Are you the type of gardener who loves to save seeds for next season? Then you have got the right platform to explore methods that will help you save tomato seeds to enjoy a less costly harvest next season. Although, saving your tiny tomato seeds is not as difficult as it is generally considered. Tomato seeds, just like a couple of other vegetables, are enclosed in a gel form covering.
The gel-type covering incorporates growth inhibitors, and these inhibitors prevent the sprouting system inside the tomato. When you sow the tomato seed inside the soil, the covering breaks down naturally, and fermentation enables the seed to hold the process manually. Therefore, while securing a seed for the next season, we have to perform a few additional steps of fermentation. So, without wasting further minutes, let’s get straight into it!
To choose the tomato variety we first need to understand pollination types!
It is a type of pollination that occurs between two plants either by insects, wind, or water. Let’s take an example of a bee! A bee goes to the flower of one plant, which is a male flower; it gets the pollen and then flies to another plant with a female flower. He lands in those pollen mixes that is cross-pollination.
The next process that we need to understand is self-pollination. It is essentially the same thing as cross-pollination except that it occurs on the same plant to have both male and female reproductive organs. Some examples of these are tomatoes and beans.
Open pollination is when these processes occur between two plants of the same variety, and that’s the distinguishing factor there, and when that happens, you get seeds that produce true to type. This means that they have the same traits as the parents’ plants with little natural variations. This is why open-pollinated seeds are the only seeds you can save and grow next season.
Hybrids occur naturally in nature and are when two plants of different varieties are cross-pollinated. However, when we talk about hybrids in today’s term, we are talking much more specifically about the controlled cross-pollination of two plants of different varieties you can select for specific traits.
Heirloom Vs Hybrid Seeds
Hybrid seeds tend to produce more vigorously. But this is not always the case; often, they do, which can be beneficial for the farmers if they are not worried about saving seeds. However, they lose out in flavor because breeders focus on traits such as production and shelf-life.
When it comes to heirloom seeds, all heirlooms are open-pollinated. This is necessary if you want to save the seed and have it grow true to type. Heirlooms are very important because you can find them adapted to the environment and with very special traits.
Open-pollinated seeds are much more diverse in nature on two different levels based on the plant variety level. It means that there are way more varieties of open-pollinated seeds compared to hybrid seeds. This is because anyone can save open-pollinated seeds in selects for traits and create new varieties.
How To Save Tomato Seeds? Easy To Follow Method!
If you prefer to begin saving tomato seeds each year, this saving process will walk you through all you might at any point need to know! Let’s begin with picking the right tomatoes!
Choose The Right Tomato Type!
Are you going to grow open-pollinated varieties? You have to decide before starting the process.
Pre-choosing these great picks implies you will get seeds from that particular amazing organic product. That supports your chances of getting more organic products, very much like those!
In any case, open-pollinated varieties can be cross-pollinated from various species. Suppose you have that San Marzano, but on the other hand, you’re growing a Cherokee Purple, a fourth of July, and a Yellow Pear tomato. That is presently one glue tomato, one legacy slicer, one serving of mixed greens slicer, and one cherry tomato assortment. Your honey bees can cross-pollinate those.
The following organic product from that cross-pollination may not be 100% indistinguishable from its parent plant. The organic product itself will pose a flavor like what you planted. However, the seeds may now convey qualities from different species. This is how hybridization occurs over different ages of a plant.
Thereby put your hand on the best pick, the bigger and juiciest one. If you are planning to get seeds from them, then mark them in advance. We prefer using a piece of yarn tied around the branch close to the tomato. You need them to mature on the plant, and indeed, you need to leave those on the plant until they go over-ready and somewhat soft.
Extract Tomato Seeds And Remove The Pulp
Give your selected tomatoes a precise shower and remove all the dirt or dust. Soak for a while and slice them in half from its equator line. With the help of your ice cream scoop or fingers, scoop out seeds. If you don’t have a scooper at the time, you can use your fingers to extract the seeds. Save the extracted seeds in a bowl, or you can also save them in a jar. You can use the remaining tomato in cooking.
Now you are good to go for further steps! Put some water into the Jar or bowl and stir to remove the pulp from the seeds. Now cover your Jar with a plastic wrapper but don’t forget to make holes so that air can move easily. If you are using a jar with a metal lid, you can directly punch tiny holes and don’t close the lid too tightly. Air is important to boost the fermentation process and if the lid is tightly fitted can harm or explode the fermentation. It would help if you always label your containers depending on the tomato variety and never let your hard work on your memory.
Place the mixture in a warm place, for example, on top of the fridge or dehumidifier. The best temperature required for fermentation is 70º-80º F. If your home is cool, or you can’t track down a warm region, seeds will, in any case, ferment; however, the process might require a little while longer.
Ferment Tomato Seeds
The most important thing about this part is to ensure careful handling and observation. You should always observe your Jar profoundly to note the fermentation process. Hence for this, you need to remove the covering from the Jar, and stir the liquid subtly and place it back in the warmer place after stirring. This process can take up to 4 to 7 days, depending on your room temperature.
The fermentation can be identified in three different ways! These are known as fermentation signs.
- Seeds get separated from the pulps and flow to the bottom of the Jar.
- It makes bubbles at the top of the Jar
- The gel dissolves around the seeds.
Eliminate seeds from the fluid when fermentation starts. If you permit seeds to remain in the fluid as it ferments, they might start to grow. Warm, wet conditions in the container are ideal for growing seeds – an advancement you should always keep away from when saving seeds.
It’s Time To Dry Your Seeds Properly!
After the entire process of picking the tomato and handling a careful fermentation now, it’s the right time to dry them profoundly before you save them! To dry them precisely, you need to have a paper plate or glass dish, parchment paper, or waxed paper as this type of soaking material will prevent them from sticking. Some gardeners make their tomato soaking papers so you can also follow tips to make them your own.
Once you have the right soaking material, now place them on the soaking material you have. Place them where the temperature is warm but protect them from direct sunlight. You can again put them at the top of your refrigerator. You can stir them with a stirring spoon or shake your soaking material slightly to ensure evenly drying. If you provide them with a slight air, then chances are they will dry quickly.
If you provide them with the right temperature and moderate environment, the drying process will hardly take 1 to 2 weeks. In areas with humidity and high temperature, it will take much more time to dry seeds. In some cases, the temperature may lead to pre-sprouting at high temperatures. Thereby always prevent them from high temperature and artificial heat.
Store Them Safely
You need t0 to buy either paper envelopes or plastic bags with the built-in zipped system to store them up properly! Before pouring them into storage, bags make sure that they are perfectly dry. If your storage bags are made with plastic, then the moisture in seeds will be locked inside the bag, which can damage the whole bag. If you are a beginner and don’t want to take any risk using plastic bags, you can purchase silica gel packets to secure seeds as they soak extra moisture and improve shelf life.
Always label packages with seed’s variety and date not to mix them up. You can store them in any cool or dry place as gardeners always prefer a freezer to store them. If you don’t want to store your seeds in the freezer, you can place them at any cool place.
Saving tomato seed is possible, especially when you are dedicated to growing true-to-type tomatoes for next season. We hope that this easy to uphold guide will save your time and money in spending hybrid seeds for the next round.