Seed extraction in pulpy vegetables is unique and requires an extra effort. This category include; tomatoes, melons, pumpkins, cucumber, Courgettes, black nightshade and most fruits. At the field the farmer needs to identify diseases free, true-to type, high yielding, resistant to adverse growth factors and high growth rate seed plant.
The farmers need to follow this procedure to save seeds for above crops;
- Cut a mature and well ripen fruit into two equal halves (Tomato, pumpkin, melon etc.)
- Scoop the pulp while for black night shade and small sized fruits squeeze the seeds into a clean container
- Add clean water just to cover the mixture
- Cover and Leave the content to sit for 4 days (Mold will start to form)
- Remove the scummy top layer
- Add water and clean the seeds
- Remove the floating ones as healthy seeds will sink
- Ensure the seeds are clean and without the gel
- Spread clean seeds on material(towel,newspaper,manila etc.) to dry away from direct sunlight for 7 days
- Store the dry seeds in a tight container
Fermentation in these seeds is important as it removes germination-inhibiting gel and also kills disease causing organisms. Farmers should embrace the practice and shift from the traditional way of saving seeds for these crops. This compromised the quality of saved seeds.
The farmer is expected to carry out a germination test before planting the saved seeds. Ideally Seed Savers Network recommends 20 seeds which are put in watered sand. A germination of above 80% is acceptable and farmers can be able to monitor the viability of seeds.