How to save tomato seed

Do it:

Aug, Sep, Oct

Takes just:

one hour

Saving seed from your favourite tomatoes is a simple process and could save you money on buying seeds next year. If you grow more than one variety it's likely bees will have cross-pollinated them, so you could be growing your own brand new variety of tomato.

Choose open-pollinated tomato varieties (not F1 varieties as they may not come 'true'). It's also a good idea to save heritage, or rare varieties of tomato in this way, to preserve the seed for future generations.

You will need

  • Tomatoes
  • Knife
  • Glass jar
  • Sieve
  • Paper envelope

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Choose a couple of healthy tomatoes and mark them with a tag, so you don't pick and eat them by accident.

When the tomatoes are very ripe, pick them off the plant and cut into them over a plate.

Scrape the tomato seeds out into a glass jar and discard the flesh. Cover the seeds with water.

A mould will develop after about four of five days. This helps to remove the gelatinous coating on the tomato seed, which can prevent germination.

Pour the seeds into a sieve and wash thoroughly with water to remove the mould. Arrange them on a plate or piece of kitchen roll to dry.

Once the seeds have dried out, store them in a paper envelope in a dark, cool place until spring. Make sure they are clearly labelled.

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