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Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds

Be a part of history and save money when planting next years garden. Collect and save the seeds from your favorite heirloom tomatoes this fall.

Start by scooping out the gelatinous center of a ripe tomato. Place this in a container of water and let it ferment in a warm place for a week or two.

At that time you will find a pretty disgusting layer of fermented tomato waste and bad seeds floating on the surface. Remove and compost this waste.

Dump the water and remaining seed into a fine mesh strainer. Rinse the seeds removing any of the gelatinous material that may remain. Spread the seeds on a piece of paper to dry.

Once dry, store them in an envelop in a sealed jar or plastic container. Be sure to label the container with the variety name and the year the seeds were collected. Store in the refrigerator until it is time to start them for next season.

A bit more information: Try saving heirloom beans and peas this summer. Allow the pods to dry on the plant before harvesting. For beans this is about 6 weeks after you harvest for eating and about 4 weeks after the normal picking stage for peas. Protect plants from frost or pull them out of the ground and hang them in a cool dry location so the pods can finish drying. Remove the seeds from the dried pods, store in an airtight opaque container in a cool dark location. Label with the varietal name and date the seeds were collected.

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