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There are more steps for tomatoes that will help germination and help prevent disease. Cut the tomato in half lengthwise and scoop out the goop and seeds. Then put it all in a jar and cover with water. Cover the top of the jar with cheese cloth or other material that is porous enough to let air in and out. You could use wax paper and poke holes in it. I use a small canning jar and secure the cloth with just the band.
Place this in a warm place. Sunny window sill, top of the fridge or water heater. The process is fermentation and will take a few days. Once a day stir the contents of the jar. When the fermentation is done most of the glop should be floating on the surface.
Now you can remove the glop and rinse the seeds well in a fine sieve. Spread them out on a dry surface. I find a coffee filter is a good thing to use. You want the seeds to be as single layer and as separate as possible and make sure they dry thoroughly before storing. The seeds should move around freely and not stick together.
I like to store mine in paper envelopes. Little manila coin envelopes are ideal for small quantities. Some people use plastic but I worry that moisture might get trapped in and ruin the seeds. Then comes the long wait until it is time to plant.
Anyway that is how I do it and it works. There may be better or just different methods. I hope this helps and good luck.
marciaspe: Not sure what you mean by any seed. The reason, as I understand it, that you do this with tomato seeds is that the gelatinous substance that surrounds the seeds is there specifically to prevent the seeds from sprouting inside the tomato. Left to its own devices the tomato would fall to the ground and gradually rot away until all that was left would be the seeds. Or, it would be eaten and the animal's digestive function would serve the same purpose of removing the protective layers. This is just my understanding from things I have gleaned and not based on any real knowlege. Amazing the lengths we go to in order to reproduce what happens naturally.
To soak seeds that do not need the fermentation process would risk the seed starting to sprout in the water and the subsequent drying could easily make the seed non-germinating.
Sometimes, if you are as neglectful as I am, tomato seeds sprout during this process, as well!
I've never bothered with covering the glass or jar. Seems like extra work and materials.
Oh, and Laura, don't forget to label the jars/glasses/or whatever!!! I did that one year and din't know what I was growing the next year until I had tomatoes on the vine! Entertaining, but dumb!
Yes, as Z says, the whole point is to ferment off the sticky goo that surrounds the seeds. This is also done with cucumber seeds, by the way. Of, course, you want the mold to separate from the seeds. If tou do this right, usually most of the good seeds sink to the bottom, making it easy to pour off the fermented goo and the immature seeds.
You are so right. I saved some from Kiwi fruit and it was a big job.
this way would be so much easier. I am going to start some more in the spring
and try to see if mulching them deep, will save them through the cold. I am in Spokane WA
If you check the resource "sticky" thread at the top of the tomato forum, you'll find a great tutorial by Horseshoe on how to ferment tomato seeds for seed saving... pretty much as Michael said. :-)
I remove the gunk from the seeds after fermenting by adding water, swishing, and pouring the water off (repeatedly). The seeds sink to the bottom of the glass, and everything else floats up and gets rinsed away.
I think cucumber seeds are also saved this way, as P. said.
It's now 11:08. We are 9 hours later than you!
I really love it here. We live in the country, in a small village on the slopes of the Jura, where we have a view over the valley of the Rhone River and Lake Geneva to the Alps that would cost us a million bucks in the US! People are friendly & courteous. The weather is generally pretty pleasant. We'll be back in Spokane on home leave next month and I can't say I'm looking forward to it. My daughter told me its 95 and dry!
Sorry, the 67 was for Spokane. I meant to make that clearer. My cousin is getting married over there on Friday, so I've vaguely been paying attention to the weather over there. My aunt and her family live on the other side of the mountains.
Today was 96 degrees and 62 Degrees tonight, we had thunder and winds,causing some fires when the trees were blown over on the electric lines.
I know this is a gardening site but would love to see pictures of gardens were you are.