Thursday, September 19, 2013

saving for a rainy day

On our weekly visit to the local farm for our fall CSA pick-up, I noticed two varieties of small tomatoes that looked practically untouched by the blight. I inquired, what kinds were they, and were they hybrids? No, heirloom tomatoes, a cherry by the name of 'Matt's Wild', and a medium to small size vine tomato called 'Mountain Magic'. I spoke to the farmer a bit more, and not only was I allowed to take a few of each to save seeds, I was even given a crash course on how to do it! So I'll document that here.
To some veteran gardeners, this might be old news, but to me, seed saving was somehow always intimidating, something one would have to learn a lot about before attempting it. A mental hang-up. Of course, then I realized I'm already doing it, if not on purpose then by accident, because I always end up growing a few volunteer tomatoes that sprout out of my sloppily finished compost. So maybe I can make the process a tad more intentional this coming year.
So here we go. Collect ripe fruits. Scoop out the seeds, and put them in cups, then add water. Remove the fleshy bits, and if you have floating seeds, remove those, too.
Then let the seeds sit overnight in the water to break down the gelatinous layer around each seed a bit.
The next morning, I took them out and rinsed them in a tea strainer, then put them out on a paper towel to dry. So that's that. I'll store them in paper envelopes with my other seeds, in a dry cool place, and I'll be excited to test for germination in March or so.
You notice, I saved three kinds of seeds. The third kind is from a most marvelous fruit called ground cherry, or husk tomato. This family agrees: they are the candy of the vegetable world. What fun to unwrap one, and bite into it for an amazing mix of sweet and tangy, and that fun 'pop' sensation. Can't wait to grow them next season.

Manic Mother