Saving Seed – Tomatoes

One of my goals for this year’s garden is to save more of my own seeds for varieties I know I will be planting year after year.  Saving my own seed moves my garden a little closer to being self-sufficient and maybe more importantly, by picking the best of the crop to save seed from year after year, I will be naturalizing the seeds to the place where they are grown instead of having seeds ideally suited to growing somewhere else.

It is important to note that while the seeds of hybrid varieties can be saved, what grows from those seeds will likely have little resemblance to the previous year’s plants.  With the heirloom varieties I grow, I should be able to save seeds with reasonably reliable results but with normal variations.

I am familiar with the fermenting method of saving tomato seeds but wanted to research my options to see if another method would work.  I ran across this video that shows how to save tomato seeds on a paper towel.

Fermenting definitely has benefits, the fermenting process helps break down the outer coating on tomato seeds, improving germination rates the following year, but increases the amount of seed handling and well…comes with a stinky, moldy cup hanging around for a week or two.

I went with the paper towel method because it is easier, cleaner and has the added bonus that the bits of paper towel that will be torn off with the seeds next year will help hold moisture next to the seeds as they start to germinate.

These Roma tomatoes will be popped in the freezer until I have enough to make a big batch of sauce to can or freeze.

Roma SeedsSelecting only the best specimens to save seed from and making sure to save from more than one plant to maintain genetic diversity.  Each paper towel of seeds is from one tomato.

RomasI have also been saving seed from the Amana Orange Beefsteak tomatoes.

Amana SeedsThe seeds have been drying on wire shelving for a little over a week and are ready to be packaged, labeled and tucked into my seed box for next year.

Tomato Seed PacketsI plan to test the germination rate in late winter when there is still time to order and start seeds if this method does not prove viable.  If it does work well, I will be looking to use something similar to paper towels again next year, but with recycled material that has not been bleached.  Kaizen!

This entry was posted in Backyard Gardening, Organic, Resources, Square Foot Gardening, Sustainable, Thrift, Tomatoes, Urban Farming. Bookmark the permalink.

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