That’s the thing with saving your own seed, there are no guarantees that your efforts will result in viable seed but you have to give it a try. So far this year I’ve sown two saved seed tomato varieties and four chilli varieties. It is still too soon for the chilli seeds to have germinated but the same is not true for the tomatoes and the three varieties of shop bought packets of tomato seed, as well as the saved seed Amish Paste Tomato are all through and standing tall. Alas, this is not the case for the saved seed tomato variety, Stupice.
Convinced that there should have been some signs of life from the two rows of Stupice seeds, I decided to have a dig about and found nothing except for some lifeless seeds. There wasn’t even a hint that one single seed had tried to germinate and so I came to the conclusion that these were not viable and a new plan of action needed to be considered.
I rummaged around my seed packets and realised that the seeds I had sown were from one of the outdoor plants. Last summer I had successfully grown too many plants for my greenhouses and so some of the left over Stupice spent the summer months, in large tubs against the lawn fence in full sunshine. They produced a good number of fruits and it was one perfectly round and red fruit which I selected to save the seed from and it was the seeds from this particular fruit that I had used last week, as was evident from the opened makeshift envelope marked ‘Stupice Tomato – outdoor’.
However, all was not lost quite yet as I had also saved the seed from a perfectly red and round specimen which had been grown in the greenhouse. So On Wednesday night I took the decision to rehydrate some of the seeds from the unopened ‘Tomato Stupice – Indoor’ packet and plant them into the seed tray the next day. To achieve this:
- I hunted around my cupboards for the lid of an ice-cream container;
- Then I folded a large piece of thick kitchen towel in half and then half again (effectively quartering it and making it the equivalent of four sheets deep) and wet it thoroughly;
- Next I wrung out the kitchen towel to ensure the seeds wouldn’t be waterlogged and then carefully straightened it back out – please note that I used a brand of kitchen towel which is known to be wringable and not a standard kitchen towel which would be too fragile and tear;
- I unfolded the kitchen towel so that it was now only folded in half, placed it so that one half of the piece was on the lid and carefully scattered some of the seeds onto that half; and
- Then I gently folded the other half of the piece back over to cover the seeds.
I left the seeds like this overnight. The next morning I poured a little more water over the kitchen towel to keep the seeds moist and left them for another hour or so, before sowing 4o of the now nicely rehydrated seeds into the empty seed tray modules. I am not entirely sure if these seeds are viable either but I decided to leave the remaining seeds on the kitchen towel, keeping them moist at all times, and I will continue to monitor them over the next few days to see if there is any sign of life. My thinking is that if I see shoots on the seeds on the ice cream tub lid, then that bodes well for those sown into the compost.
Fingers crossed and let’s hope for the best.