Saving seeds means having fun with some everyday chemistry. Each kind of seed is like a different element, that has different properties and reacts in its own way with heat and moisture. There are some basics of preparing for seed saving, but there are specific steps for saving each type of seed.
Here is how I saved some of my stupice tomato seed last week:
- Three ripe stupice tomatoes, cut up and mashed a bit in a quart canning jar.
- NO lid.
- Placed in an obvious, but shady place in the kitchen. (it got moved a couple of times when I needed the work space)
- Kept at about 70-75 degrees by keeping it AWAY from the sunny spots and stove, refrigerator top, etc. Any place that is warm enough to sprout seeds, it DID NOT go.
During the fermenting process:
- I stirred the tomatoes 2-3 times a day
- Used a regular household metal spoon, in case anyone is wondering if that is okay
- Watched out for mold or seeds sprouting in the jar. Would have scraped mold off if it appeared.
- Waiting to do the tomato seed saving until cooler fall weather helps with these issues.
Then, I rinsed the pulp away from the viable seeds:
- This was done by adding water to the jar, swishing it a bit, then
- Giving the good seeds a chance to settle for a minute between rinses, and pouring most of the water off, leaving the seeds in the bottom of the jar
- Some immature seeds will float
- This took about 5 rinses
- I picked the last bit of pulp out with the tip of a spoon
Next, they were prepared for drying:
- I drained more of the water off using a wire mesh stainer
- The seeds were loosely arranged on a piece of wax paper to dry for a couple of days
- I still kept them in shady places
- They still kind of stick together when dry
If you would like to find out if your seeds will actually grow next spring:
- Get a paper towel quite moist
- Wrap a few seeds in it
- Place the rolled paper towel in a plastic baggy
- NOW place it in a warm spot, like the top of the refrigerator
- Check it after 3 days to see if seeds sprouted
- Then, check daily, because it could take a little longer
I forgot to check everyday, so my sprouts started to turn a little dark before I got the picture. I wasn’t inspired to count and do the math for the precise germination rate, but you can see most of them sprouted. 🙂
- Break the seeds apart and check that they are thoroughly dried
- Put in a container that will keep them cool, dry, and away from light.
- I use these dark jars from Specialty Bottle. The jars close more securely than envelopes.
- If you live in a humid environment, you probably want to put packets in to suck the moisture out of the air
- I store my seeds in the cool basement food storage pantry. It stays about 63 degrees Fahrenheit in there.