tomato seeds

How to Save Tomato Seeds

I typically won’t attempt to save seed of tomato varieties which can easily be purchased at one of the small, family-owned seed vendors. This year, I will be growing a few varieties that I have traded for and are fairly rare. Next year, I plan on growing a large number of rare but interesting varieties. I’m wanting to get my “seed saving” skills perfected and I have a few questions which haven’t been answered in any of the videos I’ve watched.

1. Should the tomato or tomatoes you intend harvesting seed from being left on the vine until fully ripe. Or is it even better to leave the tomato on the vine until it is overripe? I want to ensure the seed is fully mature before harvesting it.

2. Most seed saving instructions say “when the mold forms on top of the fermenting liquid, the fermenting process is complete. The tomato seeds should not be left in the fermenting liquid “to long” or they may start to germinate or turn black and be damaged”. What is “too long”? Are a few hours or a few days “too long”?

3. What is the best surface to dry the fermented seed on? I think paper towels or coffee filters may stick to the dried seed. Would small paper plates work? If I sprayed a paper surface with a nonstick product like pam to prevent the Tomato seeds from sticking, would it harm the seed?

4. I’ve found the bleach treatment process to work well to assist in the germination of reluctant seed. I typically use it when an original planting of seed doesn’t germinate at all or only a few of the seeds germinate. I typically plant the treated seed immediately after treatment. Would it harm the newly saved tomato seeds to bleach treat it in bulk before drying it?

5. Would a product like talcum powder or Semiautomatics earth assist in maintaining low moisture on the seed surface while in storage?

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