Quick story about longevity of tomato seeds

6 months ago

Hello, Tomato Lovers,

In the spring of 2011, a friend provided me with seed saved from their family (heirloom?) tomato, a large orange tomato, possibly a beefsteak. The seed was provided as a smear of the innerds of one of these specimens onto a paper towel. My friend had it for about 6 months before she gave it to me. Stored at room temperature. I sowed a dozen and stored the remaining in the freezer. Got 100% germination! Fast forward 10 years, I found the original bag of seeds, and some marked 1st generation X Family Orange, which I processed myself. Unfortunately, they were in the garage.

Alas, the relative who maintained the line fell ill and was unable to do any gardening. And nobody had thought to do the annual smearing on a paper towel, so they essentially lost the line.

I did not have much hope of trying to revive these seeds,but sowed maybe a dozen of both. It took a while as I only had them under led, and no bottom heat. But darned if 9 out of 12 of the original smear came up. no germination of 1st gen however. Just to ensure I didn’t mix them, I germinated on paper towels and got the same result.

So tldr: 10 year smear of tomato pulp contained seed with 75-80% viability. Yay!

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