Save your own tomato seeds!

These fine examples are destined to make sure next year’s crop is even more successful and disease free than the one just finished.  This process of propagation is called seed saving and it’s allowed us to improve our fruit and vegetables year after year since we started agriculture in its current form over 10,000 years ago.

So why bother saving seed when you can just pick up some seedlings at the nursery next year?  For starters you’ll be amazed at how many seeds come out of just a few tomatoes, and if you follow the below steps on saving them, you’ll have enough seedlings next year for you and your neighbours.  Plus you’ll be growing plants that are evolving to perfectly suit your soil and your specific climate.

Start by cutting your tomatoes in half and scooping out the seeds.  I like to do this as you then get to save the best and eat them too!

tomatoes 2-web

 

tomatoes 3-web

Scoop the seeds into a nice clean jar and add a dash of water

tomatoes 4-web

Loosely pop the lid on or some plastic film with a few holes in it, place the jar in a warmish place and wait a few days…

tomatoes 6-web

tomatoes 7-web

Yes, yes, it now looks really disgusting and will have other household members wondering what kind of sick science experiment you’re playing with but trust me, this bit is important.  You see the tomato seeds are designed to rot prior to germinating which is why they just love popping up your compost heap from time to time.  By putting the seeds through this fermentation process we prepare the seeds for a proper germination and also reduce the incidence of disease.

So next we scoop of the nasty stuff (just ignore the funky smell) and discard it. Don’t worry if you take a few seeds with it as the more viable seeds tend to sink to the bottom anyhow.

tomatoes 8-web

Then clean the rest of the seeds through a sieve, gently scrubbing the jelly like surrounds from the seeds.

tomatoes 9-web

Leave to drain, then spread out the seeds in a single layer on a non-porous surface to dry.

tomatoes 10-web

This usually takes at least four days in normal indoor temperatures after which time you can press firmly on a seed with your fingernail.  If the seed just dents it’s not dry enough, if it breaks then the seeds are ready for storage.  Store in an envelope in an airtight container or in an old vitamin bottle or glass jar.