What tomato seeds can be collected
If you are planning to propagate fruits from your garden, pay attention to the seeds that you have sown. Usually, the packaging indicates “variety” or “hybrid F1” (rarely F2). So in the first case, you can safely collect seeds from your tomatoes – next year they will yield a crop of the same quality. Breeding hybrids is a waste of time. Their production is a complex process involving breeders who cross several varieties. As a rule, seeds collected from hybrid fruits will either not produce good seedlings, or tomatoes will turn out much worse than their “parents”.
Following this logic, you should not collect seeds from fruits bought in the market or in a store. After all, you do not know for sure which tomatoes are – varietal or hybrid. But you can ask for a tasting to the neighbors and take a couple of fruits they like from them.
How to choose the right tomatoes
It is believed that the higher the brush is located to the top of the plant, the less large seeds it contains. Therefore, it is better to choose fruits from the first two lower brushes. On them, look for tomatoes of the correct shape and size – those that best match the variety. You can take both fully ripened fruits and just starting to turn red – in both cases you will get good seeds.
Carefully inspect the selected tomatoes: they should not have spots, plaque and traces of rot, which can be not just mechanical damage, but signs of disease. In addition, the plants themselves must also be absolutely healthy, strong and well developed. Such vigilance will help to obtain high-quality planting material.
How to collect tomato seeds at home
Wash the fruits thoroughly, take a small bowl or jar, a knife, a coffee or teaspoon, cheesecloth or a sieve.
Extract the seeds
Cut the fruit into two or four pieces. Gently squeeze each with your fingers and squeeze the seeds, along with the juice, into a bowl. If the fruit is hard, you can get them with a spoon.
Send seeds for fermentation
This procedure will help to destroy the protective shells of the seeds, so that in the future they will germinate faster and easier. Cover the container with tomato gruel with a lid or saucer and leave at room temperature for two days. If you have collected seeds from different varieties, be sure to label each one so there is no confusion.
After fermentation is completed, most of the seeds will settle to the bottom, the juice will brighten, and a film and air bubbles will form on its surface.
Rinse and dry the seeds
Pour the gruel into cheesecloth or a fine sieve. Rinse the seeds thoroughly under running water.
Place them on paper, newspaper, or a napkin to drain excess liquid.
And then put on a plate in one layer and leave to dry for 5-7 days at room temperature.
How to store tomato seeds
Spread completely dried seeds in cloth bags, paper bags, envelopes, or simply wrap them in baking parchment. Do not use plastic bags – they allow air to pass through and the planting material may rot or become moldy. On each homemade package, do not forget to write the name of the variety and the year of collection.
Store seeds in a dry, dark and cool place. They will be suitable for sowing within 5 years.