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Article: Saving tomato seeds using fermentation: fermentation and too-early germination

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Forum: Article: Saving tomato seeds using fermentationReplies: 5, Views: 94
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Henderson, NV

June 16, 2009
6:33 PM

Post #6696358

Hi! I fermented some hot house tomato seeds last week for three days, stirring them every day. I developed the "sponge" on top the third day. I washed all the seeds in a fine screen strainer and began to notice that about 80% of them already had their rootlet showing! They had germinated in the fermentation bath! So I hurriedly planted them in peat pots. These didn't get a chance to dry out at all. The rootlets were in some cases longer than the seeds themselves. I'm just wondering what my chances are of getting viable plants this way, without the drying step. Another forum told me the entire lot is useless. Any ideas?

June 16, 2009
6:50 PM

Post #6696431

I've never heard of seeds germinating in the fermentation process. I've fermented countless varieties and I've never had this happen. So, as to why it caused it, I can't say.

If they sprouted then obviously they won't store as seeds, but I see no reason at all why they won't grow into healthy plants. I have often pre-sprouted tomato seeds in moist paper towels and transfer them into soil once they sprout.

Madera, CA

September 22, 2009
11:33 PM

Post #7093499

I had the same thing happen to me with 2 different variety of heirloom seeds today. Had them sitting on my shady window sill in the glass and they just started to sprout. I want to say they were in the glass for 5 days. I was so dismayed becouse the parent plant has already been pulled. So I put the sprouts into a pot hoping I can get another plant to grow to eventually gather seeds from this year.

September 23, 2009
1:16 AM

Post #7093890

Was this a small number of seeds, or the majority of them? Also, was the mixture properly fermenting? (For example, was there a white film on top of the liquid?)
Madera, CA

September 23, 2009
2:30 AM

Post #7094177

Yes, all the seeds sprouted with the exception of maybe 5 seeds. I put one (squeezed) tomato in one small jar x2 jars (had 2 different types of heirlooms). I added 2-3 tablespoons of water to get the level up. They didn't really have a film on the top of the mixture but did get a whitish tint to the mixture. The gel sacks were completely gone and the seeds were fuzzy.
Claremont, NH
(Zone 5a)

March 10, 2012
4:24 PM

Post #9037316

This has happened to me before with my grape tomato seeds.

The best way to try to prevent this is to not put the cup in a warm place and keep it out of the sunlight. That can help prevent this whole thing from happening but it is not 100%. The cup for fermenting the seeds should be kept in a dark place. If you are worried save a couple of tomatoes and try again if this happens, luckily it happened to me before my plants were done fruiting...

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