Like many of us, I like to save a few dollars, and so over the last few years I have saved my seeds. Last year, as a result of this practice, I grew a Sunmaster (SM) crop of tomatoes that lasted into August at 94 degrees F plus brutal humidity.
2010 we had so many SM tomatoes I froze bags of them or gave them away. I also saved the seeds of Husky Cherry and Roma tomatoes (that made it into July). I got them going again this year, and they are doing really well in regular garden soil. So, there is something to be said for this practice; developing a hardier plant based on the success of last year's crop.
This year, I tried an old heirloom, determinate variety: "Marglobe." How disappointed I have been with its performance! Maybe the very cool weather that we had at night in January and February stunted its growth, but the 8oz tomato fruit this type of tomato is known for was nowhere to be seen, despite slavish attention to watering and regular fish emulsion.
Heirloom vs. new hybrids? I am still figuring it out myself.
The University of Florida recommends (for Florida), Tropic, Floradel, Bonnie Best, Better Boy, Red Cherry, Sweet Chelsea, Sweet 100 and Sweet Million.
|Scooped Pulp and Seeds|
Put the pulp and seeds into a mason jar and fill 3/4 of the way with just tap water.
|5 days later|
After a week the water will be cloudy and the seeds will have sunk to the bottom. I am not sure if this 'fermenting' process is actually necessary, but it works. Note the seed color change from green to tan.Rinse the seeds free of pulp using a colander and then dry between paper towels. I know, it seems like a lot of work but this is a really successful way of developing hardy seeds that will grow well in your garden and climate zone.
I also save the pepper and cantaloupe seeds but skip the jar and just dry between paper towels. The milkweed plant just popped open it's pods and I gathered those up too, along with pineapple sage, zinnia and Texas Sage Bush.
I let a lot of the red lettuce leaf go to seed (for the bees mostly) and I have gathered its seeds. With lettuce you are supposed to wait for the very last batch of seeds. That way you get the most heat tolerant batch.
Having said all that, the secret of successful seed gathering and propagation is based on one teeny, lit'l detail. You have to remember to label the envelopes!