Saving Tomato Seeds!
Seed Saving: Tomatoes
This is the first part in a guest blog series by volunteer Trish Robinson about seed saving. Thanks, Trish!
Tomato seeds are one of the easiest and most satisfying seeds to save. Sometimes I wonder if I grow tomatoes just so I can save their seeds, but then I take a bite of a home grown tomato and know that’s just an added bonus.
In this blog post, I want to show you the easy steps you’ll need to start saving this year’s tomato seeds for next year’s garden. Saving tomato seeds is almost as simple as cutting open your best growing tomato and scooping out the guts. Here is a video to follow along!
1. Collect one or two tomatoes from your best growing tomato plant varieties. You can also save a favorite tomato from your local farmer’s market, your local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, or The Gleaning Project.
2. Cut the tomato length wise.
3. Using a spoon, scoop out the “guts” and seeds into a cup and top it off with water. Smaller tomatoes can just be squeezed in to the cup.
4. Label the container with the plant variety name.
5. Cover the container with a paper towel using a rubber band to hold the paper towel in place.
6. Leave it this way for 2-5 days to ferment. Checking and swirling the jar every day. This will breakdown the guts that surround the seeds.
7. The seeds are ready for drying once the water and pulp residue has floated to the top.
8. Strain the seeds, and wash the remaining “guts” and residue off the seeds.
9. Spread the seeds on to a paper towel to quickly remove most of the remaining moisture.
10. Transfer them to a non-stick surface, like a glass or ceramic plate for drying. Don’t use a paper plate, or you’ll find the seeds stuck to the plate.
11. Put them in a warm dry place, out of direct sunlight and wait for 2-3 weeks. I like to move them around every couple days so they don’t accidentally stick together or to the plate.
12. Once dry, put them in a labeled envelope and keep them stored in cool, dark place, until next year.
There are so many benefits of saving your seeds. Each tomato that you save seeds from holds anywhere from 20 – 50 seeds. Imagine the varieties you could grow and not worry about buying again, or giving seeds to friends or family members.
If you find a tomato plant that is rare, but grows in your area, and resists disease, save those seeds! That “information” is held in your seeds and will ensure the crops that come from your seeds will be strong and hardy. Plus, tomato seeds, if stored properly, are good for 3 to 4 years. So if your crop gets damaged because of too much rain next year, you could still have seeds left over from the year before. Or if you shared seeds with a friend, you could rely on them to get back your favorite tomato.
Saving your seeds, whether they’re tomato or beans, or any other kind of plant is very satisfying and so beneficial. I hope this article helps in discovering a deeper connection to the plants you grow in your garden.