by Sandy Swegel
To get the best tomato plants, you need the best seed. If you want to save your own tomato seeds, you need to select from the very best tomatoes this year.
Timing is critical. My friend Frank is a wonderful market farmer who has taught many of us a lot about organic growing.http://www.fatherearthorganicfarm.com/aboutus.htm. Yesterday, he emailed us an alert saying,
“So pick your best, most ripe (even to the point of over-ripe) tomato, pepper, etc., and save and dry the seed. Choosing an over-ripe veggie will ensure the seed has fully developed. If you wait for a frost or freeze before you pick the fruit or veggie, most of the seed will not be developed enough to be viable next year. “
That makes perfect sense, but many years it’s not been until the first frost that I remember that summer is over and I’d better save some seed. Although I’m not as bad as my friend who had planted a mixed pack of heirloom seeds and just realized she had served the last of the best tasting of those tomatoes in a sandwich to her daughter. Dear daughter still tells the story of crazy mom running across the room to yank the sandwich out of her hand and claim the tomato for its seeds.
Once you’ve selected an overripe tomato to be next year’s seeds, be sure to taste the tomato to make sure it’s the perfect tomato. A restaurant critic I know calls this the Platonic Tomato….the tomato that in its very form and essence defines what a tomato is.
You’ve probably read lots of online info about saving tomato seeds…you need to let them ferment a bit in a saucer before letting the seed dry and then save it in a cool dry place for next year. Even though this is easy, I have to admit most the time I let the organic farmers who grow for us at BBB Seed just do all that work and I buy the seed in the cute packet in January.
That said, I’m off for my morning breakfast of slices of tomatoes with my morning egg from my backyard chickens with some melted Swiss cheese. It doesn’t get better than this!!!