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How to Save Tomato Seeds So You Can Grow Your Own

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Anyone who has tried a homegrown tomato will know that the flavor and texture is far better than anything you can buy at the supermarket. 

Even though the shape and color of backyard tomatoes may be more irregular than their supermarket counterparts, their rich flavor is proof that you should never judge a book by its cover. The best thing, however, is that it’s easy to grow your own tasty tomatoes just by saving the seeds and following a few simple steps. 

Legendary gardening expert, founder of The Digger’s Club and a vocal opponent of genetically modified and hybrid seeds, Clive Blazey shares his six steps for saving tomato seeds that you can store and plant for years to come! 

While this procedure is best applied to the seeds of tasty heirloom tomatoes, it will work for store-bought varieties and cherry tomatoes as well.

What are heirloom tomatoes?

Heirloom tomatoes are varieties that are not cross-pollinated, but the result of generations of small-scale farming. 

Before the days of supermarket giants, vegetables were grown in backyards and small space gardens which meant that growers didn’t need to worry about their crop being shipped across the country or their plants producing huge yields. 

While genetically modified vegetables are disease resistant and result in larger crops, tomato connoisseurs say the flavor is far inferior to homegrown varieties.

Here’s how to use your tomato seeds to grow your own:

  • Collect the seeds: Collect the seeds from a ripe tomato.
  • Ferment: Squeeze the seeds and a little bit of the jelly pulp into a bucket and leave it for a few days to ferment (this step can be a bit smelly, so be sure to do it somewhere outside where there’s plenty of ventilation).
  • Rinse: Rinse the seeds under fresh water to clean away tomato pulp and the gel coating that surrounds the seed. Repeat until the seeds are clean.
  • Separate: Separate the healthy seed from unviable seed. The healthy seed is denser and will sink to the bottom of the bucket. Discard the seed that floats in the water – just like panning for gold!
  • Clean: Tip the seeds into a sieve for a final clean.
  • Dry: Spread in a thin layer to dry on newspaper or a plate. After drying in a well-ventilated area, store the seeds in an airtight container, and don’t forget to label them! 

You can grow tomatoes like a pro using these seeds for years to come. If they are stored correctly in a cool dry place, these seeds will last four to six years.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.

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