Saving tomato seed

A beautiful Autumn weekend here, good for getting lots of washing dry, eating fresh peaches straight from the tree and doing a little seed saving.

I'm an amateur seed saver with only about 6 or 7 seasons practice. So far I've only done easy vegetables that don't cross pollinate easily such as peas, tomatoes, beans, parsnips and beneficial plants like buckwheat and phacelia. I've also had success with silver beet and beetroot by not having them flowering at the same time. If you want a comprehensive guide this book is great, I think the author is American so some of the information doesn't apply to NZ gardeners but the techniques described are great. Even better for Kiwi Gardeners is this one. I've borrowed it a couple of times from friends but they're understandably not keen to part with it for long as it is a great year round gardening reference.
So anyway here's how I save tomato seed. Pick a nice ripe tomato from a bush that displayed all the characteristics you like. For example: flavour, big fruit, disease resistant, early cropper, etc. You won't be able to save from F1 Hybrid tomatoes because they won't be true to seed. Instead choose good old heirlooms, they have more flavour anyway. My best performer this year has been "purple Cherokee"
Cut in half and squeeze out the pulp into a container, add water and swish it around. I have a feeling that if some float those ones will not be viable. I don't let the seed sit in the water as some books describe.
Then just strain them out picking out any pulp,

Then spread them on kitchen paper to dry out. You can pick them off the paper once dry and save in an envelope

but I just save them and plant them paper and all in spring. Save more than you need just in case you get a bad strike rate, then if you do get a great strike rate you can share or swap the seedlings in spring. Oh and don't forget to label and date them.

1 comment:

Jessicah said...

I saved some seed from my 'sweet 100' the other day. I need to do my roma too! I was thinking of hosting a tomato seed swap- would you be interested?