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How to Save Tomato Seeds to Plant

Beef tomato image by Pefkos from Fotolia.com

Tomato seed collection and storage can reduce the cost of planting tomatoes in subsequent years, and it provides you the opportunity to reproduce your favorite tomato plants. Tomatoes from hybrid plant varieties may contain sterile seeds, and their viable seeds will produce unpredictable plant characteristics, so it’s usually best to save tomato seeds from heirloom or open-pollinated varieties. Suitable tomato varieties include Brandywine, Green Zebra, San Marzano and Big Rainbow. Save your tomato seeds for up to five years.

Select a ripe, unblemished tomato for its seeds. Choose from a healthy plant with favorable characteristics if picking your tomato directly from the plant.

tomato image by Henryk Olszewski from Fotolia.com

Slice the tomato in half or in quarters, and scoop the gelatinous seed filling into a small glass container.

  • Tomato seed collection and storage can reduce the cost of planting tomatoes in subsequent years, and it provides you the opportunity to reproduce your favorite tomato plants.
  • Tomatoes from hybrid plant varieties may contain sterile seeds, and their viable seeds will produce unpredictable plant characteristics, so it’s usually best to save tomato seeds from heirloom or open-pollinated varieties.

Add approximately 1 tsp. of water to the container--more if the juice and water is not enough to cover the seeds.

Stir the seed mixture twice daily for three to five days. Fermentation will separate the tomato seeds from their gelatinous coating, and the top layer of the mixture may grow mold during this process.

Remove the layer of mold and residue from the container after fermentation completes; the tomato seeds will be resting at the bottom of the container.

Rinse the seeds with water, and set them in a single layer on paper towels. Allow them to dry thoroughly before storage; a few days at room temperature is generally sufficient.

  • of water to the container--more if the juice and water is not enough to cover the seeds.
  • Remove the layer of mold and residue from the container after fermentation completes; the tomato seeds will be resting at the bottom of the container.

Pour the seeds into an envelope labeled with the date and plant variety, and store them in the refrigerator or a dry, cool area.

Instructions On How To Plant Tomato Seeds

Wait until after the final frost of the season and locate a sunny spot in your garden that does not form pools of water after a heavy rain. Remove any weeds and their roots from the vicinity of your planting area and break up the soil with a garden hoe to a depth of 6 inches. Push the seeds into the soil gently until they are roughly one-half inch deep. Water your seeds often enough to keep the soil moist, but avoid saturating the soil with water. Leave at least 3 feet of space between each of the tomato plants that you save. Mix your potting soil thoroughly and add it to the compartments in your planting tray. Begin acclimating your tomato plants to outdoor conditions during the day when temperatures are above 45 F for 10 to 14 days before you transplant them outdoors.

  • Pour the seeds into an envelope labeled with the date and plant variety, and store them in the refrigerator or a dry, cool area.
  • Remove any weeds and their roots from the vicinity of your planting area and break up the soil with a garden hoe to a depth of 6 inches.

Tip

Add silica-gel desiccant or cheesecloth-wrapped powdered milk to the storage container to absorb moisture, as recommended by the University of Minnesota Extension.

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