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Saving seeds

Saving seeds. Our gardening columnist Carolyn Herriott tells us about the benefit of harvesting your own seeds.

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Carolyn's Seed Saving Tips:

Tomato seeds should undergo a wet fermentation process for a few days, which eliminates seed-borne pathogens and allows dead seeds to float to the surface of the water. Choose tomatoes that display desirable traits such as high yields, early ripening, disease resistance or excellent flavour.

 
Cut the tomatoes in half. Squeeze the seeds and pulp into a container, and put a plastic label in for identification. Leave the seeds to ferment for four days, during which time a white 'scum' forms on top. This dissolves the gelatinous seed layer, preparing the seeds for future germination.
 
After four, but no more than five days, rinse the seeds in a large bowl of water. Good seeds sink to the bottom. Gently pour the floating 'scum' off, repeating the rinsing as many times as you need, until all that's left in the bottom of the bowl are clean seeds.
 
Give these a final rinse through a sieve; tapping off excess moisture before spreading the seeds over a plate to dry. Label the plate, so you don't muddle up varieties being collected.
 
Place the plates of seeds in a sunny window for a day or two to dry them. Crumble the seeds with your fingers to separate any that are stuck together. Leave them in a warm place for a few more days to thoroughly dry. Store the seeds in labeled, airtight tubs. Tomato seeds stored properly will germinate for at least five years

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