Picking the tomatoes

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.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
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.

More tomato content:

Follow the easy steps in this guide to save your tomato seeds.

Advertisement

You Will Need

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

Total time:

Step 1

Picking the tomatoes
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

Scooping out the tomato seeds
Scooping out the tomato seeds

Half the tomatoes and scoop the seeds out, into a water-filled glass jar. 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

Washing the seeds in a sieve
Washing the seeds in a sieve

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.

 

Step 4

Drying out the seeds on tissue paper
Drying out the seeds on tissue paper

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

 

Advertisement

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.

Watering can