User avatar
digitS'
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3583
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:10 pm
Location: ID/Wa! border

Cleaning Seed, peroxide?

Tomato seed: does anyone use hydrogen peroxide?

I live in a semi-arid climate. A great deal of wheat is grown nearby. Little rain falls during the summer. Humidity regularly falls to 20% or below every afternoon. It's great for the grain harvest.

I save tomato seed by the simplest method. Take some of the seeds off the cutting board and put them on a paper towel. Set the paper towel on a table under the deck roof where it gets hours of sunshine every afternoon. Three weeks is what I shoot for. It may sprinkle in September but I'm not liking to have to cover the towels, protecting them from wind-blown rain.

I know I should collect seed from the early fruit but too often, misshapen fruit early discourages me. I also need to wait for the few late varieties, into September. Sooo ... We had more rain in October than any other month in over 120 years!

Yes, I brought my seed-saving indoors! For whatever sunlight we had - the towels sat on a table in the South Window ... for a month. However, the humidity gauge in the house has never dropped below 60% that I know of. The forced-air heat has been on for weeks with a floor vent right under the table.

I have Amy Sue's seeds to send!. Germination of 1 or 2 year old saved seed has never been a problem. I do not use sterile starter mix for the specific reason of hoping for a good beneficial microbe population. But, I'm wondering, should I be treating my seed this year??

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

PaulF
Greener Thumb
Posts: 804
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:34 pm
Location: Brownville, Ne

Re: Cleaning Seed, peroxide?

I can only answer for tomato seed saving. I use the fermentation method. My choice is to find what seems like the very best tomato of the variety, the one that exemplifies the traits of that variety, then find three more just the same. I have plastic containers with lids to keep out the flies and gnats. squeeze the seeds into the containers, let them set for four or five days so they look and smell awful. Using a sprayer on a garden hose, gently wash out the pulp and fermented parts until all are left are seeds. Viable seeds sink and duds float out as the water is emptied from the container. The wash and empty cycle usually takes about four empties to have only seeds. The seeds are placed on a coffee filter, spread out and dried for a couple of weeks. After completely dried they are put into air tight containers and stored in my cool dry dark basement until needed.

The oldest seed I have been able to coax into germinating has been twelve year old seed but many others have germinated much older seed. The reason I use the fermentation method is that it eliminates disease transmission, or so I have been led to believe. Works for me but there are lots of successful methods of saving seeds.
Paul F

RadRob
Full Member
Posts: 55
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2016 6:39 pm
Location: South La.

Re: Cleaning Seed, peroxide?

Steve, you shouldn't worry about the humidity being a problem and having to treat seeds. I'm in Louisiana and would love 60% humidity year round but it's higher that that and I never have a problem. You said that you just dry them on a paper towel without removing the gel sac/sprout inhibitor, have you noticed your seeds take longer than store bought seeds to germinate? That's the main reason we clean or ferment tomato seeds.

You can treat seeds for pathogens on the outside of the seed using a few methods. Bleach, Oxiclean, peroxide will all work. You can save time if you clean them using one of these methods too. You don't have to ferment because the gel sac comes off so all you have to do is dry them.

Here's what I do to save time. I put the seeds in a container and add water, I use a whisk to knock the gel off the tomato. I whisk and rinse 3-4 times pouring off the junk/pulp. If you let it sit for a minute the seeds will sink and it's easier to pour. For the last rinse I use a 1 to 4 ratio of bleach and water and whisk again to treat the seeds. Then strain the seeds and spread on a paper plate to dry for a week and I'm done.

The peroxide method: Put your seeds and juice from the tomato in a small container then add a capfull of peroxide, 1 tablespoon of water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. It will start working immediately and you may need to add a little more water if the seeds are not in the solution. Stir and let it sit for 1 hour then rinse and dry on a paper plate.

Here's a good description of the Oxiclean method. https://settfest.feldoncentral.com/2009/01/saving-seeds/

All of these work including fermenting but like everything else it comes down to time and what works best for you.

User avatar
digitS'
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3583
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:10 pm
Location: ID/Wa! border

Re: Cleaning Seed, peroxide?

Thank you both for your very complete answers!
RadRob wrote:... You said that you just dry them on a paper towel without removing the gel sac/sprout inhibitor, have you noticed your seeds take longer than store bought seeds to germinate? That's the main reason we clean or ferment tomato seeds...
No, that first or second year, the seeds must approach a 100% germination rate. If anything, store-bought are more variable. Some make me wonder about quality control.

Failure is out there a ways - like about 5 years. I'm sure I have worse storage conditions than some of the seed companies. If I sprinkle a few seeds of one saved variety and they are slower than 90% of everything else, I realize I've messed up in writing down dates or attention to them.

I've decided that I'd better grow a variety and save seed from it about every 3 years or just let it go. Someone else can take responsibility for preservation. I'm a gardener and not really a collector or researcher :).

Thank you again!

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

Return to “Seed Starting Forum”