Moving into late October and northern New Jerseys’ zone 6 gardeners have pretty much given up on tomatoes except that unseasonably warm weather keeps hope alive that a few of those big beefsteaks may still ripen up. But what about those cracked or over ripe specimens, or the ones with chipmunk bites or black spots? What can be done with those?
Well, you can use them to start your own heirloom seed collection. It is actually quite easy to do, as well as rewarding, cost effective and fun.
You will need a clean container of almost any kind which either has a cap, or which can be capped with a rubber band and plastic or some other method. You will need one container for each variety which you intend to save. Try to save only “open pollinated” or “heirloom” varieties so that they will breed true to type.
Here, we see Brandywine, Ingegnoli Giant and Rutgers varieties. We intend to save all three types. Note that labeling is important at every step of the way to avoid confusion at planting time. Also note, the tomatoes chosen for seed may be overripe, it simply helps shorten the entire seed saving process if they are a bit past their prime.
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