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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   #16
bower
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
I think they would die too much moisture in the seeds.

Right!

Carolyn's words: "Freezing tomato seeds is what many gene banks do, as well as some home growers, but you have to reduce the moisture content to about 6-8 % before freezing them. That way ice crystals won't disrupt the integrity of the seeds and destroy them. "
Seeds in frozen tomatoes are goners, only dry seeds freeze well and stay viable.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #17
Nan_PA_6b
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Volunteer plants would seem to indicate that freezing a tomato is OK, but I've not done the experiment. Think I'll do that...


My method.

1. Seed tomato
2. Get a smooth plastic plate, put a label on it with masking tape, tomato type & date.
3. Put seeds/gel in cup.
4. Add a teensy bit of water.
5. Add about 1/4 teaspoon Oxi Clean & stir

6. Wait at least 30 min.
7. Stir cup, dump into fine strainer.
8. Gently smoosh seeds around the strainer to remove bits of goo.
9. Rinse thoroughly. If seeds are still gooey, repeat step 8.
10. Rinse out cup & fill to brim with water.
11. Carefully updump strainer contents into cup.

12. Examine water in cup. If it has bits of tomato or floating seeds, pour off the water and re-fill. Repeat until water is clear.

13. Rinse strainer clean. Pour water & seeds into strainer.
14. Dab bottom of strainer onto dish towel to blot excess water.
15. Updump strainer onto labeled plate.
16. Using popsicle stick, arrange seeds in rows of 10. (Can get about 300 seeds on 1 plate).

17. Count seeds & put that # on the label. (If seeds come unstuck from the plate, you still know what you've got.)

18. Dry for 2 weeks or more.
19. Put in coin envelope so they can continue drying, if need be. Transfer label from plate to envelope. Or, process in lots of 10 seeds into plastic envelopes with little labels, ready for the MMMM.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #18
Tormato
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"(Not) Shaken, not stirred."


Agent 014 (twice as good as Bond)


I NEVER touch a container of fermenting seeds. I let it do its business, usually 2-4 days depending on temps.


After fermenting, I peel off the "pudding top", transfer the rest to a larger container where width and depth are fairly equal, add lots of water, wait a few seconds until almost all seeds have settled, pour off "floaters", debris and most water, repeat if necessary until it's virtually 100% seed, transfer to wire mesh strainer (holes small enough to hold cherry tomato seeds), rinse under faucet, tap strainer to get off excess water, dump on folded paper towel, PLACE LABEL ON PAPER TOWEL THAT WILL NOT SMUDGE/BLEED/DISLODGE, dry for about a week, crumble/seperate seeds, place in Smirnoff nip bottles "donated" by local drunken litterbug, shake bottles about twice a week, for weeks, until this anal retentive seed saver is convinced that they are really dry.


I like working with as many tomatoes of a single variety as possible at one fermentation. With cherries it's easy. With beefsteaks and hearts, not so much. In a very exceptional year it can be 100+ varieties, about 5,000 seeds on average for a variety, for 500,000+ total seeds.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #19
Nan_PA_6b
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Half a million seeds! Are you supplying retail?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #20
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Some people use a blender on low for a couple seconds to remove the gel sacks. I've tried it, but it can destroy and chip some of the seeds (it works better for some varieties than others), but it's extremely effective at removing the gel sacks.

What I usually do is rub the gel sacks off in a strainer, put the seeds in empty labeled herbal tea bags, put the sacks in a widemouth quart or pint jar (with other seeds in herbal tea bags), zap them with my Z4EX (15 minutes per frequency), and set the herbal tea bags of seeds out to dry on brown paper bags in a room with a fan. Anyway, it's faster than fermenting, and I'm satisfied with the results. The zapping is an experimental precaution against disease and also helps to dissolve left over gel sacks debris that I miss. It just electrocutes the seeds with certain frequencies with square waves with a positive offset, and it releases antimicrobial copper into the water. The hypothesis is that the electrocuting removes pathogens, if they exist.

I kind of wonder if just freezing the seeds after they're dry would be enough to remove most diseases, though (many diseases die over the winter, anyhow). Maybe I'll test that without zapping seeds some year.

I'd probably ferment seeds more, but I don't have much room to do it (I save a lot of kinds of seeds). Plus, it's nice to get to eat the tomatoes.

Last edited by shule1; 4 Weeks Ago at 10:16 PM.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nan_PA_6b View Post
Half a million seeds! Are you supplying retail?

Unbeknownst to me, yes.



The half mil is a rare year, it maybe happens one in 5 or more years.

With that many seeds, it's impossible to trade them all. One year I had a request for bulk packs of as many varieties as possible, no request for specific varieties though. Several years later, when I asked a T'ville member in Europe how they received one of my named varieties, they said eBay.



A typical year is more like 100,000 seeds. I print and cut labels (unlike my handwritten pink labels in the MMMM), supply bulk packs of seeds, and several thousand zip baggies to the Master Gardeners in my area. They bag seeds w/labels during the 17 day State fair. They have to occupy the booths in teams for 12 hours a day, 4 hours or more in shifts. When they aren't answering gardening questions, packing seeds staves off boredom. The fair had approximately 1.7 million visitors this year, so it's the easiest way to give away my surplus.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #22
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I don't know about all frozen seeds being goners. I would not recommend it on a regular basis and it may kill some of the seeds but I always have volunteer tomatoes germinating in the spring and we get lots of below freezing temperatures.

If you have a special tomato that froze, I would save lots of seeds and see if you can get some to germinate.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #23
shule1
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If they're frozen wet outdoors, they might live. If they're frozen wet in the freezer, I have my doubts.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #24
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Yeah, the outdoor survivors are in a situation where the excess moisture can drain away from them and/or be soaked up by absorbent soil. I would think the first frost likely cause the wet part of the fruit to burst and removes some of the 'deathtrap' effect on the seeds. Still you may rarely see 100% germination of volunteers from a tomato - only the lucky, which managed to be dry enough to freeze safely, or managed to be in a warm pocket of soil where they weren't frozen solid, can survive. For a seed in a fruit in a bag in the freezer, there's zero chance to get lucky. But if anyone has doubts, please experiment and share your results!
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bower View Post
... For a seed in a fruit in a bag in the freezer, there's zero chance to get lucky. But if anyone has doubts, please experiment and share your results!
Tomato Science! Yay! I can't pass up an opportunity like that. I've taken tomatoes from my upstairs and downstairs freezers, and cleaned seeds, dried for 3 days, and planted. Results will be posted.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #26
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Looking forward to your results, Nan!

I think a lot of the volunteers that come up are from partially split rotten tomatoes, in which case they are already self fermented, and the surrounding flesh is more pasty than liquid as it dries. So they likely have a different freezing point than thinner water does and may have time to keep drying. Or they have spilled out from the cracked fruit on the ground, in which case they often had time to dry a bit before going dormant in the cold.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #27
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I always like when people go against the rules and step outside the lines.
That is how new discoveries are made.
An example is high speed steel.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #28
shule1
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@bower, Nan, ddsack, and Worth,

I've frozen whole tomatoes in plastic zipper bags in the freezer, saved the seeds and planted them. None of the ones I planted sprouted, and I overseeded (which is why I had my doubts), but I have several more varieties I haven't tested (still have the seeds). The ones I did test were all F2s from the Brandy Boy cross that I have (although they were from a number of frozen fruits). The unfrozen F2 seeds all sprouted (I mean, I overseeded those also and got lots of germination from each fruit). I had all these seeds in an unheated greenhouse. I might try some from frozen fruits indoors, since they might sprout faster that way.

One of the differences between a freezer and outdoors is that the freezer generally gets extremely cold (not just freezing), all at once, and stays that way consistently.

For the seeds that I planted from frozen fruits, I froze them for at least a number of days, I think. A shorter time might yield different results, as might a different variety or germination method. Or, if I planted the seeds directly, without drying them, that might prove to be different, too.

It's also possible that freezing doesn't kill the seeds at all, but that it makes them go dormant. Maybe in nature lighter freezes and thaws wake a seed up after harder freezes make them dormant (or other triggers).

I still have the frozen Brandy Boy cross F2 seeds (as well as the other varieties).

It'll be great to hear Nan's results.

Last edited by shule1; 3 Weeks Ago at 08:47 AM.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #29
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So lets say we stored some tomato seeds in liquid nitrogen.
Would that kill them?
We are talking cryopreservation.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryopr...ezable_tissues
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #30
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shule1, to me the difference is the amount of moisture inside the seed itself, not so much the external moisture. It would make sense to me, that if the seed has had no chance to dry somewhat before it freezes, it would be the expansion of ice crystals inside the seed in the embryo that would "explode" or damage those cells so they die. If a seed is very dry, there is no moisture inside to expand so freezing can't harm them.



Worth, hard to say - wiki does say Plant seeds or shoots may be cryopreserved for conservation purposes. But that sounds like just for looking at them, not that they would necessarily be functioning after thawing.
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