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How to save tomato seed

Overview

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.


How to do it

Choosing healthy tomatoes

1Choose a couple of healthy tomatoes and mark them with a tag, so you don't pick and eat them by accident.


Cutting open the tomato

2When the tomatoes are very ripe, pick them off the plant and cut into them over a plate.


Scraping out tomato seeds

3Scrape the tomato seeds out into a glass jar and discard the flesh. Cover the seeds with water.


Glass jar containing tomato seeds and water

4A mould will develop after about four of five days. This helps to remove the gelatinous coating on the tomato seed, which can prevent germination.


Draining and rinsing the seeds

5Pour 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.


Tipping the seed into an envelope

6Once the seeds have dried out, store them in a paper envelope in a dark, cool place until spring. Make sure they are clearly labelled.




Discuss this project

Talkback: How to save tomato seed
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casperdeum 24/11/2011 at 15:29

We have a mushroom-type fungus growing in our raised potato bed. Obviously I know not to touch them but will the adjoining potatoes be alright to eat? Please advise with thanks

Dom:) 07/04/2012 at 16:26

*Quick Tip for Saving Tomato Seed*
Once the mould has been washed off, you should place the seeds in a glass jar with water in for five minutes; the seeds that float will not have enough nutrients to germinate and the seeds that sink will be good to packet. Ensure that they are completely dry before you do this though, as if they are all saturated to the core then even the bad seeds will sink.

gharrop 10/08/2012 at 18:00

I've been saving tomato seed [non-F1] for years. Instead of any ritual just smear seeds on to a piece of tissue and leave to dry for a day or two. Write down the variety and put away till next year if too late for this. Tomato seeds are so tough that after throwing old fruit on the compost heap new plants will sometimes appear in late spring.

nwithyman 17/01/2013 at 22:04

This article reminded me of what my family members used to do years ago when we were all venturing to far flung points of the compass for our holidays!

We would gather, bring home and share (usually tomato) seeds from all over the place including Italian plum, interesting New Zealand and Israeli examples and huge Spanish chaps - I grew one fruit that weighed 1lb 5oz!

Lyn 18/01/2013 at 10:03

But do they come true from seeds you collect yourself?