Admittedly: Vegetables grown on the farm taste best. Fortunately, many vegetables can be easily grown from homegrown seeds. Among them are the tomatoes. In today’s post, we’ll explain how to harvest tomatoes and properly store the seeds so you can preplant them in the spring.
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Obtaining seeds: Which tomato varieties are best?
Not all tomato varieties are suitable for harvesting the seeds. Therefore, it is very important to grow seed-proof varieties in the garden. Only in this way will you ensure that they pass on their genetic material. Hybrids give high yields in the first year, but can not produce a healthy new generation. Such are, for example:
- Cocktail tomato varieties “Black Cherry”, “Tom Red”, “Resi”, “Ruthje”.
- beef tomato varieties “Bern Rose”, “Black Brandywine”, “Evergreen”, “Geante de Tézier” “Yellow Russian”, “Lilac”, “Oxheart”, “Purple Calabash”
- Tomatoes “Amish Pasta”, “Adenhorn”, “Little Red Riding Hood”.
In garden centers you can find the so-called organic seeds. These are only seed-stable varieties, because hybrids or the so-called F1 varieties are not available in organic quality.
If you have already planted tomatoes from organic seeds, then you can use their fruits for seed collection. For seed, you will need fully ripe tomatoes from healthy parent plants.
Harvest the ripe tomatoes: These care tasks are useful in July
Outdoor tomatoes are usually ready for harvest from late July / early August. Greenhouse tomatoes may also be ready for harvest earlier. You can help a little by cutting off all new blossoms after mid-July. The fruit from such blossoms will not fully ripen until the end of the garden season anyway. So it makes more sense to remove these late fruiting buds to lighten the load on the plants.
In July, it is also important to fertilize and water tomato plants regularly. If the plants receive watering at irregular intervals, then the fruits may burst.
When are the tomatoes ready for harvest?
The fruits are ready for harvest when their skin turns red, orange or yellow. To be on the safe side, you can check by pressing lightly on the base of the stem. Ripe fruit can be detached in the process. Do not cut off the leaves.
You can store the fruit in a well-ventilated area. It is best not to store them in direct sunlight, but also not in complete darkness.
If you wish, you can place the tomatoes in the refrigerator to cool for half an hour before eating. However, do not leave the fruit in the refrigerator for too long so that it does not lose its flavor.
Harvest tomatoes and extract the seeds: Instructions
When choosing a parent plant, you should consider a few things: This should be healthy and have borne abundant fruit. The fruits themselves should not be deformed and taste delicious. Select several ripe tomatoes. You will still need a knife, a glass jar, kitchen paper and small opaque jam jars with screw-in lids. Proceed as follows:
1. cut a tomato in half and scoop out seeds along with pulp.
Put the pulp and seeds into an empty and clean jam jar and pour tap water over it. Then screw in the lid, put the jar in a warm room and wait for about 16 to 20 hours. The seeds are covered with mucilage. This special protective layer prevents them from pre-germinating. After several hours in the water, the slime layer will be loosened. You will notice that the seeds are no longer floating in the water, but have fallen to the bottom.
3. then is the right time to remove the seeds from the water and put them in a sieve and rinse.
4. line the work surface with kitchen paper or newspaper and spread the seeds on it. It is best to let them dry overnight.
5. put the dry seeds in a light and airtight jar and store them in a cool and dry place in the house. The seeds can stay there until you pre-sprout them next year.
Tomatoes are usually ready to harvest from the end of July / beginning of August. You can identify fully ripe fruits because they have a shiny, red or orange colored skin that quickly gives way when light pressure is applied. If the tomatoes have cracks or are burst open, then you should not use them and get seeds from them. The same applies if the fruits are still green, struggle to detach from the stem and feel hard.
Fully ripe fruits, which not only have an appetizing aroma, but also taste right, can be used for obtaining seeds. For this purpose, loosen the seeds, put them in a glass with water and wait for about 10-20 hours until the protective layer is dissolved. Then spread the seeds on newspaper and let them dry. Store in an airtight and light-proof container until next spring.