AnnaIkona
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How do you save tomato seeds?

I was wondering how you save tomato seeds to plant next year.

I know there are thin slimy coverings on the seeds, what do I do with those?

Any help would be awesome!
Zone 8b, Canada

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Meatburner
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Re: How do you save tomato seeds?

Anna, the search button is your friend. Many posts on saving seeds. Also, putting you location is so important for other members to help. Put that information in you profile please.

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applestar
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Re: How do you save tomato seeds?

Do you save tomato seeds @meatburner? What methods do you use?

@annalkona, the link marlingardener posted is by far the most informative.

I use the fermentation method. When done correctly, this method helps to eliminate seed borne diseases that are on the outer surface of the seeds. I put a labeled napkin over the cup secured with a rubberband to keep out any fruit flies that may have found its way inside the house. This also keeps down any smells, but perfectly fermented ones with good mother don't smell as much. I think it's the ones that get stray mold growing in them that get stinky.
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applestar
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Re: How do you save tomato seeds?

I noticed this morning that this thread was posted in the Organic Gardening forum. Were you asking how do we save tomato seeds using ORGANIC methods, @annalkona?

In case this is relevant to the intended question -- I don't use Oxyclean or bleach, but I do sometimes rinse the seeds in sudsy water (Dr. Bronner's SOAP which I also use for veg/fruit wash) to kill mold that developed while fermenting. Then rinse with hot water* before final rinse with cool water.

* I have heard that actually, soaking the seeds in hot water that is temperature regulated and maintained at about 120°F for a period of time (I can't remember if it was 10, 20, or 30 minutes at the moment :oops: ) will pasteurize the disease vectors INSIDE the seeds.

So the seeds can handle the temperature AS LONG AS they are not already trying to germinate --- it also means it might not do ANYTHING to just rinse with hot water, but I just do it for my peace of mind.

(I'll try to find the link(s) to the research about the hotwater pasteurization. If I remember correctly, it is extremely effective -- not even bleach which many think of as the end-all will kill the virus and bacteria INSIDE the seeds -- but it does reduce germination % to some level. Also, I believe this pasteurization is necessary at seed saving time and doesn't work as pre-sowing preparation.)
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PaulF
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Re: How do you save tomato seeds?

I also use the fermentation method. Not to start anything, but wouldn't the fermentation method be the most organic? I put seeds and juice and some tomato meat in a container, let it naturally ferment for a few days with a lid on to keep out the flies, then rinse with water (I use just cold water) and put on a paper plate or coffee filter to dry, then store for the next year. I have never used anything but air and water to clean seeds. I know some use tri-sodium phosphate solution to clean seeds instead of bleach or soap solution. I have never tried those methods but am not opposed to giving it a go.

As a side note, I only save seeds from those varieties that are difficult to find or are considered in danger of being lost. There are several very good seed sellers who need to be utilized and rewarded for their efforts and what little I can do to keep them in business is important to me. Seed saving is a fun part of growing tomatoes and I encourage everyone to try it out just to see the process.
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imafan26
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Re: How do you save tomato seeds?

I use fermentation for seeds I am going to store. If I am going to plant right away, I just squeeze the seeds from the tomato into a pot. The seed lab said one of the reasons for fermenting is to break down the gelatinous coat around the seeds. The seeds were intended to be eaten by birds and spread when they pooped elsewhere. The gel helps to protect the seeds from being digested in the birds' gut. If the seeds are dried for storage and the gelatinous parts are not removed it can dry and cover the seed and that might reduce germination later.
All I really do is put the seeds in a strainer and rub them on the side of the strainer to get as much of the coating off as possible and rinse them to get rid of any other debris and of course throw away the floaters. I only ferment for 3 days. I was told that was all that was needed. Another rinse and getting rid of any other floaters then drying and storing in envelopes inside a zip loc bag with a label for the seeds and the date the seeds were collected.
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PaulF
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Re: How do you save tomato seeds?

Ahh, to able to live where I could squeeze seeds from my favorite variety and plant them and expect them to grow to maturity. Tomatoes here ripen in August or September and then have to wait for March to plant into pots and May to transplant into the garden. My garden, my seeds and myself need to rest a few months before starting over again. Mahalo.
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imafan26
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Re: How do you save tomato seeds?

I know what you mean. I am getting ready to start new tomatoes. I have a Livingston grape and a Juliet. Juliet is a type of Roma tomato and that isn't really what I like. Too tart for me. The Livingston grape, I think I stressed it too much it is growing and putting out fruit but the vine is small. I just picked up a grape seedling and I have 2 sungold that I planted from seed. Now, I just have to empty the pots and put in new soil. I might put beans or peas in the third pot. Hopefully I can put enough sluggo down to keep the snails out of the pots.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

AnnaIkona
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Re: How do you save tomato seeds?

I've searched HealpfulGardener, and I decided to simple squeeze the seeds out onto a papertowel, let all the liquid stuff soak in and dry, and then into the envelope for next year :)

Apparently my grandmother used this method too, so I'm gonna try it on some cherry tomatoes and black krim ones too. Thanks for your help! Take care.
Zone 8b, Canada

imafan26
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Re: How do you save tomato seeds?

The seeds should be washed in a strainer first to remove as much of the gelatin coating as you can. Drying on paper towel works but the seeds will stick to the paper but they come off easily.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

AnnaIkona
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Re: How do you save tomato seeds?

imafan26, is the gelatin coating visible? Because I haven't used a strainer, and I ddint see the gelatin coating.
Zone 8b, Canada

tomc
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Re: How do you save tomato seeds?

Fermenting tomato seed is easy, takes as a rule less than 7 days. It does not need triple phosphate or other cleaners. So it is easy to paint inside organic practice lines.

Now if you are saving pounds of tomato seed like Trudi Davidoff, it probably behooves her to strip gell off of tomato seed.

If you are very detail oriented and use a magnifying glass, fermented seed stays fuzzy, stripped seeds come out with a more matte finish.
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Mr green
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Re: How do you save tomato seeds?

I never ferment my tomato seeds, as i have never found out why i should. I simply suck out the juicy flesh with the seeds and spit them things on top of a piece of news paper wich i have found they get less stuck onto than paper towels. Bag them up when dry and store at room temp, they usually last about 4-5 years atleast. (With a little bit of drop in germ rate towards 4th and 5th year that might occur.)
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pepperhead212
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Re: How do you save tomato seeds?

I don't think that the fermenting is necessary, but it does mimic what happens in nature. Maybe it makes them more easily germinated by dissolving a layer of something on the seeds. Whatever works for you, keep doing it!
Dave

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Gary350
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Re: How do you save tomato seeds?

This is easy and quick. Throw your bad tomatoes in a 5 gallon bucket of water. Squeeze the bad tomatoes and all the seeds squirt into the water. Trash the bad tomatoes. Stir well to clean the seeds. Strain the seeds out with screen wire and rinse well. Let them dry on paper or cardboard. Then I put them in white mailing enveloped with labels and dates.

I buy plant trays that contain 4 tomatoes. I plant them in rows and I make a garden map on paper that shows the names of the plants. This year I am planting, beefsteak, beef master, big beef, cherry tomatoes and my son has 8 tomatoes plant for the garden. This year we will have 2 rows with 12 tomatoes in each row. Every 4 plants are the same tomatoes type. If seeds are saved I know what they are.

Nice thing about saving 1000s of seeds next year I sow them in the garden in rows by the 100s. Plant after last frost cover seeds with 1/2" of loose soil. Rain and warm sun will make them grow. Then I thin the plants to 1 plant every 3 feet. I won't need to buy plants next year and don't need to grow inside in trays. No matter how bad the weather is I will have lots of plants that live.

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applestar
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Re: How do you save tomato seeds?

TOMATO SEED PRODUCTION
An organic seed production manual for seed growers in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern U.S.

Copyright © 2004 by Jeffrey H. McCormack, Ph.D.

https://carteret.ces.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Saving-Heirloom-Tomato-Seeds.pdf


There are basically three methods of seed extraction: (1) juice and seed extraction, (2) acid extraction which is not recommended, and (3) extraction by fermentation, which is the preferred method. Fermentation is the preferred method because it is a natural process that is least harmful to the seed and can destroy bacterial canker and other seed-borne diseases. Fermentation should be a controlled process. Though not difficult to do, it can be done incorrectly, in which case the ferment produces a bad smell and an overgrowth of white fungus which can stain and damage the seed. Details of the proper procedure are described in the section below.

FERMENTATIVE EXTRACTION The preferred method for producing commercial-grade seed

The best quality seed is obtained by fermentative extraction. The process basically consists of breaking or mashing up the fruit into pulp, seeds, and juice, and then pouring the mixture (“mash”) into a large container where it ferments for a period lasting usually three days. After fermentation is complete the seed is separated by washing, and then the seed is dried. Though the process is quite simple there are some important details for performing the process properly.
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tomc
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Re: How do you save tomato seeds?

AnnaIkona wrote:I've searched HealpfulGardener, and I decided to simple squeeze the seeds out onto a papertowel, let all the liquid stuff soak in and dry, and then into the envelope for next year :)

Apparently my grandmother used this method too, so I'm gonna try it on some cherry tomatoes and black krim ones too. Thanks for your help! Take care.


In small enough quantity drying on paper towel will work. if you hope to barter tomato seed I would hope you use fermentation technique. If you aspire to save seed in commercial quantity you be be forsed to use triple-phosphate / oxy-clean.

There are ample directions for all three methods.
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