On Saving Tomato Seeds and Using Hügelkultur
I have been saving tomato seeds for almost 5 decades. The raw seed going straight to a paper towel to dry works, but it is a hassle getting the seed detached from the towel. Seeds with gel are really stuck to the paper towels.
Greetings fellow gardeners,
This morning I woke up to the glorious sound of rain. I listened for some time as it splashed off the rain barrel and ran down the driveway. It made me so happy. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have to water the garden tomorrow, but for now my plants are smiling.
The next sowing of lettuce seeds is up and should be ready in about two weeks. As the weather grows cooler, you will find your lettuce seeds germinate quickly. You can keep planting lettuce seeds for a few more weeks.
Re-cycling in Hügelkultur
Our tomato plants are starting to wind down. Be sure to discard any stems and fallen tomatoes in the green bin and not in your compost. Blight can easily overwinter in your compost, and you do not want to reintroduce it to your tomato seedlings in the spring. As a precaution I am going to take all the dirt my tomatoes grew in and put it on my hügelkultur. While it is advisable to take the top portion of your tomato dirt away every second year, I empty my large pots completely and start fresh. I am not putting the dirt in my working compost, but it will cycle through its issues on the hügelkultur.
As you can see, my hügelkultur is supporting a couple of lovely zucchinis. I had planted a squash as well, but the stem was chewed by mice or chipmunks. My squash will go in a safer spot next year. I am allowing the vines to grow over it as a green compost, but I have removed the wild parsnip and burdock. I have found that I can plant into it if I start my plants in large bottomless pots that have good soil and compost. It continues to be an experiment.
Saving Tomato Seeds
After my seed-saving suggestions in Veggie Bites Seventy-four, I received an interesting email from Pete Torunski. Pete sent me details of his method of saving tomato seeds and I would like to share them with you.
“I have been saving tomato seeds for almost 5 decades. The raw seed going straight to a paper towel to dry works, but it is a hassle getting the seed detached from the towel. Seeds with gel are really stuck to the paper towels.
Solution – I put the wet seeds (about a spoonful) from the tomato into an empty baby food jar and add water until the seeds are covered, plus1/4 inch. Around 3-4 days afterwards, the seed will separate from the gel. The gel will float to the top of the water and the clean seed will drop to the bottom. I then decant/pour off the gel, add more water and pour off the gel again.
Do the same the next day, if necessary, then, as soon as possible, get the seeds out of the water. Don’t leave the seeds in water too long or the seeds will form roots.I get the seeds out of the small jar by stuffing a paper towel into a cup to form a bowl, and emptying the contents of the baby bottle into that paper bowl, allowing the water to drain through the bowl into the cup.
Once the water has drained, I put the seeds between paper towels and leave them to dry for a few days.”
You might want to get a head start on your fall cleanup by tidying around your tomatoes and your fruit trees. By the way, I have an article, The Making of a Meadow, in September’s issue of Fifty-five Plus. Enjoy your week. Judith.
Contact Judith through her Website https://www.lapisdragonarts.com/. Find more weekly Veggie Bites experiences on the Veggie Bites page.
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More of Interest
Add stunning beauty to your garden with this unique, low-maintenance native plant, the cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum). Reaching heights of 6-9 ft with bright yellow flowers resembling sunflowers or asters, this flowering perennial creates a beautiful backdrop and can provide privacy while blooming. Ideal for a rain garden, the cup plant is perfect for wildflower and native plant gardens.