When You Want To Save Tomato Seeds

I was listening to my favorite homesteading podcast the other day – the Living Homegrown Podcast with Theresa Loe (I highly recommend it if gardening/homesteading/food making is up your alley). Her guest talked about a simple technique her grandmother taught her, and how she uses it to save tomato seeds year after year, and I thought I would share it with you.

Some gardeners swear by rinsing and fermenting tomato seeds, but this technique sounded MUCH simpler, so I decided to give it a try.

7 Simple Steps To Saving Tomato Seeds

  1. Choose a ripe, disease-free tomato. *note, this is a sungold cherry that is ripe when it’s orange. Not an unripe red cherry tomato.
  2. Grab a clean paper towel or napkin.
  3. Gently squish the tomato with the paper towel until the seeds come out. 
  4. Remove the skin and flesh, leaving the juice and seeds on the napkin.
  5. Leave it somewhere it can air dry. 
  6. Label the paper towel with the variety of seed, and store in a plastic bag or envelope with your other seeds until until you’re ready to plant.
  7. When you’re ready to sow seeds in the spring, cut the paper towel into pieces (2-3 seeds per piece) and plant the small pieces of paper towel, with the seeds attached, like you’d plant seeds normally.

That’s it! Just a simple squeeze of a tomato can help you save seeds from this year’s harvest. Other online sources have reinforced this technique, but I’ll be sure to write about it in the spring once I try it out myself. In fact, growing tomatoes from seeds will be new for me in general, I purchased and planted established seedlings this year.

**Update. After sharing this post, I heard from a few fellow gardeners about the types of tomatoes that work best for seed saving. Hybrid seeds (like my sungold cherry tomatoes) are not the ideal seeds to save because hybrid seeds are sterile (they won’t produce fruit) or unstable (they won’t necessarily produce sungold cherry plants next year, aka “they won’t grow true”.)

If you want certainty about what type of tomato plant you’ll be growing from home-saved seeds, stick to preserving heirloom tomato seeds. But, if you’re up for a bit of a gamble, you can still give it a shot with hybrid tomato plants. You just may be in for a surprise (or, the seeds won’t germinate, and then no harm no foul!)

Is it spring yet? 🙂

Do you save seeds? What are your favorite tips?

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