Sunday, November 16, 2008

Starting out on Saving Seeds!!

I've decided to try and save some seeds this year and then to grow them on next year.  I really don't know what I'm doing so I thought if I posted this piece here, describing what I have done, along with what I am intending to do, then it is likely that someone will read my piece, throw their hands up in horror and say...."OH  NOOOOO!!!  Don't do that whatever you do!!!"  and if it really is my lucky day, that person will then leave a comment saying what it is I shouldn't do and exactly why!!!!

So to start...


Ok, I have got some seeds from my tomatoes.  I chose just one variety of tomato, a simple red cherry tomato and kept about a dozen fruits from the six plants.    I then cut open the fruits and separated out the seeds and the pulp in a bowl of water.   Next, I collected the seeds together and discarded the pulp, and placed all the seeds in a paper coffee filter to dry.   Once they had completely dried, I transferred them to another coffee filter and sealed it.

Next I did lettuce......this time I let a couple of plants bolt and produce seeds, then I picked them and separated out the seeds from the chaff before putting them into coffee filter papers and sealing.

I was given some green sweet peppers by a friend who I know grows only open pollinated seeds so this time, I just harvested the seeds when I used the peppers.  I was also given some Charentais melons which again, I know, the farmer concerned only grows from kept seed, is completely organic and, in fact, grows them on my land.....So again, I just harvested the seeds when I prepared the melons....again drying them in a paper coffee filter before sealing the packs.

My intention is to grow on all of these seeds next year.   If I am successful, then I shall do the same again in the autumn 2009 and then, maybe I could offer some of the seeds to exchange....  It would be a start.......


Anonymous said...

Tomatoes do well if you ferment them before drying. Just squeeze the tomato into a small jar, add a little water and close the lif tightly. Leave until it gets a gungy green brown blacking scum on top. About 3 weeks. Carefully remove the lid away from direct contact with your nose. Lift the scum and discard it, then put the remaining stuff through a sieve, running water through it until all jelly is gone. Then dry out on paper plates, coffee filters or whatever. Fermenting destroys any virus or bacterial disease. Do this with any seeds that have a jelly coating. Most cherry types will grow just from dropped fruits though. With 'dry' seeds like lettuce, just air dry in a cool place and store in paper bags.

Daphne said...

I've always fermented my tomato seeds too, but only for 3 days or so - unless I forget about them like I did this year :/. Basically I wait for a white mold to form all over the top. If you let it sit too long the seeds will start to germinate.

I've heard several reasons to do the fermentation. It gets rid of that gel that surrounds each seed. It gets rid of a chemical that inhibits the germination of the seed. And as Cosmic said it helps destroy diseases that might be on it.

Kate said...

I think what you have done will be fine Ian, except for the green peppers. I am not sure but I would have thought that the peppers would need to be ripe to have mature seeds. Green peppers turn red when they are fully ripe. The melons should be fabulous especially as they are so local....even to your own land!

Patrick said...

Here I am, late again. Everyone has already said it all.

Yes, it's better if you ferment the tomato seeds, but it's not necessary. While there's nothing wrong with what Cosmic and Daphne said, I've also made a post on it if you want to read about it in more detail. Do you know your plants weren't F1s?

Melons cross pollinate easily, so it's important the melon you saved seeds from wasn't grown near any other varieties.

And, yes, like Kate said, you probably won't have much luck from a green pepper. Better germination test the seeds in a wet paper towel.

Good luck!

Ian said...

Hi everybody, and thanks for all the advice. Welcome to Cosmic and Daphne...hope you like the blog.

On the melon issue, I don't really know how far apart they have to be, Patrick, but these were grown in my own field and were the only melon variety grown. It's possible that a neighbour grew another variety although I do know that the nearest neighbour also grew charentais last year, and as I didn't grow any at all, that would make the nearest possible place for a different variety about 500 mtrs away.
I've saved the pepper seeds now so I'll try a germination test and I'll know for next year.

Patrick said...

500m is pretty safe. I wouldn't worry about crossing.

Besides, if you are growing it in your own garden, it might be interested to see what you get if there was a little crossing anyway.