Well the worst of summer seems to have passed. At least here in Middle Tennessee. Temperatures have dropped mostly into the 80's and rain arrives with almost plannable regulatrity. The garden is humming along nicely with a steady flow of vegetables coming ripe. The mulch has truly revolutionized our garden, as we had hoped. It is not completely weed free, but, if you consider the level to which we are not weeding out there, it is certainly weed free enough!
The big push right now is seed saving. My sweetheart says that you are not truly growing your own food until you successfully harvest from plants grown from saved seed. I agree. In this year's garden I have had great success with at least three saved tomato varieties.
click here. I've had them running true for over 20 years!
Tiffany Black Cherries came from the garden of a new friend. Tiffany gave me enough of these dark rich beauties to both delight in their winy deliciosity and to save seed. They bear abundantly and are true to their parentage.
The Nick-n-Nic's are another story. Last year I saved these seeds from a plant that my neighbors (Nick and Dominic) at Mammoth Cave seasonal housing were growing. The tomatoes on that plant were no more than an inch long and were perfect golden pears. About like this:
I both planted and gave away many of these seeds with an appropriate description. When the tomatoes started to emerge however, I could see that I was ending up with a completely different variety.
What this means is that the original Nick-n-Nic tomatoes were hybrids, crosses of two or more other plant varieties. Seeds of hybrids will rarely if ever grow true to their parents. This is where seed saving can become quite interesting. Planting the seeds of hybrids gives you unexpected results and sometimes very interesting varieties can emerge. Sometimes hybrid seeds will result in plants of several different types. In this case every plant I kept from the Nick-n-Nic yielded the same tomato type. Am I saving seeds from them? But of course I am!! I can't wait to see what I get next year! The only differences will be: I won't pass them on to anyone else until I know what I have, and I will now call them Nick-n Nic F- (F1 is the typical designation for a first generation single cross hybrid.)
So, I promised this spring that I would show you the basic process for seed saving. Here it is!
This method is good for all seeds that come from moist fruits: peppers, watermelons, eggplant, squashes and the like. The soaking time removes a coating on the seeds that inhibits sprouting.