Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Adventure Continues - Collecting Tomato Seeds

Saturday morning - 7 am.  Today is the day to start saving the heirloom tomato seeds to pass on.  I want to do mine before the deer continue to pester my garden and I lose my tomatoes.  An elaborate set of fence posts and stakes now don my patch.

Links to directions for collecting seeds are on both the Brandywine Pink and the WV 63 pages, but I will link again here for easy access.  The directions on Collecting West Virginia '63 Tomato Seeds are excellent - prepared by the WVU Extension Service and include detailed photographs and step-by-step directions.  These are the directions I am following. The link above to Brandywine Pink is an excellent article written by Horticulture Specialist John Jett at WVU. He discusses the feasibility of seed saving, why not to collect hybrid seeds and contains other great information.

Let's begin!  Tools:  cutting board, knife, clean glass jars, labels and, of course, my tomatoes.  I have two Brandywine Pinks and a Mortgage Lifter from Buffy Sprout.  Pretty easy - all of 5 minutes once I have my tools ready.   Slice, squeeze, add water, label and done!  Remember to stir.
Saving the rest of the Mortgage Lifter to have on a tomato sandwich later on.

Tomatoes cut in half and
prepared jars.
Sliced Brandywine Pink
Brandywine Pink seeds in the jar

Water added to the jars.  Labeled each jar
with specific tomato variety and dated.
Very important to label & date!

Now to wait a few days and let the hopefully viable seeds sink to the bottom.  I wound up adding slightly more water to the jars to allow the "bad" seeds to float to the top. It is easier to scoop off the bad stuff that way.  The directions say to repeatedly add water, stir and pour off the top layer of water until only the viable seeds remain.  I will publish more photos as I do this.

August 20, 2014 (By WV Sprout)
Brandywine Pink seeds have a large amount of non-viable seeds. After much discussion with Barbara Tuffli, GCA Seed Share Vice-Chairman,  over problems with our Brandywine Pink seeds, we have decided not to save these.   More on this later after in a separate post.  Still waiting to see if anyone gets any Brandywines that have good taste and production.  We are reading lots of good articles on heirlooms, hybrids, cross pollination and will share links soon.   I have a fair amount of Mortgage Lifter seeds from a tomato shared by a friend that we will share. 

September, 2014
Seeds were collected from WV 63 and sent to 2014 Shirley Meniece Conference as well as saving a few for our group to try again next year.  They are a delicious tomato - the taste makes up for the small size!  Also sent a few of Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifters and a few Amish Paste.  I hope that anyone attending the conference will let us know next year how our seeds perform!

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