Saturday, September 18, 2010

September Rainy Day Fun

Judging by the Abbotsford weather report, you might need something fun to do inside this weekend. If you are in the Valley and like delicious food, then check out EAT! Fraser Valley at the Tradex in Abbotsford this weekend. We will be there all weekend at the Farm Start BC booth. Stop by and say can enter to win some prizes including a basket o' veggies from Skeeter Farm.

Here's something else you might want to plan to do this weekend or sometime soon: Save seed! All you home gardeners out there growing your favorite heirloom tomatoes or other crops should consider trying your hand at seed saving this season. There is something really satisfying about planting seeds from fruits that you carefully selected the year before for their taste and characteristics...and its really not that hard.

I started saving seed last year from my home garden and from the farm and had varied results with the crops this year. The tomatoes from the seed I saved from my garden were by far the best, and in my opinion, the most fun to try to save.

Select varieties that are Open Pollinated  (marked OP on your seed packet) and use the internet to search for tips and tricks on how to best collect the seeds.

As for tomatoes, you want to select ripe tomatoes from plants that did well, lack signs of disease, produced the best tasting tomatoes and/or the best looking tomatoes. Its a good idea to take tomatoes from several plants (if you have more than one).

Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp from the cavities into containers (I use mason jars). If there isn't much juice in the jar, add a little bit of water so the seeds can float. Carefully label the jars so you don't lose track of the varieties that you are saving and then store the jars for 5 days or so until a layer of mold forms on the top (the seeds need to ferment before they will be able to germinate). Once a nice layer of mold fully covers the top of your container, you can scoop the layer off, pour the remaining seeds/juice into a strainer and rinse the seeds. The last step is to dry the seeds on a plate, giving them a little shake every day to keep them from clumping together. Once the seeds are fully dry, put your little seeds into a labelled envelope for safe keeping until its time to plant next year.

Just think, if you save a few varieties each season, you'll build up an impressive tomato collection in no time!

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