In order to be able to enjoy your favorite tomato every year, you can dry the seeds from the tomatoes and win your own tomato seeds. In our instructions, we show you how to proceed correctly when harvesting seeds.
By drying tomato seeds you can produce tomato seeds yourself [Photo: Swellphotography / Shutterstock.com]
One often wonders why tomatoes ( Solanum lycopersicum ) often taste like nothing more than a watery fruiting body in stores. Anyone who remembers their childhood and grandma's aromatic tomatoes does not indulge in unrealistic memories, but rather knows how tomatoes should actually taste. If you can call your own terrace, balcony or garden, growing delicious tomatoes is no problem. It's best to experiment with some tried and tested varieties and taste them with family and friends. Once you have found your favorite variety (s), you naturally want to cultivate it in the following year as well.
Extract & dry tomato seeds yourself: Instructions
If you want to gain seeds, you can leave one or two tomatoes hanging on the plant a little longer. It is best to pick the fruit only when it is overripe. This guarantees that the seeds are fully developed. Such seeds are later clearly more viable and vital. To remove the seeds, cut the tomato crosswise. The slippery seeds are best laid out on a small piece of baking paper and left to dry well. Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to laboriously remove the gelatinous mass from the seeds. Once this has dried, it protects the seeds and ensures that they can be stored well. The tomato seeds must be very well dried, then they can be packed and stored for the winter.
The small, well-dried pieces of baking paper can be packed in a suitable foil bag with a clip closure and then labeled with a water-insoluble pen (variety name and harvest year). If the seeds are hermetically sealed and stored in a dry, cool and dark place, you can lean back and relax. Because this is how tomato seeds last for at least five years. You shouldn't freeze the tomato seeds because they are not used to cold temperatures.
Tip: Homemade tomato seeds of an old variety are a great gift for all hobby gardeners!
Cut out a piece of baking paper
Cut the tomato fruit in half and remove the seeds with a small spoon or knife
Spread the seeds (with fruit mucus) on the baking paper and let them dry
Summary of winning tomato seeds:
- Select and grow a solid seed variety, not an F1 hybrid
- Harvest overripe fruit and cut in half
- Remove the seeds with a spoon and spread on baking paper
- Allow tomato seeds to air dry
- Fill into sachets, label and store in a cool and dry place for up to 5 years
Benefits of Obtaining Tomato Seeds
You can easily extract and dry tomato seeds yourself. Depending on the type of fruit, whether cocktail or beefsteak tomato, there are different numbers of seeds. Usually, however, there are so many that seeds can be obtained from a single fruit for the next few years. Tomato seeds can germinate for about 5 years if they are stored in a dry and cool place. Compared to other vegetables, they are real late risers and germinate quite reliably even after a long time. A nutrient-reduced, air- and water-permeable potting soil, such as our Plantura organic herb & sowing soil, also supports the germination of the tomato seeds. Tomatoes usually pollinate themselves, which guarantees that the same variety will come out again next year.
Modern varieties often carry the designation F1 hybrid. These hybrids are targeted crosses from two genetically different parents that, for example, have disease resistance or high yields. If the flowers of a hybrid variety are pollinated, the parent genes are wildly mixed. The properties of the next generation will most likely differ from the F1 hybrid; true cultivar preservation is not possible here.
The greatest advantage of tried and tested varieties is therefore their seed fastness. If a true-seed variety pollinates itself, no new genes are thrown through, but the current combination of properties is retained. In this way, seeds for the next year can be obtained from the older cultivars that exactly match the mother plant. This also saves you the cost of buying the seeds again, by the way, you may multiply a variety that is decades old and preserve the great variety of tomato varieties.
If you have a favorite tomato variety, you can use the harvested fruits to win seeds for the coming season [Photo: RMIKKA / Shutterstock.com]
Winning tomato seeds: the advantages at a glance
- Easy removal and drying of the seeds
- Can be kept for up to 5 years if stored properly
- Own propagation of non-seed varieties
- No costs for repurchase and preservation of cultural property
You can find out how to grow small tomato plants from the seeds you have collected in our article on sowing tomatoes in the next year.