How to Save Tomato Seeds for Next Year

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Healthy tomato plants that produce flavorful tomatoes and resist diseases can be grown the following year by harvesting and drying the tomato seeds. It's not hard to do, but you can only save seeds from non-hybrid and heirloom tomato plants. Seeds from hybrid tomatoes will not breed true, and often they will be sterile. Most tomatoes sold at grocery stores are hybrids, but heirloom tomatoes are showing up more often. They can also be found at farmers markets.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • 3 to 4 5 oz. cups
  • Water
  • Spoon
  • Mesh strainer
  • Paper plate
  • Airtight container
  • Wash the outside of a fully ripe tomato with warm water. Cut the tomato across the middle with a sharp knife.

  • Squeeze the pulp out into three or four 5 oz. cups. Place the cups outdoors in a shady location or indoors in a location where you will not have to deal with the smell.

  • Examine the pulp daily to check for white mold. Add water to keep the pulp moist if it appears to be drying out.

  • Once the mold forms, you can begin harvesting the seeds to store them.

  • Fill the cups full with water. Throw away any seeds that float.

  • Rinse the good seeds off with water using a mesh strainer. Be sure to rinse off all the pulp.

  • Place the tomato seeds onto a paper plate in a single layer. Place the plate in a shady location until the seeds dry completely, stirring occasionally with a spoon. They are dry when they no longer stick to each other.

  • Store the dried tomato seeds in an airtight container. Place the container in a dark and cool location.

Tips & Warnings

  • Label the seeds if you are drying different varieties so that you do not mix them up.

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References

  • Photo Credit half full of red tomato seeds on a white plate image by ESGatell from Fotolia.com
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