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How to save your tomato seeds for next year

Well after the last post talking about saving seeds from your flower garden I thought it might be nice to follow that up for all you vegetable gardeners with a way to save your tomato seeds. So get your jam jars out again!

Saving tomato seeds is a little bit different from saving seeds from flowers, mostly because tomato seeds are enclosed in pulpy/jellylike goo which needs to be removed before the seeds can be dried and stored.

There are however a couple of ways to do this, so I thought I’d talk you through both.

Method 1 – fermenting the goo away

This is the traditional method for saving tomato seeds. Basically, either squeeze the seeds or dig them out with a spoon, but you want all the seeds and the accompanying goo in a bowl or jar.

You are going to leave this to ferment, which only takes a few days to a week. But you want to leave it until it smells like it is just starting to ferment. This breaks all the membranes down and makes it easier to separate the seeds.

So next, after you’ve got over the smell.

You then want to tip this into a sieve, and under a cold tap, go mad with a spoon. Proper mad. Scrape the whole thing about in the sieve to let the water wash all that yucky stuff away leaving you with nice clean seeds.

Hurrah!!! Now put them onto a plate and put them away somewhere cool and dry (and out of sunlight) to dry. Give them time to properly dry, so at least a few days, before popping them into an envelope to store. Just like we did with the flower seeds in the previous post.

Method 2 – the lazy way

For this method, we skip the fermenting stage and go straight to work in the sieve. This will take a bit longer because we are relying on elbow grease to break down the cell membranes, but essentially we are looking for the same end result. Clean seeds that can be popped onto a plate to be dried.

So there we have it. It’s not actually as difficult as you might think, but essentially the difference is that we need to be able to dry the tomato seeds whereas the flower seeds come to us ready dried.

Now the same caveat applies to tomato seeds as to flowers. If you have a hybrid of F1 tomato plants, you will not get a replica of that plant from its seeds. You will more likely get something like one of the parent plants. Just be aware of this. You will only get a direct replica from an heirloom or open-pollinated variety that hasn’t been pollinated from another type of tomato plant.

Other than that though, you will get a tomato plant and it’s a bit of fun unless you are in to show veg or something 🙂

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