By Bonnie L. Grant
Saving tomato seeds is an excellent way to preserve a variety that performed well in your garden. Harvesting tomato seeds also ensures that you will have that cultivar the next year, because some types are more popular than others and offered cyclically. It is very easy to save most seeds and provides economic benefit since you will not have to purchase seed for the following year. You can also be certain the seed is organic if you grow and collect tomato seeds yourself.
Saving Seeds from Tomatoes
Saving tomato seeds is easy, but there are a few things to keep in mind. If you harvest hybrid tomato seeds be aware that they are developed varieties, which will not grow true from seed the next year. It is also important to collect from healthy, disease free cultivars, which produce well. It is also important when saving seeds from tomatoes to process and store the seed properly. You can save seed from cherry, plum or large varieties. It doesn’t matter if the tomato is determinate or indeterminate, as it will come true from the seed.
Tips for Harvesting Tomato Seeds
The process of how to save tomato seeds starts with a ripe, juicy tomato fresh off the vine. Collect tomato seeds at the end of the season when the fruit is ripe and ready. Some gardeners simply cut open the tomato and squeeze the pulp onto a plate or other container. The pulp needs to dry and then you can separate out the seeds. Another method is to rinse off the pulp in colander or screen.
Still another method of saving seeds from tomatoes requires the pulp to be put in a glass jar filled with water. You can shake it and let it soak for five days. Skim off the foamy fermented pulp and the seeds will be at the bottom of the jar.
The most important part of the process of harvesting tomato seeds is the drying. If the seeds are not properly dried, they will mold and then all your work will be fruitless. Spread the seed out on paper towels to absorb any moisture in a warm dry location. Store the seeds until spring in a clean glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Seeds need to be stored where it is dark to prevent stimulating their photo- receptors, which tell them when it is time to germinate. They may lose vigor or fail to sprout if they are exposed to light.
In the spring, your saved tomato seeds will be ready for planting.