Tomatoes are at their peak now, and some stand out as new or old favorites. Maybe it’s flavor, size, color, meatiness, disease resistance, productivity, or all of the above. Why not save some seeds of those favorites so you can grow and enjoy them again next year? It is really very easy to save seeds from tomatoes, but there are a few important rules: 1) The variety must be an open-pollinated heirloom variety (not a hybrid) because only seeds from heirloom varieties will grow out true to the parent plant; 2) It must have grown this year at least 10 feet away from other tomato varieties (to avoid cross-pollination). If you are not sure, it’s worth it to double check the variety name and how it was grown this year.
To save tomato seeds, select healthy, fully ripe fruit from a few different plants of your chosen variety. Cut them open and scrape the pulpy seeds into a bowl or jar. Eat the rest! Add a little water to the seeds and set aside out of the sun for a few days. After about 5 days of natural fermentation, the healthy seeds will have separated from the pulp and sunk to the bottom. You will drain and rinse these and spread them on paper to dry, allowing at least a week for them to dry thoroughly before storing. Don’t forget to label them! – here’s a link to more detailed instructions.
Have fun! And if you are worried about having “done it right”, try this easy germination test on a few of your dried seeds, to see if they sprout……… Place 5 or more seeds between layers of wet/wrung out paper towel, fold this into a small plastic bag and set aside for several days, checking daily on progress, and keeping the towel moist. Be patient…… Seeing the seeds come to life is worth the wait!