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Seed to Seed | How to Save Seeds from Plants

Author C. Sanders. Published on May 30, 2011 - 11:57 pm (945 views — 618 words)

The seeds that gardeners hold today during planting time are links to an unbroken chain dating back for many years. Old varieties of plants are severely threatened today because they are not suitable for factory farmers and the food processing industry.

The old varieties of plants will survive and flourish only if they continue to be grown and preserved by "backyard gardeners".

You as well, can take part in the global preservation effort that the government is trying to shut down by passing laws that would put a monopoly on seed supplying. The government is also in the works to pass a law that could potentially make it unlawful for you to even have a garden. But that is for another day.

Saving Seeds (In this example, a Tomato)

Take the tomato you are going to use, and slice it in half across the middle. With a spoon or well-washed fingers, scoop out the seeds and their "goop" into a small clean container. Add a a few teaspoons of water to the seeds. Cover the container with a piece of plastic wrap, and then poke the plastic wrap with a knife or pen to create a small hole so that air can travel back and forth in and out of the container. Fresh air needs to be able to enter the container to allow for fermentation.

Place the container of seeds and water in a warm location. Either a sunny windowsill, or even the top of the refrigerator are both good places for the container. At this time, the fermentation process begins and will take about 2-4 days. Each night, remove the plastic wrap, stir the seed mixture and replace the plastic wrap onto the container. Remember, the hole needs to be in the top for air.

The top of the liquid mixture will look scum-like when the fermentation process has separated the goop from the seeds. This also helps in destroying many possible tomato diseases that can be harbored by seeds.

At the sink, carefully spoon away the scum surface. Pour the contents of the container into a fine kitchen sieve and rinse with water many times. Make sure the surfaces of the seeds are thoroughly rinsed and as clean as possible. Try to shake off excess water from the sieve before continuing to the next step.

Line an open plate with a piece of waxed paper or a large automatic-drip coffee filter. Place the rinsed seeds onto the wax paper or coffee filter and spread them about so they are in a single layer.

Place the plate in a safe location where the seeds can dry for a few days. Stir the seeds a few times during the drying process to assure that all their surfaces are evenly dry. Spread them out again into a single layer after each time you've stirred them. Tomato seeds are thick and can take up to a week to dry thoroughly. If you're having a rainy week that drying time may lengthen by a few days.

How do I know when the seeds are dry? Dried seeds move quickly and easily across a plate, they do not stick to each other.

How do I store them?

Paper packets are great storage containers, or some folks like plastic. Whichever envelope style you choose is a matter of personal preference. If you choose to store your seeds in plastic the seeds must be completely dry, otherwise any moisture in the seeds will be transferred to all seeds inside the plastic packet, it will foster mildew and rotting and the seeds will be ruined.

Can other seeds be saved using this method?

Hundreds of vegetable varieties can be saved using this exact method.