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New to growing your own tomatoes? This is the forum to learn the successful techniques used by seasoned tomato growers. Questions are welcome, too.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
Greatgardens
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Default Processing Seeds?

I'm curious about how others process their seeds.

We probably all use about the same method, but I'm sure there are a few nuances and tricks that are employed. I typically process about one tomato at a time, which is all I'd ever need + some for sharing occasionally. I use a little 3 oz plastic cup with lid, and add the seeds + a small amount of water (plain non-chlorinated) -- maybe a couple of teaspoons to make the mass "runny." I typically let the seeds set for 4 or 5 days. I rarely get any thick fermentation scum on the surface. I shake the container a couple of times a day, hopefully to get the gel to sluff off the seeds. Then I rinse several times and spread out on wax paper and let them air-dry for typically a week. Finally, I break up the clumps and store in plastic bags.

Do you do anything differently? Length of time, etc.? Does anyone add any chemicals to the seeds during processing? Do you do any post-treatment such as hot water or peroxide, etc.?

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
Barb_FL
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Mine sit for at most 3 days. I put them in the pool pump room where it is dark. sometimes I put a paper towel over them but not always.

Mine always have the slimy crust.

After I take off the top, I rinse them thoroughly in a strainer and put them on cardboard. Since our A/C is running pretty much 24/7, they dry fast.

Scrape them off into the baggies.

I'm growing more hybrids since last season, so fermenting is way down. I don't miss it one bit.

If I eat a '10' tomato, I will save seeds without fermenting by thoroughly cleaning with the strainer, drying, saving.

Last edited by Barb_FL; 4 Weeks Ago at 11:36 AM.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
Labradors2
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I do it pretty much the same as you, Greatgardens.

I only need a small amount so I went to the thrift store and bought a set of liquor glasses to ferment in. Early in the season I just add a little water and let them sit. Later, when the fruit flies are around, I cover the tops with plastic wrap secured with an elastic band. I write the name on masking tape and stick it on the glass, leaving it for around 5 days or whenever I see a mat forming on the top. (I think you would get a mat if you added less water, but sometimes it evaporates fast and needs additional water).

After scraping off the mat, I pour everything into a wire tea strainer and blast it with water, then sit it on a dishcloth for a minute to absorb some of the moisture before upending it onto a ceramic plate and spreading the seeds around with a knife. The masking tape label is transferred to the plate and I leave it on a sunny windowsill for several days to dry before scraping the seeds off with my finger into a plastic baggie.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
SeanInVa
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Pretty much the same as well. Seeds in a small glass, I usually just cover with a paper towel and set on top of the fridge for 3-5 days. Rake the top mold layer off, dump into a hand sieve and rinse with water. I usually have to agitate the seeds a bit to get all the gel sacs off. Dump onto a paper towel to absorb some moisture, then onto a small ceramic plate I then put back on the fridge for a few days to dry. Once dried, I dump them into a small plastic seed pouch and label them.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
GrowingCoastal
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If the seeds are grown in an area where there are diseases people often add a short bleach rinse for 2-3 min as a last step. If you can search it out, here at T'vll, there is a thread on seed saving methods. Probably more than one
Carolyn said that about 15% water can be added to seeds if not wet enough. I did not get good results using water so I added juice from other tomatoes if the seeds were too dry.
Here's Tatiana's page on it.
http://tatianastomatobase.com/wiki/A...g_Fermentation
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
ddsack
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I ferment larger batches as others have described, but often I want to save seeds from a really good tasting tomato I've just eaten. In that case, I scrape the seeds from the cutting board into a small cup, add just enough water to cover (1/4" - 1/2") add a small amount of Oxi-clean powder (1/4 tsp or tip of a knife) mix thoroughly and leave it for about 1/2 hour to remove the gel. Amounts and times are not strictly observed. If I pass by, I may stir it a few times. Then rinse seeds well in a sieve. I immerse the sieve in a full cup of hottish water and rub the seeds well in several changes of water, before more final tap rinses. I thwack the sieve contents into a #4 flat cone coffee filter supported by a cup. Then I lay the filter flat, and use a plastic knife to evenly spread the seeds in one layer. All filters have the name, date and any notes written on them before the seeds are added. In fact, being forgetful, I make up the labeled filter right after I put the seeds into the oxi, because half an hour later, I may not remember which tomato I ate! They dry quickly laid out, and can then be filed standing up, alphabetically, in an open shoe box where they continue to dry til I have time to deal with them. As they dry, they adhere to the paper. You use a fingernail or a small spoon or knife to rub them off. Eventually when I have time in the winter, I move them into plastic mini-ziplocks.

My problem with fermenting small amounts has been out of sight, out of mind, and sometimes they dry up before I remember I need to do something. Or if it's tightly covered, they may have sprouted. With the oxi, it's one and done, the same day.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
Greatgardens
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That is interesting about the Oxi removing the gel rapidly. Presume that doesn't affect germination (although even if it did by a relatively small amount, it wouldn't matter). One day sounds appealing -- I'll have to try that. And that is a nice write-up from Ted at Tatiana's Tomatobase -- hadn't seen that one.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #8
FarmerShawn
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Lately I've been doing lots of seed saving. Here's my tweaks to the method: squeeze seeds and juice/gel into a small plastic cup. Only add water if absolutely necessary. Write info (name, characteristics, as needed) on a small post-it and tape to the cup. Place cups in a 1020 tray and move them to an outdoor shed, so as to not worry about fruit flies and odors. I try to average a week or so fermentation, but I never stir them. When I think they are ready, or I have time, I run a small stream of water into the cup at arm's length, to maximize agitation. Tip the cup back and forth to stop swirling and let viable seeds settle, then pour off the liquid, leaving seeds. Repeat two or three times, until water and seeds are clean. Add a bit more water and swirl, then dump into a small sieve, tap the sieve onto a paper towel to wick away excess moisture, then dump onto a cheap (uncoated) paper plate to which the post-it has been moved. Tap with the sieve bottom to make a single layer. I stack the plates with a bamboo skewer between each plate for drying. After they are pretty dry, I take the skewers out, just to save space. They stick to the plates nicely. When it's time to package them up, a spatula scrapes them off the plate easily. I use paper coin envelopes, because my clumsy fingers despise the tiny ziplocks. And the coin envelopes fit nicely into the 3-ring binder pages.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
brownrexx
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I use paper envelopes for storage, not plastic.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
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Paper coin envelops for me too.
As for processing a little water mold seeds drop done deal.
Don't disturb the colony by fiddling with them.
I cant explain it better.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #11
bower
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I ended up with a set of dedicated pint mason jars for tomato seeds. Easy clean up, easy to look at the bottom and see that the seeds have settled. Adding a little water works well for me, so often saving one tomato and if you forget that, it dries up. Lids on keeps it cleaner, I don't want to wait for blue and green molds to form on top of the lacto cap either, so I check on them instead of having a set number of days. Add water down the side to float the cap and loosen any seeds attached to it. I have a plastic fork that I use to loosen any tomato material still around the seeds, add water and pour off the tomato bits twice then seeds go in the little seive and a rinse. I use painter's tape to label the mason, and move that to the dish where the seeds are drying. And it can seal the paper envelope too.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #12
Cole_Robbie
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Oxy clean. Heaping kitchen tsp and 1 cup water/seeds and juice. 30 to 45 minutes is enough time to leave it, but forgetting and leaving it overnight does not hurt the seeds. Spray off in a strainer. I get virtually 100% germination with this method. Obviously, fermenting works too, but Oxy Clean is the easy way, for me at least.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #13
Greatgardens
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Here's a follow-up question and another small tidbit for my process.

Question: has anyone processed seeds from frozen tomatoes? Does it work or does the freezing process damage the seeds? Does it make things easier to process or more difficult?

Tidbit: when I dump out my processed seeds after rinsing onto wax paper, I take the folded edge of a paper towel to carefully wick up the excess water, pressing the paper towel to the waxed paper from the side. This wicks the water away easily without getting a bunch of seeds stuck to the paper towel that must be scraped off.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #14
brownrexx
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I don't save as many seeds as some of you but I pour off any floating moldy stuff and then dump the rest of the water containing the seeds through a small sieve.

I dump the drained seeds onto a coated paper plate and they dry very nicely and do not stick.

I have never tried a frozen tomato but since some people keep their seeds in the freezer, I would guess that the seeds in a frozen tomato would still be viable.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #15
Worth1
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I think they would die too much moisture in the seeds.
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