Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Nome saves her first seeds

Seedsaving is something I always promise myself I'll get into someday; you know, after I've mastered everything else. It's certainly something I must get the hang of if I ever want to take self-sufficiency seriously, which I do.

My seed-saving exploits so far include planting an apple seed when I was... oooh, four? six? and growing a little apple tree in a tub; saving some salad seeds a couple of years back but then deciding not to plant them because I couldn't remember what they were; and harvesting some dried-out parsnip seed heads last year, which I was too nervous to plant this year in case they didn't germinate.

But two weeks ago I decided to take Daughter of the Soil's advice: "if you like the taste of it, scrape some seeds out of it". I've really been enjoying some plum-shaped 'Pomodorino' tomatoes which were on special offer at Sainsburys for a while, and so I thought I'd give it a go.

First I scraped the seeds out of the tomatoes and put them in a centimetre or so of water on a warm windowsill, with a loose cover so that air could get in and out. Every day I stirred it to keep things agitated.

After five days, when there was a thin layer of white mould on the surface and it smelled like some kind of weird tomato beer, I scraped the scummy stuff off the top and rinsed the seeds really well. (This five-day fermentation process gets all the gunk off the seeds so that you can save them and handle them easily.) Then I spread them out on a piece of paper to dry. They say you're supposed to use a coffee filter for this, so that the seeds don't stick, but I don't have such things so I just used a sheet out of a notebook, and pushed them around every now and then to try to stop them sticking. They also say to spread them out in a single layer. This is more difficult than you might think; wet seeds are extremely inclined to cling together!

It didn't take long for them to seem pretty dry - about 24 hours - and after that I left them in a glass dish in a warmish place for a few more days just to be sure.

And then, I planted some.

Bit late for tomatoes, I know, but I thought if I can get even just one truss of fruit, I'll know how true-to-type they come - or not - and I'll know whether to bother next year.

These seeds were in a fruit just 14 days ago!

Update: For a better way to dry seeds thoroughly, check out this post.


Amy said...

Nice one. Great tip, I'll give it a try next time I enjoy the perfect fruit. Good luck with those tomatoes

Green Lane Allotments said...

Our plot neighbour is an obssessive seed collector taking seeds from anything he eats. He was happily dispensing he 'fruits' of his labour the other year - small apricot 'trees' - they turned out to be pussy willow.

We now have a couple of apricots grown from the stones. They are in our greenhouse and are quite big but I wonder if they will ever fruit!

dee said...

I've been thinking of trying this with those long pointy peppers you get in supermarkets. It crosses my mind every time I chop one up to eat- I've never got round to it though.. Will have to make a mental note and have a go next time I buy some..
I save bean and squash seeds I've grown at my plot :0)

Anonymous said...

This year I am growing Angelle from fresh seed and the young plants look healthy, but I also had an unexpected glut of seedlings from homemade compost which I first thought were self seeded chillies although they seemed more vigorous. As they have now started flowering I realise that they are bell peppers, which must be from supermarket fruit.

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