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I enjoy eating fresh veggies out of my little garden.  I currently have green onion, banana peppers, basil, rosemary, mint, cilantro, and a couple of other herbs that I use to boost my food into higher planes of yummy.  But I’ve not had luck with tomatoes—ever.

My first attempt had to do with the soil; I tried planting tomatoes the normal way—you know, in the dirt with all of the other plants.  My efforts yielded one small tomato of dubious quality. 

My second try faired even worse—though a glimmer of hope prevailed at the beginning.  In an attempt to control the quality of the soil, I used a large pot.  The plant grew nicely and out sprung a few nice looking tomatoes.  I ate one, and it was quite delicious.

But . . .

The bugs loved them as well.  I left them alone for one day (had to go out of town) and when I came back, my tomato plant looked like it had been involved in the Tomatina Festival:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/11795120@N06/3631188388/sizes/o/in/photostream/

Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad—but it looked like the bugs had a blast destroying my tomatoes.

So, I thought,  how could I use this scenario to my benefit?  After some consideration, I decided that attempting to grow tomatoes at my current home would just keep pissing me off.  So, I stopped.

But now, I’m somewhere different, so it’s time to try again.

And I’m glad I learned how to preserve seeds, because that one tomato was really good, and I now I have a bunch seeds ready to go that might bring me more of the same. 

Saving seeds is not a difficult process, though it requires some patience.  Here’s how you go about it:

1.  Pick the tomatoes when they are just about to go rotten.

2.  Fill a canning jar with warm water.

3.  Cut the tomatoes open and dump the seeds (pulp and all) into the jar.

4.  Here’s where it gets sort of gross.  Cap the jar and poke holes in the lid.  Put the jar somewhere out of the way—preferably outside on a porch or deck.  Stir the jar each day.  The seeds will sink to the bottom while a nasty slurry will float to the top.  It’s quite disgusting.

5.  After a week or so,  pour the liquid out of the jar (preferably somewhere away from the house like a compost heap or something.)  Be careful not to dump the seeds in with the goop. 

6.   Take the seeds inside and rinse the hell out of them.  They’re gonna smell.

7.  Spread them out on something—I’d recommend a paper bag—and place them in a window so the sun can dry them out for about a week.  Shake  the seeds around a little  each day to insure even coverage.

8.  When the seeds are completely dried, simply place them in envelopes and label them.  They’ll stay nice and safe for years.  Simply plant them when you’re ready.

As I said, it takes a bit of patience.  But it should pay off.  In about a week I’m gonna start planting my seeds, as January through March sets the perfect weather to instigate tomato growth here in Florida.

I’ll let you know about my success – or not.  Hopefully, I won’t be feeding the bugs this year. 

Don’t miss our garden green giveaway!   

by John Barker

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