Re: [gardeners] 'maters -> Margaret

Linda Baranowski-Smith (
Thu, 1 Oct 1998 19:21:40 -0400

>>Margaret Lauterbac wrote:

>I follow Suzanne Ashworth's instructions (from "Seed to Seed") and ferment
>tomato seeds for 4 or 5 days, then scrape off the mold and rinse seeds in a
>sieve.  Pour seeds onto a plastic or china plate and set aside to dry in
>the china closet, where  critters (including humans) are unlikely to spill
>them.  ID them, of course.
>Tomatoes are the only thing I know of (haven't studied the whole book) you
>treat this way, and the reason is that jelly-like substance surrounding the
>seeds is a germination inhibitor.  Fermentation destroys that capability.
>Peppers are quite different.  Let the pepper get completely ripe (turning
>red, orange, brown, etc.), then cut into it, removing seeds by hand.  If
>it's a hot pepper, you should wear rubber gloves.  Dry seeds somewhere
>where they won't get spilled.  If your hands are sufficiently supple to try
>bending a single seed, do it.  If the seed snaps in two, they're dry enough
>to store in the freezer.  If it bends, dry longer and/or store in refrig.
>I strongly recommend her book, although I've been told by one seed company
>owner that they don't like her recommendation of putting eggplant through a
>blender to extract seeds.  Margaret

Thanks, Margaret, for the reply.  I appreciate knowing another method.  The
one thing that the fermentation process doesn't address is separating the
viable and nonviable seed.  Supposedly, with the water method for 'mater
seed, only the viable seed sink.  The method was in the Horticulture mag
several years ago.  Maybe it doesn't matter for 'maters.

Regarding peppers, I follow the method you describe above.  The arthritis
in my hands limits my seed-bending (and other bending, as well) ability but
what I do seems to work.

Also, thanks for the tip on the book!

Linda in NW Ohio near Toledo/Lake Erie, USDA Zone 5