How to Harvest Tomato Seeds How to Harvest Tomato Seeds
One of the best aspects of gardening is that the process allows you to be self-sufficient, whether you just have tomato plants or have a whole plethora of herbs, fruits and vegetables. However, having to buy seeds or starts every year to plant anew, although not troublesome, takes some of the control out of your hands. Therefore, saving seeds from your homegrown produce allows you to regenerate your own herbs and vegetables and rely less upon commercial products. If you grow tomatoes and wish to save the seeds, there is a short process to follow. Once saved, your tomato seeds are ready to store and be used in your garden next year, making one less purchase at the nursery.
Pick a Tomato, but Not Just Any Tomato
When you plan on saving tomato seeds, you want to first choose the best tomato from your garden. If one particular tomato plant has produced the most flavorful fruit, choose a tomato off of that plant that represents the best of the bunch. Consider color, size and shape. Genetics come into play when saving seeds, so you want to pick the tomato that you think best exhibits the characteristics of the plant.
Remove the Insides of the Tomato
When you have made your selection, cut the tomato in half, and with a spoon or your washed finger scoop out all of the tomato’s insides into a small dish, including the seeds and the gelatinous casing. Add to this a couple tablespoons of purified water. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and prick two or three holes in the top with a fork. You will let this mixture sit for about three days on a sunny window sill. Every night stir the mixture and replace the plastic wrap, remembering to poke holes in it as you do.
Remove the Seeds
After about three days, the gelatinous material or scum will have floated to the surface and separated from the seeds. With a spoon, remove the scum until you are left with just the water and the seeds. Pour the remaining contents of the dish onto a sieve or thin-mesh colander and rinse with water. You will be left with just the seeds. On a plate place either a coffee filter or piece of wax paper. Place the washed seeds atop it in a single layer.
Dry the Seeds
Leave the seeds in a single layer on the plate for a week or more somewhere that they can air dry. Turn them over every once in a while to make sure they are completely dry. You will know that they are dry when they slide across a plate without sticking in the least. After they are completely dry, store them in small paper bags. You can use plastic, but they must be 100 percent dry or else they will rot. Paper bags that can breathe are advisable.
Harvesting tomato seeds allows you to regenerate a favorite plant the next growing season. If you become proficient in saving seeds, you will seldom have to go to the nursery to purchase new ones. Saving seeds makes home gardening completely self sufficient.