Homestretch, Tomato Seed Processing 2018


October 15, 2018

A hard freeze last night, 24° F, required a rush job on harvesting tomatoes, both for seeds and fresh eating.

This is what the dwarf tomato vines in grow bags look like:

And this is what I was able to rescue from the backyard garden (minus hundreds of cherry tomatoes):

Unfortunately, there are hundreds of pounds of green and rotting tomatoes that went to waste at “the farm”.

Estimate is at least 100 hours of work left to get seeds extracted from this final surge of tomato harvesting –


A few plates of dried seeds to be packaged:

A few boxes of packaged seeds to be sorted:

19,814 photographs still to be named of 63,303 total, meaning 69% of photos are easy to find; and research and descriptions of over 2,000 varieties still to be completed and uploaded.

But at least by November 1st, I hope to have all seeds dried and organized from the 2018 season, and lists published of which seeds are available.  This should include at least 550 varieties of tomatoes from which I collected seeds this year, at least half of these will be new offerings from Delectation of Tomatoes.  And yes, many of these are fabulous varieties!

The clock just ticks way too fast.  Please do let me know how I can make that blasted clock tick at one-tenth its current speed!

😵  😵

= = = = = = = = = = =


October 24, 2018 Update

Approximately 180 batches processed in the past week:

Including one huge batch from about 80 very ripe tomatoes intended for fresh eating that had started to rot before I could get them eaten, sold or bartered – representing about 35 varieties:

Remaining to be processed for seed saving are 48 batches of tomatoes at various stages of ripening.  Many of these batches will need to be split into 2 or 3 sub-batches and the greener brought indoors to fully ripen before seed saving.

And one of these days I’ll finally get a chance to start extracting seeds from peppers, squash, melons, beans, etc. from the 2018 growing season.

= = =

Update October 29, 2018

The main tomato patch with about one-third of support structure removed:

An example of what causes distress from having no helpers and not enough time to harvest and market the extra tomatoes – that is, more than I can or even need to process for seed saving:

Thousands of tomatoes went to waste – just not nearly enough hours in a day…

Aunt Swarlo’s Polish Plum – a large, very impressive variety that was loaded up even two weeks after frost:

Now down to just 28 batches of tomatoes to process for seeds – just waiting for them to ripen fully indoors before seed extraction.

Just in time for Halloween, for those inclined to pareidolia, largest batch of dried seeds I have ever saved, this coming from a 5-gallen bucket full of a mixture of tomatoes that were intended for fresh eating but I could not get them sold, traded, eaten or processed before they rotted:

Enjoying some end-of-season tomatoes, at least for the next few weeks – this one likely Dr. Wyche’s Yellow or Flathead Monster Orange:

Doing my best to get at least a rough inventory of tomato seeds harvested in 2018.  It took nearly 5 hours just to get a rough sort complete – down to first letter.  About 18 more hours to get them fully sorted.  Inventory, etc. after that.

Back at it…

Update 10-30-2018

Tomato seeds from 2018 sorted!  At least 95% of them.

The potted plant shown is a pepper variety called Aribibi, which I rescued from frost and Winter.  Seeds came directly from the Amazon Rain Forest, but this is clearly different from Aribibi Gusano.  Tiny pods, quite hot.

Anyhow, pretty sure this is the most seeds I have ever saved in one year.  Just the seed saving work itself (not counting planting, potting up, transplanting, cultivating, etc.) came to about 1,200 hours.  Before I have had a chance to enter information about each batch into the database, my estimate is 1,200 batches and 500,000 seeds.  I will be doing very well to sell 5% of what I saved.  At 10 cents per seed – well you do the math – it is hard to imagine that or why anybody else would subject themselves to this.  I know why I do it:


Now on to harvesting peppers, etc.