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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Germinating Your Saved Tomato Seeds: Test Them!

I saved a lot of tomato seeds this year. The variety shown here is the Sara's Galapagos currant type. This variety produces between 500 and 1000 tomatoes. YES! that many. I will be selling them this year too. Before I sell my plants and before you spend time trying to plant seeds you saved, you want to make sure they germinate.

Here is how you do it.

Germinating Tomato Seeds: Gary Pilarchik

A small zip-lock bag and a paper towel is all you need. Moisten a paper towel and squeeze out the excess water. You should put about 20 seeds or more on youy open moistened towel. Fold it in half and in half again so it fits in the plastic bag.

It will take 5 - 7 days for the seeds to germinate. A few more days are needed to give all the seeds a chance. But I just wanted to see if they were alive and kicking.  I put mine on top of the refrigerator and waited 6 or 7 days.


You Will Get Mold Spots: Gary Pilarchik

After 5 - 7 days open up your paper towel. You will get mold spots. Don't worry about that. If you want a good estimate of your germination rate, wait 10 days. If you just want to see if they are viable, 5- 7 days will work.

Germinated  Sarah's Galapagos Tomato Seeds: Gary Pilarchik

You can see in these two pictures that the tomato seeds germinated. These are seeds I fermented and saved  from this year. I have over 1000 seeds, so I threw a mess on the paper towel. Sarah's Galapagos are a bit more difficult to germinate. The rate is about 50-75%.


More Germinated Tomato Seeds: Gary Pilarchik

After 10 days count the number of seeds germinated and the total number of seeds on the paper towel and divide. The formula is Germinated Seeds/Total Number of Seeds equals the Germination Rate.

Or if you do 20 seeds multiply the number of germinated seeds by five. 

My germination rate was 68%.  Most varieties will be in the 80's.