Tomato growing season is over and you may have one or two prized tomatoes that you’d like to grow again next season. Here are three ways to save tomato seed.
Unlike the majority of seed that you can harvest off the plant at the end of its season from your edible garden, tomato seeds are not dry. They’re encased in a gel that is known to inhibit germination so when the time comes to save tomato seed for the next season, here are three ways to save tomato seed.
1. How to Save Tomato Seed: Fermentation
Cut the tomato in half and gently squeeze the seeds out and place them in a glass jar with a little water. Leave the jar on the kitchen bench or at room temperature for a couple of days. This will cause the gel to start fermenting and a layer of mould develops. Give the mixture a little stir daily with a spoon.
After two days have passed, strain the contents of the jar over a fine sieve and rinse under running water. You want to remove as much of the left over pulp and gel as possible. Once the seeds are clean, place them on a paper towel and leave them to dry in a cool dark place for 2 days. Once they’re dry, gently lift them off the paper and place them in a labelled paper envelope.
2. Rinse and Dry
The second method is a little simpler. Cut the tomato in half and gently squeeze the seeds out onto a fine strainer. Rinse them under gentle running water washing away the gel as you go with your hands. Once most of the gel is removed, put them on a paper towel and leave them to dry for about 10 days before storing them in a labelled paper envelope.
3. How to Save Tomato Seed: The Quick and Easy Way
Cut the tomato in half and gently squeeze the seeds out on a paper towel, preferably the larger sized seed. Gently spread them out on the paper towel making sure they’re not touching and leave them to dry in a cool and dry spot for about a week or two depending on your environment.
Once they’re dry, cover the paper towel with the seed with another paper towel on top and store in an envelope until next season. When you’re ready to sow, simply cut off a piece of the paper towel with the desired number of seeds and plant them. The paper towel will soon disintegrate in the soil. It’s a simple, no mess method that takes very little time.
Saving tomato seed is a great way to regrow varieties that you like and have thrived in your micro climate. Whichever method you prefer, always choose a large, ripe, heirloom or open pollinated tomato that is disease free. Remember to store them in a paper envelope not plastic bags and label them with the name, varietal and date harvested.
Next in tomatoes… Can You Grow Tomatoes from a Slice of Tomato?