than I am. Stop making it so hard :)
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