Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes

Do you Remember?  Yummy.
       Chocolate cherry tomatoes from Territorial Seed Company have quickly become one of my favorite tomatoes.  They are quick to ripen in only 70 days, grow profuse crops of tomatoes in the summer, and hang on late into the fall.  Picked green late into October, I have had some ripen to more than decent tasting tomatoes in December.  You can save tomato seed by a convoluted soaking and cleaning method, or I have just simply allowed a couple of tomatoes to wither and dry by themselves.  Then crumble away the husk, and save the seed.  This is the first year I tried the drying method so I was quite interested in the germination outcome.
      So bring on the paper towel.  Actually 1/2 of a paper towel as I cut it in two.  On February 10, I put on 15 seeds as I have recently been overwhelmed by too many seeds germinating.  Less than four full days later, I am set to go:

      The seeds were placed in the middle of the half sheet of towel.  Spread them out so that they don't touch each other.  The two ends of the towel were folded over the middle section, so now it is about 1/3 of the starting size.  I use an eye dropper to drop water onto the towel, just to moisten it.  Then this little packet fits nicely inside one of those cute little zip lock snack bags.  I even recycle the bags, cabage having been in this one the week before.  After only four days:

Chocolate cherry seeds started 2/10, now on 2/14/12
       This method worked great, as 13 out of the 15 seeds germinated.  I planted all 15 seeds, as the two slow ones may have popped by tomorrow had I waited.  I am thinking that planting the seeds as soon as any root shows will result in the least amount of transplant shock.  The neat thing is that you can plant just one or two seeds per cell this way and not have to cull or separate seedlings.
      Seed Swap Idea!!  I have a limited number of chocolate cherry seeds that I can swap in 15 seed bunches.  I am looking for malabar spinach seed, black pepper seed, or the little golden cherry tomatoes.  Anybody interested?


  1. Hi George, Those tomatoes look delicious. I have an off-topic question. How do you deal with the white cabbage moth worms on your cole crops. Do you use BT? I tried sage plants and sage leaves as repellents - with no success. I have a no-kill policy and ingesting BT seems like such a brutal death for them but those worms were so destructive and I cannot use row covers in this garden next to such an historically significant house. Thanks

  2. Anna, not to but in but I use a mixture of flour and ground hot peppers. The flour if ingested will swell, but most the time insects don't get past the hot pepper dust!

  3. Clint, thanks for that suggestion. I have a bunch of dried cayenne peppers just waiting for a just cause. I watched most of the garden video you mentioned on your site. That is the way I garden too, using loads of wood chips and tons of leaves. I have not tilled my garden in thirty years. Let the worms do it for me. And also use very little water. I garden this way because it feels right to me, not because of what I have read.

  4. Anne, as your garden is small, one effective control is to look for the yellow egg clusters on the undersides of the leaves and give them a good squish. Get the caterpillars before they get you. The fall crops seem to have less of a problem. And you could pull a magic trick by growing early broccoli offsite under netting, and move mature plants to your garden before the cabbage moth season. And lastly, many beneficial insects help to control cabbage moths, so encouraging those insects certainly makes sense.

  5. Thanks George and Clint for the good ideas

  6. George, thanks for the link to this post. When I dry my tomato seeds I do much the same except I just spread them out on paper towels and save them that way. I leave a little space between each seed so I can tear that piece off when I need a seed to germinate. I then just soak it for a day and then plant it, paper and all in my container. So far I have had all the seed germinate when I do this.

  7. Brilliant! I'm thrilled to hear that I can save seed by drying the whole tomato instead of the complex fermentation method. Thanks!!