April 11, 2011 2 Comments
We had a very successful go of it last summer with our crop of sungold tomatoes. We did make one mistake, though: we weren’t very good about saving our seeds. As such, our eldest plant was mostly expired when we finally thought to try and save seeds from it, and the last seed-bearing stragglers we plucked from her branches from were only half-ripe. We took them anyways, hoping that their champion pedigree would make up for our haphazard collection practices.
Late (very late) last fall, I took the most developed tomatoes I could and squeezed out the biggest seeds I could find, separating them from the pulp etc. using the fermentation method (which is loosely described here). I wasn’t terribly confident about the whole process, but it did leave me with some seeds of heretofore uncertain viability. These went into a drawer for the winter.
On Sunday, I pulled them out and potted them in soil inside an old plastic fruit container, which are said to be good for starting seeds because the bottoms are lined with holes which allow for some drainage. I stuffed that container into a second container, sans holes, so we won’t have little muddy water spots jeopardizing our security deposit. This container holds twelve seeds, planted roughly three quarters of an inch apart from one another. Roughly.
You’re supposed to plant seeds 6-8 weeks before you want them outside, meaning that these could be a few weeks late, especially if you’re the sort that likes to gamble with frosts. At about 30 days, you should be getting actual tomato plant-looking leaves. This is our first time trying seeds, though, so we’ll be happy to get anything to grow at all. If not, we’ll probably transplant from Farmers Markets around the city (our plants last year came from Atlas Farm, at the Copley Square market).
It won’t take long to find out if any of these things will grow – probably only a week or so. I’m feeling a little parental right now. Do they have enough water? Are they warm enough? I may or may not have played music for them when I was planting them. I’ve heard it makes them smarter. This anxious gardner will be spending many a moment over the next week or so squinting at the soil and hoping for a little green.
(Yes, I planted them on Sunday morning and am writing the update on Monday night. No, nothing has grown yet. Yes, I am frustrated at that. No, I won’t be waking up at 3am to check on them. Yes, that might be a lie).