Friday, July 26, 2013

Preserving seeds for next year

I've been doing a lot of thinking about next year's garden.  Next year is going to be tricky, because our lease expires in September, and although I do not expect to move, it is always a possibility.  So I need to make sure that everything that I really love, like my tomato plants, have the possibility of being mobile before the season is over.

The other thing I have been thinking a lot about is WHAT is going to be included in next year's garden.  I don't have a full plan, but I do have a small list of definite do's and definite don'ts. 
  • I am not enjoying gardening with cucumbers.  The mildew takes over, and I have spent more of my time spraying the homemade non-mildew spray and trimming leaves, and watching the baby cucumbers dying on the vine.  I am not amused.    They are a definite DON'T!!! 
  • I am not enjoying the squashes either.  The crookneck squash plant died on me, and the spaghetti squash has one beautiful spaghetti squash that I am waiting to ripen, but the rest of the plant is riddled with mildew.  It's so frustrating!  It could be the corner that I put it in, or it could be the lack of sun, or the climate here, I'm not sure.  They are a definite DON'T!
I also have a MAYBE... I'm going to watch the Zukes for the rest of the season and then decide.  No one but me eats them, but the one that I did eat was soooo good.  If it starts producing and I can keep the mildew away, then I'll move it to the DO list.  If the blossom rot or the mildew gets it, then I'm going to move it to the DON'T list.

My definite DO'S are the Mortgage Lifter and Yellow Heirloom Tomatoes.  I'm going to plant a lot more of them - like 3 or 4 each - and give them a lot more room next year.  Tomatoes are good producers, and they require very little maintenance.  Caterpillars are my biggest problem, and so far, I've been handling them without chemicals.  They can't escape me...  (insert evil laugh here).

My mom and grandma are also eager to try the Mortgage Lifter tomatoes.  They are so large and beautiful and tasty. 

That being said, I started looking in to how to preserve some seeds from these plants.  Ultimately, it's because I'm so cheap.  The ML plants was $1.99 each at my favorite nursery, Louie's Nursery in Riverside (, and the Yellow Heirloom was $3.99 at Home Depot (which is highway robbery!), and although they have more than paid for themselves in crop, I would like to keep that initial investment paying me back.  Really, why should anyone buy seeds or plants year after year, when they have literally thousands of seeds outside in the garden.  It just requires a little technique and a little planning ahead.

I haven't ever done tomato seeds before.  They require a fermentation process, as detailed here:

So my little jars of tomato glop are sitting in the window, covered with plastic wrap, and hopefully moving on to the next stage by Monday. 
Anyone want a tomato seedling in the spring?  Mom, I'll have a few set aside for you.

Green thumb out.

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