Archive for the ‘2014’ Category

 Hawaiian Current Tomatoes

 Hawaiian Currant Tomato seed packet description:
Produces clusters of tiny, round, pea-sized red currant tomatoes. Prolific yields all season long. Can be left to sprawl or be grown in hanging baskets. A super sweet and tasty treat.

In March I ordered some Hawaiian current tomato seeds from Salt Spring Island Seeds,  planted them in seed trays, then proceeded to kill all but 3 of them off due to neglect and lack of water while making a career change. The good news is that they are just as tasty as promised and the ones that have survived are loaded with little tiny tomatoes. This is a relief because the company has sold out of all the Hawaiian current tomato seeds and there are no more local seeds available. Since all the seeds from Salt Spring Island Seeds are untreated, open-pollinated and non-GMO I’m thinking  I should be able to save some seeds to grow these tasty little tomatoes with next  year.

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September Guerilla Gardener
How to Save Tomato Seeds

Most plant seeds can be saved simply by collecting the seed pods as they dry, but saving tomato seeds is a little trickier. The tomato seeds are enclosed in a gelatin like covering that has growth inhibitors to prevent the seeds from sprouting inside the tomato. Mother Nature being the genius that she is, also uses the gel to glue the seed to the soil until it has a chance to grow roots. In nature this gel covering is removed when the fruit falls off the plant and it starts to rot. As a Guerilla Gardener who is always looking for free seeds (potential seed bomb material) and who is currently the proud owner of 3 delicious heirloom Hawaiian Current tomato plants I feel the need to embark on a Tomato Seed Saving Adventure!
The itinerary is as follows:

Step 1: Choose your Tomatoes

• It is recommended that you save seeds from open-pollinated tomato varieties as they will grow up to be exactly like the parent plant. Hint-the original plant tag or seed packet will usually have “heirloom” written somewhere on it. Hybrid tomatoes are the offspring of 2 different tomato varieties and as it turns out are not the best choice for saving seeds. The hybrid seeds may not germinate and if they do manage to sprout its a crap shoot on what your going to get. The plant could exhibit traits of one or both parent plants or be something totally different.
• Remember to choose only the best! When selecting tomatoes to save seeds from, you want to only select the ones that are of the very best quality. They should be fully ripe, but not over-ripe, no cracks, no bugs, no disease and no mutant shapes..

Step 2: Extract the Seeds

• Wash the tomatoes.
•Slice large tomatoes in half and using your finger scoop out the seeds into a bowl, cup or jar. If you are using cherry or current tomatoes just squish the seeds out of them directly into container. Note-most children are only too happy to help with this!
• Cover the seed gunk with two to three inches of water.
• And most importantly if you are saving seeds from more than 1 variety be sure to label your containers! Trust me on this- you will never remember which variety of seed is which and even if you do SOMEONE (no names mentioned) will have most likely moved the containers around.

Step 3: Ferment the Seeds

• Allow mixture of tomato gel and water to sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours. This will help breakdown the gelatin like coating on the seeds.

Note: Old school gardeners have been known to use the fermentation process in which tomato seeds are allowed to ferment in a glass of water until a smelly/moldy scum forms on the surface, then the seeds are rinsed and dried. However, several recent studies  have shown that tomato seed germination works best when seeds are soaked for only one to two days before they are rinsed and dried. It turns out that if you ferment tomato seeds longer than three days it has a negative effect on germination.
This is great news for someone like me who doesn’t want a glass of smelly/moldy seeds sitting around.
So here’s kicking it to new school garden rules that are backed by science!

Step 4: Rinse the Seeds

• Add a little water to the container, stir the mixture several times and then wait about 10 seconds. Tomato seeds that float are bad seeds and are not viable. The tomato seeds you want to save are the seeds sitting at the bottom. When it comes to seeds the bottom feeders rule!
• Pour off the liquid and scoop out the floaters (bad seeds).
• Repeat the rinsing process as needed until all the gunk is rinsed from the seeds, the water is clear, and no seeds float to the top of the cup.
• When seeds are thoroughly rinsed pour them into a fine wire mesh sieve to strain out the remaining water.

Step 5: Dry the Seeds

• Spread the rinsed seeds in a single layer on a paper plate, a coffee filter or a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and protect the seeds from direct sunlight by placing a paper towel loosely on top.
• I can not stress this enough…if you have saved seeds from more than one tomato variety be sure to label them!
• Shake the plate or stir seeds daily to prevent clumping and then spread seeds back into a single layer after stirring. This will assist in even drying.
• Allow seeds to dry for 1-3 weeks until they feel dry and papery and crack when broken in half or crushed. Don’t feel bad about this…when guerilla gardening there are always a few casualties! Adequately dried seeds will make a faint snapping noise when broken in half or crushed. Seeds that bend or still seem flexible rather than snap will need to be dried longer.

Step 6: Store the Seeds

• Store dry seeds in either paper envelopes or zipped plastic bags. Glass jars and pill bottles are also good storage options.
• Make sure seeds are 100% dry before storing them, especially if using plastic bags. Otherwise, you will just end up with a bag of mildew and rot that will ruin your seed collection.
• Label seeds with variety and date. This is important! When cleaning out your junk drawer several years later you will want to know what kind of tomato seeds they are and how long they have been in there for.
• Store seeds in a cool, dry place. Many gardeners store tomato seeds in the refrigerator or freezer. Note-you can also add silica gel packets to saved seed bags as an additional moisture deterrent and to increase shelf life but it is not necessary.

Conclusion:

When tomato seeds are handled this way and are given cool, dry storage conditions, they can stay viable for 4 to 6 years, and sometimes longer. If it seems like too much work to do or if you happen to be saving a large volume of seeds and are short on time you can skip steps 3 and 4. The shelf life of tomato seeds that are dried without fermentation and rinsing may only be viable for 1-2 years, but that is usually plenty of time for any guerilla gardeners who might be thinking of some targets for Hawaiian Current Tomato Seed Bombs.

Veggie Bombs Away!

Brenda Dyck

A Guerilla Gardener on an Adventure!

Apple Mania!

Posted: August 30, 2014 in 2014, Veggies and Fruit

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12-250ml jars of apple pie jam
12-125ml jars of apple pie jam
2 apple crisps for the freezer
I still have a cooler full of apples to process and once I have them done I’ll post the recipes.

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Actually my husband picked them on Sunday but since today is my day off I have to deal with them before they start attracting undesirables (rats, mice, fruit flies, etc.). I’m taking 1 tote to my favorite accomplice’s house and we are going to make apple pie jam today. The other tote I am going to make some apple pie filling or maybe some apple crisps for the freezer, however if someone else has a good/unusual apple recipe feel free to send it to me!

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9 cobs of corn
1 lemon boy tomato
1 onion
2 zucchini
8 cucumbers
8 Pomodoro Ciliegia tomatoes
6 large Bush Champion tomatoes
1 small bowl of Hawaiian Currant tomatoes
3/4 of a large bowl of grape tomatoes
5 medium sized mystery tomatoes

FYI-Mystery tomatoes happen when a tomato plant goes on sale for a $1 and it has no identification tag but you buy it anyways because you still have some room in your community garden plot.

Tomato Smiles!

Posted: August 16, 2014 in 2014, Random Blog Thoughts, Vegetables

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Some people may call this tomato a mutant but after watching the movie Little Shop of Horrors I am going to stay on my bush tomato’s good side and consider it a smile.

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7 zucchini
2 green peppers
3 hot peppers
2 onions
4 roma type tomatoes
16 grape tomatoes
2 medium sized slicing tomatoes
And 1 over flowing bowl of assorted cucumbers

It’s a fact:
August 8 is Sneak Some Zucchini on to Your Neighbor’s Porch Day!
So this guerilla gardener armed with yesterday’s zucchini harvest (and a couple of poser cucumbers) participated for the 1st time in this International Garden Holiday. I know that not everyone may be aware of this garden holiday so as per training from my last job at “Some Sad Company” I made sure to leave a memo!

Sneak -Zucchini-onto-porch-Note

Here’s hoping my neighbors have a sense of humor!

Spread the Veggies!

BrendaDyck

A Guerilla Gardener on an Adventure!

Chocolate Cosmos
My Chocolate Cosmos actually smell like rich dark cocoa!

As someone who is a confirmed chocoholic and known plant lover, I had to buy this plant. I now understand why chocolate cosmos have swept the gardening world by storm. This plant forms a medium-sized airy clump of dark green leaves with deep burgundy-red blooms that have the distinctive fragrance of dark chocolate. The plant tag lists it as a tender perennial, which usually means that it will not over winter without added protection but apparently here on the West Coast chocolate cosmos can also be lifted and stored like a dahlia for the winter. Since I live in a townhouse with a lack of storage, there is a very real possibility that my chocolate cosmos are going to be of the annual type variety, so I’ll just have to enjoy the chocolatey scent while they last!