Personal Projects - Seed Collecting

I recently decided to take a day, every fortnight,  to assign to my personal projects.  

Well, that idea went out the window, and the one day a fortnight turned into one day every now and then when I get the chance.  'So be it' I say.  We do what we can hey !! 

I'm becoming more and more obsessed with my garden and the produce I am growing.  It tastes so good.  Fresh food, grown by us, no chemicals not even any organic sprays.  It's humbling to actually grow food.  It helps me understand that if I ever purchase fruit and vegetables outside what I grow,  that I am getting them for virtually nothing.  $4 for a lettuce when it takes at least 5 weeks of growing and nurturing to get it to a harvestable point.

It can take 6 months to grow a fist of garlic and that is just the time it takes once you have prepared the soil and prepared the cloves for planting.  Since growing a lot of my own food I have not been able to take fruit and veggies for granted.  I just know how long it takes to grow a simple cucumber or bean.  I look at huge supermarket grown capsicums and think " I know that is not grown over time and with patience".  They are just too big to be real.  The sweetness has been bread out of them for size and transportation requirements.  The capsicums that I grow can be eaten like a crisp crunchy apple straight off my plants.  The joy of growing food is endless and the joy of eating it straight off the plant is hard to equal.  

It is my philosophy to just leave all the critters that attack my garden, yes I curse them on occasion, but I leave them to do their bidding.  The worst I can manage is to squish a snail (it goes straight back on the garden) and squish some aphids or rub off a caterpillar.

So far so good.  Sometimes it's heartbreaking to see a plant go down under the weight of aphids and cabbage moth butterflies but now the wasps are coming into my garden to even things out a bit.  The balance of nature always teaches me so much. If we kill the pests what will their predators eat.  

The project below is based around documenting how I collect the seed from my favourite tomato variety.  I have grown these old tomatoes in my garden for the last few years , ever since I found them at a local Farmers Market.  I still can't grow enough in my small space so I still buy them when in season at the Farmers Market as back ups.  

Well here it is.  A series of images that I will be using as part of my 'how to save tomatoe seed' project.  I hope you enjoy.

There are little notes under each image to tell you what you need to do.  Happy gardening and joyful eating.

Take one amazing tomato, brought over from Italy by a great grandfather around 50 years ago. Cut it in half so you can scoop out the middle section including pulp

Look at the beauty and colour of this exquisite tomato.  Not to mention the seed count.  I love this tomato because it is so seedy and juicy and tastes so divine.

Start scooping out the pulp and seeds and discard the skin.  Collect it in a container, bowl or jar.  I scoop mine into a bowl then transfer over to a mason jar.

The beautiful pulp and seeds.  All connected at the moment and ready to be put into my mason jar.

Transfer to a jar and allow to site at room temperature for a few days with the lid open so it can ferment.  This is the really important part.  It may attract flies and fruit flies but that's no problem.  This process happens in nature if the tomato is left to its own devices and the fermentation helps to remove chemicals in the pulp that inhibit germination.  It also helps to seperate the pulp from the seeds

Here it is fermenting away.  It looks so gorgeous at this point and almost like tomatoe and cheese topping on pizza.

Transfer the pulp to a sieve, one that is fine enough so you do not lose seeds.

The pulp and seeds in the sieve ready to be seperated.

The Stunning pulp / seeds up close.  

run under water and use your hands to squeeze the pulp, rub it around and break it down so it seperates completely from the seed.  I just rub it against the sieve and break down the pulp by squiching it into the mesh.

Get stuck right in and push that pulp through the sieve.

The pulp will end up like tinned tamatoes, very sloshy.

Work most of the pulp out through the sieve.  You will be left with mainly skin.

This is the way I like it to look before I transfer it to a big bowl of water, usually a tub. 

The left images is of the seeds sinking to the bottom of a tub of water and the skin and remaining pulp floating around up the top.  I like to scoop out the  skin / pulp and remove it and then pour the water carefully onto my garden, leaving the seeds at the bottom to then go back into a sieve.

Strain the seed and then remove and turn onto a teatowel, cloth or paper.

Turn the seed out onto a cloth or kitchen paper.  I use a cloth as I find the kitchen paper stick to the seed and is difficult to  remove the seed from.  It is also trickier to separate the seed on kitchen paper. 

Leave the seed to dry.  Go back to the clumps of seed and seperate them out.  I usually rub between my fingers of lay my hand flat on the cloth after a day of drying and rub them apart.

Kylie Grinham