Way to Save Tomato Seeds for Next Year

Way to Save Tomato Seeds for Next Year

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Have you ever wondered how to store tomato seeds? We all spend so much time growing our favorite seedlings that it’s a shame to use this crop only during one growing season. Regardless of whether you plan to store heirloom tomato seeds or not, this guide should help you in all aspects of storing tomato seeds.

But seed conservation has to start somewhere. And the first step is to collect tomato seeds. We will also look at methods of preserving tomato seeds without fermentation, as well as ways to ferment tomato seeds, ways to dry them properly, and much more.

So, if you want to start saving tomato seeds every year, this guide should introduce you to everything you might need to know!

We also have a great video in which Kevin talks about the fermentation process with Brijette Romsedt from San Diego Seed Company. You can also see it here!

Choose Tomatoes Wisely

What varieties of tomatoes do you grow and do they belong to freely pollinated varieties?

When you grow tomatoes, the resulting seeds of tomato varieties will develop according to what pollinated the flower of the parent plant. Let’s say all you grow is a variety of tomatoes in San Marzano pasta. Even if bees do eventually pollinate your plants, they will most likely multiply like San Marzano tomatoes. This is open pollination for only one variety.

But freely pollinated varieties can be pollinated by different species. Let’s say you have this San Marzano, but you also grow Cherokee purple, July 4th tomato, and yellow pear. Now it’s tomato paste, heirloom slicer, salad slicer and various cherry tomatoes. They can also be cross-pollinated by your bees.

The fruit obtained as a result of such cross-pollination may not be 100% the same as its parent plant. The fruit itself will taste the same as the one you planted, but now the seeds may have signs of other species. This is how hybridization occurs over several generations of the plant.

For the most accurate tomato cultivation, you should stick to only one tomato variety in a certain place. Then you will strengthen the genetics of this variety, and over time it will adapt better to your particular climate. If you don’t mind the potential gradual changes over time, cross-pollinated seeds can also germinate. But you may want to buy new seeds every few years to get back to a truer form.

Choose only the best, largest, tastiest and most impressive tomatoes to collect seeds, and score them in advance. I use a piece of wire tied around a branch next to a tomato as a marker. You want to pluck them from the vine, and in fact you want to leave them on the vine until they are overripe and a little soft.

Pre-selection and waiting for these best candidates means that you are going to get the seeds of this particular perfect fruit. This increases your chances of getting more of these fruits!

Tomato seeds for fermentation

Did you know that tomatoes contain germination inhibitors around the seeds? This jelly-like coating, which covers the seeds of tomatoes, prevents their germination. On the one hand, this means that your tomatoes do not allow new fruits to germinate on the vine. But it also means that in order to get the best seeds, you will need to remove this gel.

The easiest way to achieve this is fermentation of tomato seeds. As the gel breaks down, the seeds inside are released and then can germinate freely. Each variety of tomatoes should be fermented separately, and not mixed with seeds of other varieties.

Start by thoroughly washing the tomatoes to remove any dirt that may be on the outside of the fruit. This reduces the chance of contamination of your seeds with bacteria transmitted through the soil. If they have become very soft, be careful not to open them at the same time.

Now it’s time to discuss how to harvest tomato seeds. Carefully cut the tomatoes in half or into quarters along the fruit. If you want to squeeze seeds and fruit pulp into a bowl with your hand, you can use your hand to squeeze seeds and fruit pulp into a bowl. Sacrifice a few overripe tomatoes to also squeeze the juice out of them. This juice will speed up the fermentation process. Any remaining intact tomato pulp without seeds can be dehydrated and used as a dried tomato.

Pour the tomato juice, seeds, and gel into a quarter-sized mason jar. There should be enough juice so that the gel separates from the seeds with a small amount of liquid after fermentation is completed. If there is none, do not add water, as diluting the juice will actually slow down the fermentation process.

Once the lid is on the jar, shake it well, then put it in a place with a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Shake it well once or twice a day to try to remove the seeds from the gel. Be sure to open the jar at least once a day to “burp” it, allowing the gases released during fermentation to escape. It may smell bad, but don’t worry. Do this for at least three days and no more than a week.

At the end of the fermentation process, add about three times as much water to the jar, shake again and leave for an hour or so. Most viable seeds should fall to the bottom of the pot, and a sticky jelly-like layer should float to the surface. Remove the gel layer with a spoon and discard it.

Here is a list of the most common types of water in the United States and Canada, as well as a list of the most common types of water in the United States and Canada. Each time, give it enough time to settle so that viable seeds fall to the bottom and non-viable ones float up, and remove the waste. As soon as the water becomes clear, pour the contents into a fine-mesh sieve and rinse thoroughly.

If you make a lot of seeds, you can speed up the washing process by removing the original gel, throwing the remainder onto a large sieve or a large mesh sieve and sprinkling it with a stiff stream of water. The seeds will not pass through a sieve or colander, but any residual dirt will.

How To Dry Tomato Seeds

We need cool, well-ventilated conditions to dry the tomato seeds. If it gets too hot, for example, in dehydrators or other similar machines, it can cook tomato seeds and make them sterile. This is the last thing we want to achieve!

You can leave the tomato seeds in a dry place. If I do, I recommend making a wooden drying frame out of a few scraps of wood scraps and an old window screen. Use a stapler to attach the screen to the frame. Then you can spread the seeds on it and place them in a dry, well-ventilated place.

If you do not want to make a stand for drying, you can put a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and put the seeds on it. With this method, they will take a little longer to dry, but they will dry out eventually anyway. Some people even use a cardboard plate for this, but with a cardboard plate, they can stick to the surface and it will be harder to remove them. Since the baking paper is more flexible, you can fold it and immediately remove the stuck seeds.

Store Tomato Seeds Without Fermentation

Tomato seeds can be stored without fermentation. Eventually, the gel coating will collapse on its own, so you can plant a piece of a battered tomato and get sprouts. This method is ideal if you have just left a few seeds for yourself and do not plan to process them to prevent the spread of the ailment.

For this method, you will need paper towels, tweezers and a fresh tomato of your choice. Slice the tomato and peel the seeds in a bowl. Using tweezers, collect the individual seeds together with their gelatin paste and press them against a paper towel, trying to distribute them evenly. Put these paper towels in a dark, cool and well-ventilated place to allow the seeds to dry completely.

After drying, the seeds will be glued to a paper towel. You can fold the napkin and leave it for after, and even write the seed variety on the napkin if you want. When it’s time to plant next year, cut or tear off individual segments of napkin seeds and tomatoes to plant them. The paper towel decomposes and the seeds germinate.

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