Harvesting of tomatoes for seed saving has finally been completed, about 10 hours ago, in the high winds, cold rain, and plummeting temperatures of an approaching cold front and storm. It’s snowing outside now, with low temperatures of around 21°F (“RealFeel”) forecast in about 28 hours. That’s a hard freeze, a season-ending freeze for sure.
Here is what the tomato patch looked like at the end of the harvest:
Some may suggest this is a surfeit of tomatoes for seed saving: Some 2,000 batches of seed saving at some stage from something like 877 varieties (sorry for excessive sibilance, sometimes I simply cannot suppress such urges).
At the moment, all shelf space, nearly all floor space, and now even the entire seed room are packed with batches of tomatoes waiting for me to get my act together and process them for seed extraction.
This is, of course, in addition to the hundreds of batches shown in the video in my last post, “Ultramarathoning Revisited“.
I have taken only a few plants into the cellar this fall, placing them under metal halide lights to hopefully set and ripen more fruits over the winter. Not holding out a lot of hope, however, as this strategy had not proven very successful.
When daylight returns in a few hours, I still need to harvest peppers, eggplant, basil, potatoes, and other small seeds before the serious cold sets in. Harvesting all of those tomatoes just sapped me of time and energy.
Fortunately, I have had many neighbors, around 30 people total, who have helped with tomato harvesting, both for seed saving and their own use – a special thanks to AD especially! 👍 Altogether, we probably harvested over 3,000 lbs. of tomatoes, leaving less than 1,000 lbs. still on the vines or on the ground for the deer, birds, mice, insects, fungi and bacteria to clean up. We just could not get to them all – 2022 has been an outstanding year for tomatoes, at least around here!
Now to really focus on seed extraction and saving. I estimate 800 hours of work left to do to get all tomato seeds extracted, dried and packaged from the abundant 2022 harvest. And I would very much like to get all of that done by November 1st.
Sadly, somehow, the math does not work out. So patience is appreciate from those looking for seeds from many excellent new (to me) varieties from 2022.
Meanwhile, seeds of more than 2,500 tomato varieties are available now:
And for a teaser of what is, or very soon will be available from the 2022 harvest, see the file, “List of 913 Varieties Planted in 2022” published here:
Delectation of Tomatoes Files Shared
If you are thinking, “nobody should ever attempt to grow so many varieties in one growing season”, my reply would be, “I could not agree more”.
But have you ever heard me claim to have a grip on some semblance of sanity? 🤪