Tomatoes are easy to save seed from and are generally easy to keep true to type as they self-pollinate.
How to grow and save seed –
- Grow as you would for eating.
- You can successfully save varieties by saving from just two or three plants.
- Remove any plants which look sickly or have different foliage to the rest, or any which produce tomatoes different to the rest.
- The seeds are ready to save when the tomatoes are ripe. Allow the fruits to ripen on the plants, if possible, or bring the fruits indoors and ripen them as you would for eating, e.g. in a box or drawer with ripe apples or bananas.
- Remove the seeds from the fruit and rinse in a sieve under cold running water, rubbing them against the sieve to remove the gel. Spread on paper towel or kitchen paper, label, and leave to dry.
- Fermentation method –
- Slice them in half, and scrape the seeds and juice out into a jar and half fill it with water.
- You then need to ferment this mixture for a few days – this removes the jelly-like coating on each seed. To do this put the jar of seeds and juice in a reasonably warm place for 3 days, give the jar a stir every day. It should develop a coating of mould, and start to smell a bit – this is normal!.
- After approx 3 days, add plenty of water to the jar, and stir well. The good seeds should sink to the bottom of the jar.
Gently pour off the top layer of mould and any seeds that float. Then empty the good seeds into a sieve and
wash them thoroughly under running water.
- Shake off as much water as possible, and tip the sieve out onto a china or glass plate (the seeds tend to stick to anything else like kitchen paper towels!).
- Dry somewhere warm but not too hot, and out of direct sunlight. Once they are completely dry (this should take a few days), rub them off the plate and store in a cool dry place, where they should keep for at least 4 years.
- I used the fermentation method last year, and found it very easy and successful.
I posted an example of Tomato seed saving with photos here