If you put your ear close to these beautiful Cherokees…
you can almost hear Charlie Parker swinging!
Through the winter and early spring of 2014, I took care of tomato seedlings as if they were my own babies. The seeds I collected and saved from the tomatoes I grew during the 2013 tomato season. What is it worth to grow your own food? Well you can save a goodly amount of cash if you’re interested in heirloom crops.
At $5 per pound for heirloom tomatoes at our local farmer’s market, I consider nurturing seeds into seedlings into full-grown plants into tomatoes the ultimate DIY.
Though my impulse is to eat every one of these beauties, I have to let a few go to seed (saving, that is). The other way to do it is to save the seeds that fall out on the cutting board after you’ve sliced or cut up your tomato. And don’t throw out your rotten tomatoes, or throw them at corrupt politicos, save them for the seeds!
There are two methods I’ve tried: 1) let pulp sit in water for a few days and collect the seeds that fall to the bottom or 2) put your tomato in a container and let sit in the fridge for a month or two before pulsing in a blender with blades that have been taped up. If you don’t tape up the blades they’ll chop up the seeds.
You’ll see a coating of mold on top of the water in method one, but that’s supposed to happen. Spread the seeds out to dry on paper towels or screens, and carefully peel them off once they are dry. Store them in clean jars or paper envelopes, and be meticulous about labeling and dating to avoid confusion.
You’ll see a fuzzy coating develop over the seeds.
Method two was recommended to me by Heather Liljengren, the Supervising Seed Collector of the Greenbelt Native Plant Center out on Staten Island. Definitely look them up for good information on native plants and how-to’s on seed collection.
I picked my last Cherokee in early November. I had a steady supply growing on my deck this summer. It was a blessing…and my hard work that allowed for this pleasure of eating heirloom tomatoes right off its vine.