Gardening September 2013: Save seeds of that delicious tomato

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 - 1:52 pm | Page 10X
Last Modified: Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 - 6:28 pm

You can save the seeds of that delicious tomato in your garden if it is not a hybrid. The open-pollinated, old-fashioned tomato plants breed true – that is, you'll get the same thing next year you had this year.

Saving seed is easy. There are two methods.

First method: Choose a very ripe tomato. Squeeze the seeds and pulp into small glass. Set it aside and let it ferment a few days. (If any disease organisms are lurking on the tomato seeds, the fermentation process will kill them.) Wash the gunk away from the seeds. Let them dry, then store them in an envelope. Be sure to label them.

Second method: Spread the seeds on a paper towel, being careful not to get too much pulp in the mix. Write the name of the tomato on the paper towel. Let it dry. Fold up paper towel and put in an envelope.

Voila! Tomato seeds from your garden for next year.

SEPTEMBER CHECKLIST

• Don't cut ornamental grasses to the ground just yet. They are on the verge of taking on their golden fall hues and will give the late fall garden substance and interest.

Sow seeds of winter vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. Also this is the time to plant onion sets.

Try some less common bulbs in the garden: ranunculus, allium, muscari and watsonia.

Scatter California poppy seeds, but remember they prefer to grow along the distressed verges of gardens and roads and don't like competition from other plants.

Don't let cool mornings and evenings lull you into thinking plants don't need to be watered. They do, although not quite as often as in August. Continue to pay attention to water needs.

Plant seeds for bok choy, carrots, peas, radishes and spinach in vegetable garden. Flowers to plant by seed include hollyhocks, foxglove and larkspur.

For bigger flowers, thin buds on camellias. Pinch away the smallest one in each cluster.

Check winter squash. Pick ones that are ripe and store in a cool, dark place.

Plant chrysanthemums. When they're done blooming, cut them back and chances are you'll get another flush of growth and bloom. They get better every year.

Harvest broccoli when heads are bright green and tight. Don't let them bloom.

Keep deadheading hybrid tea roses. Stop feeding them. Leave flowers on old-fashioned roses so they develop hips.

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