We have only just started picking the tomatoes and we have to think of next years crop. We have been saving seed for many years now but not on the scale as we have over the last four years.
Heirloom tomatoes have a huge amount of variation amongst them. When you walk down a row of 500 plants you can see plants loaded and plants with no crop. Some have only split tomatoes others have a disease called blossom end rot. If only all of the plants could be heavy with wonderful fruit? Tomatoes do acclimatize to the farm, the soil, climate and the way we grow them. So if we select those plants that do well in our conditions then over the years we can get more of the plants to be the ones that do well. We have seen great improvements over the last four years that we have been saving seed of all the varieties that are not hybrids.
The crew has rolls of yellow tape which they use to mark plants they think we should save seed from. Graham then comes along and tastes the fruit. If it is good then he codes the plant and picks the ripe fruit which he photographs. He squeezes out the pulp and seeds. The seed pulp ferments over a couple of days. We then wash and dry the seed. We pack it away until next January when we sow the tomatoes again. N.