Save seeds to make your gardening and home growing more sustainable and increase your resilience and self-reliance. Saving seeds will also allow you, over time, to create a garden more suited to the specific, local conditions where you live. If you have been growing tomatoes in your polytunnel this year, why not consider saving some of the seeds to plant next year?
Selecting Tomatoes From Which To Save Seeds
Tomato seeds are easy to collect. First of all, take note and tie a tag to the healthiest and best of your tomatoes – the ones you would like to use for seed. This will help you ensure that you do not accidentally eat all the best tomatoes and forget which you were meant to be saving. Only collect seeds from your best performing and healthiest plants.
Collecting Tomato Seeds
When your tomatoes are very ripe, cut them from the plant and clean them thoroughly. Then, cut each one open and scoop out the seeds and the pulp. Place the seeds and pulp into a container with a lid – a glass jar is ideal. You will notice that the seeds are coated in a sort of jellyish substance. The next stage of the process is fermentation. Fermentation is the way to remove that gelatinous coating from the seeds, along with germination inhibitors and other contaminants. It may also get rid of some seed-borne diseases.
Pour water in with the seeds in the jar. After a few days, a mould will begin to form. This will begin to break down the coating around the seeds. When the mould has formed, tip your seeds out of the jar and rinse them thoroughly with cold water to remove all the mould.
Drying Tomato Seeds
You can then leave your seeds out to dry on a plate or a piece of kitchen roll. When the seeds are thoroughly dry you can then store them in paper envelopes in a cool, dark, dry place. Well stored tomato seeds can be viable for up to six years.
Remember, you should choose open pollinated tomato varieties for seed saving as hybrid types will not necessarily come true from seed. Consider choosing heritage or heirloom varieties of tomato as that will allow you to do good in preserving these seed varieties for future generations.
Which are your favourite tomato varieties? If you have a recommendation that you could help others in their home growing efforts by letting us know which you have had most success with in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.