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Saturdays in the Garden: Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds

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Are you saving your own garden seeds for next year?  It’s fun to try, even if you plan on purchasing seeds from an heirloom seed company, as well.  We’ve been pleased with the flavor of the Brandywine and Yellow bell varieties we’ve grown this summer, so we wanted to save some seeds. The process of saving heirloom tomato seeds sounds a little strange, but the seed experts say it works.  It’s a process you can try at home.  You need open pollinated or heirloom seeds to do this.

Saving Tomato Seeds

We unfortunately ate the latest tomato that looked like it should have won a prize at the county fair, so we still saved some seeds from what we picked on this particular day.  Ideally, you should let that prize tomato overripen before picking it for this project.

We sliced our tomatoes in half, then squeezed out the seeds into clean glass jars.  We’ll add about twice as much water, cover then lightly with a cloth (not airtight), then wait.

The next step should look like a fun, gross science experiment the the kids will find fascinating.  It takes a few days, so we’ll show you what it looks like next Saturday.

Tomato Seeds in Jar

Fermenting tomato seeds to prepare them for drying and saving is an old gardening practice.  Like other organic practices, it’s simple and doesn’t involve any toxic additives like you might find used in a large, conventional seed operation.

For the precise steps in fermenting and saving tomato seeds, you can find details in this Rodale News article on seed saving.  See how seed saving is done on slightly larger scale in this article at A Way to Garden.  Watch this short video with Horticulturist Art Davidson on saving tomato seeds at Baker Creek Seed, the heirloom seed leader that we’ve visited.

What have you been doing in the garden lately?  Use #floursackmamagarden in social media and tag us, and maybe we’ll re-share your photo!


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