How to save tomato seed

How to save tomato seed

Find out how to save the seeds of your favourite tomato varieties, to grow again next year.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
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To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

Saving seed from your favourite tomatoes is a simple process and could save you money on buying seeds next year.

Most tomatoes are self-pollinating, so the offspring will be identical to the parent plant. Choose open-pollinated tomato varieties, not F1 varieties as they may not come ‘true’ to seed. It’s also a good idea to save heritage, or rare varieties of tomato in this way, to preserve the seed for future generations.

If you grow more than one variety you could grow your own brand new variety of tomato by cross-pollinating the flowers.

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You Will Need

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

Total time:

Step 1

How to save tomato seed - picking the tomatoes
How to save tomato seed – picking the tomatoes

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.

Step 2

How to save tomato seed - scooping out the tomato seeds
How to save tomato seed – scooping out the tomato seeds

Halve the tomatoes and scoop the seeds out into a shallow jar of water. Put the jar aside for four of five days, after which a mould will have developed. This helps to remove the gelatinous coating on the tomato seed, which can prevent germination.

 

Step 3

How to save tomato seed - washing the seeds in a sieve
How to save tomato seed – washing the seeds in a sieve

After four or five days, pour the seeds into a sieve and wash them thoroughly with water to remove the mould.

 

Step 4

How to save tomato seed - drying out the seeds on kitchen paper
How to save tomato seed – drying out the seeds on kitchen paper

Arrange the seeds on a piece of kitchen roll to dry out. Once the seeds have dried out thoroughly, store them in a paper envelope in a dark, cool place until spring. Make sure they’re clearly labelled.

 

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Cross-pollinating tomatoes

1. Choose two plants that have qualities you would like to combine in a new plant. First, remove the anthers from a newly opened flower with your fingers or a pair of tweezers, to create a seedbearing parent.

2. Take a flower from the other plant and rub its anthers on the stigma of the seedbearing parent. This plant will produce new fruit, so collect the seed to sow and raise your own, unique tomato variety next year.

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