When perusing GardenWeb the other day, I came upon the following way to use up rotting tomatoes–let them rot and then plant the seeds:
I know an Italian family here in town that will go to the store to look for Roma tomatoes (in late December or January) – they look for the big meaty ones since this will hopefully produce big meaty tomatoes in their garden. Then they let them rot so the seeds are ripe. Then he plants them in pots and sets them in a warm place to germinate (like on top of the refrigerator). When they have started growing, he places them in his cold frame outside and keeps moving them to bigger size pots until it is safe to plant them in his garden. It is much cheaper than buying the seeds in packets. By the way, he is a retired chef, so he uses the tomatoes for the family meals. His wife makes some amazing homemade pasta and his sauce is out of this world!
I’m not sure if this would work, but I do have a few rotting tomatoes from my last harvest, all from the same super-prolific plant. I put the tomatoes in a container to let them rot. Once that is over with (ew), I will plant the seeds in pots and let them get to a healthy seedling size, then transplant to the garden in spring. If I start this now, the seedlings should be pretty big in time for May planting.
I have had poor luck at growing tomatoes from seeds. Out of one packet, I got one decent-sized plant that produced about 15 tomatoes. However since it’s either do this or throw the rotting tomatoes out, I have nothing to lose. Who knows, maybe I’ll get some free plants out of it.