The beauty of growing from seeds is that the fruit and vegetables they come from are widely available to buy in supermarkets, fruit and veg stores, farmers markets and Asian grocery stores.
Some tips for choosing the fruit or vegetable for seeding harvesting:
- Pick fresh – never frozen, dried, cooked or treated in any way
- If possible, buy organic as these are much less likely to have been sprayed with chemicals that may cause problems with germination
- Obviously seedless varieties won’t contain any seeds so avoid those.
- Ideally choose fruits of a named variety. While this is usually the case in supermarkets, it may not always be the case in smaller stores so don’t be afraid to ask.
Having obtained the fruit or vegetable, it is crucial that it is ripe before you extract the seeds. Success is more likely with something that is bought when it is season, but it is not essential if it is properly ripened. Many fruits and vegetables are sold under-ripe in the stores and will need ripening at home before you can eat it and use the seeds. Placing the fruit near ripe bananas and in warm, sunny spot will help speed up the ripening process.
Tips for harvesting seeds:
Once extracted, wash the seeds thoroughly, making sure they are completely clean. Larger seeds may need to be scrubbed while smaller seeds can be washed in a sieve under the tap. Some seeds will need further treatments – so it is a good idea to do a bit more research on the individual seed that you are hoping to grow.
Putting the pits between some moist paper towel or in a sealed bag will prevent them from drying out if they to be left for a couple of days, but try not to delay for longer than that.
A popular fruit to grow from seed is tomato. Tomato plants grown from seed are very likely to give a reasonable harvest. The warm, moist innards of the tomato are the ideal conditions in which its seed would germinate, so the seeds are contained within a gelatinous coating that contains a chemical which inhibits this from happening. To get the seeds to germinate, this coating has to be removed.
The easiest method of removing the coating is to the fruit to ripen well beyond the point at which it would be good to eat, but not yet mouldy. Scoop the seeds out from the flesh and place them in a sieve to wash the coating from the seeds. The seeds can then be placed on a plate to dry. You can then plant them to get your next crop of tomatoes.