The plants we grow in our garden are all from Baker Creek Seeds, which are all open pollinated, heirloom seeds. This means that you can save seeds from year to year, unlike hybrids or genetically modified seeds, which will either be sterile of produce some strange offspring.
Saving seeds is important to protect genetically diversity. According to the Seed Savers Exchange, about 97% of vegetable and fruit varieties available in the US in 1900 were lost in the twentieth century. Genetic diversity is evaporating twice as fast as the tropical rainforest!
Because the Seed Bank is only blocks away from my house, and they have thousands of seeds, I let them preserve diversity and haven’t bothered to save any of my own from previous years. This year, however, we had a volunteer tomato grow out of the dirt the chickens scratch out of their pen. It sat in exceptionally poor quality dust for a season and sprouted in nutrient lacking clay dirt. We never watered it, and it was one of the first plants to produce fruit. Despite being covered in thick chicken dust, it has produced prolifically.
Based on the tomato size, I think its a Chadwick Cherry. Regardless of not knowing the varietal, anything that grows that well with no support is a winner to me! So we have saved its seeds to grow again next year.
Saving tomato seeds is easy. First step, squeeze the seeds into a jar, then cover with an inch or so of water. Then set it, uncovered, out of direct sun and out of your way.
After a few days, gross mold will start to form on the top of the water. Wait a few more days. Once you have a solid layer of mold, about 4 or 5 days, you are ready to move on to the next step.
Pour the moldy water and any floating seeds off, then drain the rest in a sieve. Quick rinse and dump on a plate of a paper towel. Once they are dry, store in a sealed jar, and wait patiently for next year!
“Flowers and fruit are only the beginning. In the seed lies the life and the future.”
– Marion Zimmer Bradley