Tomato seeds not fermenting

skald89April 8, 2014

I am trying to ferment my tomato seeds. Put them in a plastic cup of tap water (chlorinated) and placed them for a few days on the windowsill. After 5 days or a week, it didn't ferment. Read that warm weather helps it ferment faster, so I put an over mitt on the top of my hot water urn and put the cup on the oven mitt. The water warmed up and I started to see white spots develop on the surface of the water. I stirred the cup since I saw forums say you need to stir the cup twice a day. After that I stopped stirring the cup and nothing else developed any further and the gel sac still surrounds the seeds.

It has been 2 weeks since I started fermenting.

A few minutes ago, I washed the seeds in a sift. Put them back in the cup and poured bottled water on it. What am I doing wrong and what do you suggest I do?

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skald89

I did have saran wrap loosely over the cup with toothpick punctures on top for air

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 12:00AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I have found that fermenting isn't actually necessary.

I have tried it a few times and the non fermented have about the same germination rate for me.

I just put them on a paper towel squeeze out as much moisture as I can and let them dry.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 12:30PM
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christacharlene(6)

I doubt that they are going to ferment now that you washed them. The first time you tried to ferment them did you squeeze tomato gel into the container with them? I think it works better if you have plenty of gel and just add a little bit of water. I never stir mine. It should only take 2-3 days to ferment seeds.

To the previous poster: You are right that fermentation isn't necessary but it does improve the germination rate and it helps to prevent some seed born diseases. It is worth the extra effort, especially to help prevent disease in your tomato seedlings.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 10:52AM
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naturemitch(3/4 WI)

Are these seeds that you saved yourself? If not, I wouldn't bother with fermentation. It is my understanding that fermentation is done when seed saving (i.e. the fall), not in the spring when planting. I have never fermented my seeds, although I don't save tomato seeds. If I did I would be fermenting in the fall.

That's my take.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 12:20AM
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valray(Z4)

They should sit in tomato "meat" and juice and gel and just add enough water that they don't dry out. It's possible that chlorine in the water would kill the organisms needed for fermentation.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 7:21AM
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