An Adventure in Saving Tomato Seeds

seed saving and fermenting tomatoes in a jar

Are these things going to even grow next season??

In the spring of 2017, my family and I purchased two heirloom tomato plants at the local farmer’s market. All of the plants grew like milked weeds until we started noticing that many of the plants had bites taken out of the fruit. A little bugger of critter was swiping our chow! 

One of our fine neighbors must have noticed the problem as well, because we noticed a couple of poisoned mice in the coming weeks. One in our yard and one on a sidewalk in our neighborhood.  

Time passed along and in the spring of 2018 we noticed a tomato plant sprouting up in our yard. It grew mighty close to an underground termite poison, so we were wary of eating the fruit. However, save the seeds? We will.

Well, I am just an aspiring farmer and have no idea how to save seeds. So, I did what any of y’all would do and duckduckgo’d it.  I found this article and have been following it (sort of) closely: 

How To Save Tomato Seeds

It is already late November, but tomatoes were still growing on our plant, so I collected about 15 of them and chopped them in half, like the article recommended. However, I missed the part about scooping the seeds out, so I had to do that several days later – probably just made it more gross as there was mold and stankiness to deal with. Another deviation from the article was that I waited for 6 days before I removed the seeds and cleaned them and started drying them.  I was a little worried at first, because my wife noticed the seeds were hairy! Uh-oh, did they start to germinate? I leveraged duckduckgo again and found this article that says this is how the seeds should look – relief! Article: Another helpful article on saving seeds

Here is a picture of the seeds currently. I will update this article after the seeds are planted.

Drying tomato seeds on a ceramic plate
seeds drying on a ceramic plate

Why save seeds?

Not too long ago, almost everyone saved seeds. From the graphs on this page, you can see that almost all people used to be involved in agriculture: Decline in agricultural employmentClearly, much of this is due to advances in machinery and technology. But what about the lost knowledge of individuals that no longer can provide their own food? This is a loss of individuals to be independent and thus a loss of certain freedoms.

Additionally, I will leave you with this passage from an alarming article about the reduction in diversity of food sources:

In the last hundred years we have experienced a massive loss of varietal diversity, something that can easily be seen in supermarket grocery stores. In 1903 there were 288 varieties of beet available, by 1983 there were 17 [RAFI USA] and the average supermarket consumer is likely to be aware of only one or two. There are many reasons for this, but the take away for this article is that diversity is good and we are losing it.

from Mother Earth News