Tips for Saving Tomato Seeds

Saving Seeds & Open Pollinated Varieties

When you see just how many seeds there are in a tomato it almost seems a waste not to use some of them for sowing next season.

Saving your own seed is a great idea and here are a few tips for success.

Saving Tomato Seeds

Save seeds from open pollinated varieties because F1 hybrid seed will not grow true to type – like the parent plant. Also, use a ripe tomato as the seeds will be fully developed.

  • Scoop them into a small glass jar with a drop of water and cover with paper held down by a rubber band.
  • Keep at room temperature and the seeds will ferment in the jar after about a week.

Here’s a video that is very informative – it starts with an introduction (it’s not me in the hat!) but it’s well worth watching.

Air needs to get in and out – but not bugs.

Each seed is coated with jelly to stop it from germinating and it is this process that will remove this coating and sterilize the seeds at the same time.

After a week there will probably be a layer of mold on the top which is best removed before pouring the whole mixture into a sieve.

Run under the tap to remove the jelly coating for a few minutes to clean the seeds then spread them out on an absorbent surface. Coffee filter paper is good but tissue is poor because it sticks to the seeds.

Dry out for several days in a warm aerated place until they are thoroughly dry.

Remember to label them and I like to keep them in a small plastic container such as an empty vitamin or pill container.

If you want to divide them up into small quantities for selling or giving to other gardeners, small glassine envelopes normally used for stamps are excellent.

Keep them in a cool place, ideally a fridge, until next season.

It is possible to save seeds from F1 hybrids but the problem is – they don’t grow “true to type” in other words, they won’t produce the same shape, colour, taste etc. tomatoes when their seeds are sown.