Written for Self Reliant Network
By: Mikey Haven
Pick fruit of plants that bear seeds embedded or encased in edible flesh -cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers-should be slightly overripe before being picked. Let the fruit develop just past the point where you’d want to eat it. Tomatoes should be soft, cucumbers yellow, pepper red and wrinkling.
Tomato seeds will be protected against bacterial canker if you let the seedy pulp ferment for a few days. In addition, fermentation dissolves the
gelatinous coats surrounding the tomato seeds. Just spoon the tomato pulp into a jar, cover it with water, and set it where you’ll remember to check on it.
In several days you’ll notice that the good, heavy seeds have sunk to the bottom, while the pulp and the poor lightweight seeds have risen to the top.
Pour off the matter on top and strain out the good seeds. Some gardeners follow the same procedure with cucumber seeds.
Spread seeds on newspapers in a dry, well-ventilated place. Chang the papers once or twice. Dry for two weeks or until well dry. Seeds that are well dried will break when you bend it rather than rebound to its original shape.
Storing seeds between 32 - 41 degrees will keep well. Screw-top glass jars, plastic or metal film containers, or vitamin bottles work well for storing seeds
To sum up, store your seeds cool, clean, dry, covered, labeled, and insect-proof.
Let the frost sparkle in the grass and the winds blow. You’re ready--already--for the next planting time.
Tomato seed viability, if done correctly, is approximately four years.