Julie Maruskin shared a very detailed seed-saving technique at the Heirloom Tomato Workshop. Warning – not for the faint-hearted. “The seeds of fleshy tomatoes benefit from the fermentation process, which helps clean the seeds of bacteria.”
To save seeds from tomatoes through the fermentation process, you must follow a set of tried and true steps, which Ms. Maruskin explained to us.
If you’re getting ready to start seeds for heirloom tomatoes (or any other seed), you need to make sure that you buy something that has “seed-starting mix” in its title. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, we used Pro-Mix and Espoma seed starter mix for our seedlings. Potting soil doesn’t cut it if you’re looking to start seeds. If you’re a composter, you can use compost for seed-starting mix as well.
To start seeds you want to make sure your seed-starting mix is wet using warm water. If you’re planning to plant a bunch of seeds, put some of your mix in a big pan or pot for easy access. Fill your containers or flats with the seed-starting mix and then put your seeds on top. Cap it off with more seed-starting mix that is also moist.
If you can create a set-up for your newly planted seedlings, it is best to water from the bottom. This allows the plants to draw up the water, which makes them hardier and prevents overwatering.
I attended sutainable agriculture workshops on Thursday, April 19 and Monday, April 30 at the Woodford County Library (Midway Branch). Julie Maruskin, the director of the Clark County Public Library, presented on heirloom tomatoes on the 19th and edible landscaping on the 30th. Through a series of blog posts, I will discuss what Ms. Maruskin shared with us. These posts will have #Sustainable Agriculture and #Maruskin.
To learn more about programs offered by the Clark County Library, please visit http://www.clarkpublib.org/Programs.htm. To learn more about programs offered by the Woodford County Library (Versailles & Midway), please visit http://woodfordcountylibrary.com/News.html.
Heirloom Tomato Workshop
Here are a few terms from the Heirloom Tomato Workshop with which novice gardeners (like me) may not be familiar. They do apply to many plants beyond tomatoes as well.
Heirloom plants are “open-pollinated varieties” and have to be at least “50 years old or older”
Open-pollinated (OP) plant “seeds will produce the same type of plant next year.” Not all open-pollinated plants are heirlooms, but as we mentioned before, all heirlooms are by definition open-pollinators.
Hybrid plants are “bred from 2 or more OP varieties and will NOT produce plants like themselves next year.”