Tomatoes are one of my favorite plants to grow due to their simplicity. They don’t require a ton of gardening know-how to grow well. Rabbit manure is one of the best fertilizers for tomatoes (in my experience) and they do very well in containers. Another perk: most varieties of tomato produce tons and tons of seeds that can be stored for your next garden. Let’s talk about how to save tomato seeds and store them for the next growing season.
Pro gardener tip: choose heirloom varieties of tomatoes for seed storage, such as the Mortgage Lifter Tomato. Heirloom seeds are known to store well and have stood the test of time. TO learn more about heirloom seeds, check out our article: What Are Heirloom Seeds?
How to save tomato seeds
Cut open a tomato and inside, you’ll find these pale yellow little seeds encapsulated in red, gooey tomato flesh. Yum! That gooey business around the seeds is actually designed to prevent germination of the seed until it can come in direct contact with the soil. That’s why you don’t generally see new tomatoes sprouting from fruit while still on the vine!
So in order to germinate these seeds, that membrane will need to be washed off and the seeds dried. The best way to do that is to remove as much of the gel from the seeds as you can by placing the seeds in room temperature water for a full 24 hours then running water over the seeds in a strainer to force off the protective gel.
Once the gel has been removed, place your seeds on paper towels for approximately a week and let them fully dry out. Once dried, they should have a pale white appearance. Your seeds should store for a few years, six at most. It is ideal to simply use these seeds the next growing season, though.
Read More: How To Prune Tomatoes For A Better Harvest
How to store tomato seeds over winter
So we’ve got dried, happy little tomato seeds that are ready for storage over winter. What’s the best way to store these little guys? You have quite a few options when it comes to storing tomato seeds that you’ve cleaned and dried yourself.
You can place them in a paper envelope or a sanitized jar. The important thing is to keep them cool and dry over winter. You don’t want the seeds to become damp and start to grow or worse, mold.