Saturday, May 1, 2010

Collecting our own tomato seeds

Through experience, I notice seeds collected from plants grown in our little garden has been prepared well by their mother to grow and survive in our garden. Its a hint of the principle, survival of the fittest. The second generation plants grow better. Sunflowers had shown that. So is the winged bean.

I just imagine, it's the responsibility of the mother plant to prepare its seeds with enough coded information of growing parameters, soil conditions, weather, pest harassment, positive and negative contributing factors by the gardeners (Bangchik and Kakdah), the severity of stare by onlookers and passersby walking up and down the public pedestrian walkway. We humans prepare the future of our children through proper upbringing. Plants and vegetables don't last long to really see their own babies. I guess experience and knowledge on survival has to been handed down through some coded info within the seeds. It's just what I think, with no sound scientific treatment. Just a hunch... haha.

So this is what I do to collect seeds from tomato:-

Cut the ripe tomato into halves.  
Normally I  use tomato
from the second harvest.

Now seeds are very much visible

Scoop out the fleshy part, 
and then put it into coffee strainer 
and wash through. 
The residue is the seeds. 
Let them dry for a couple of days, 
then they are ready 
to be germinated.

Are you collecting seeds from tomato plants you grow this way?

Putrajaya, Malaysia


  1. I use to put the seeds on a piece of paper (the kind we use in the kitchen) and just let them dry there. When I plant them, I just rip of a piece with seeds and put all of it directly into the soil. The easy part is that you don't have to wash the seeds before you dry them / gittan

  2. Bangchik, I have read that the jelly that surrounds the seed actually keeps the seed from germinating. It's a self-preservation mechanism. Around here, people put the seeds in some water and let them ferment for a couple of days. The fermentation action disintegrates the protective jelly and kills any possible mildew spores. I am curious to see if your method of simply washing and drying the seeds works as well. It sounds simpler and less time consuming.

  3. We prepare our seeds the same way David mentions above. Soak, ferment for a few days, rinse and dry. I've never tried skipping the fermentation step, so I'll be interested to see how that works for you.

  4. Bangchik, that's the way I usually collect the seeds too. Interesting to know that others are slightly different. That's the joy of learning. Your tomatoes are so fresh and they look very delicious. Great for making some pasta!

  5. wow! looks so yummy! i also used to collect seeds but not anymore this time:) laziness!

    good day!

  6. Good post. In the past I've only saved fennel seeds. Fennel pollen is my favorite spice in the world. I will try tomatoes this year.

  7. Mmm...yummy! Your tomatoes looks delicious. I collect chilli seeds from my own plant too, but I squeeze it out from the fruit.

  8. You're absolutely right about the coded information. Plants are smarter than we think!
    I dont bother to use a strainer... just squish out the seeds with the pulp and spread it out on the medium. All the pulp and juice soon dries up in our hot Indian sun and I figure that it must be adding a lot of nutrients to the soil which should be of use to the seedlings taking their first steps.

  9. Thanks for showing the way Bangchik! Have a wonderful weekend.

  10. my parents had done the same, and they grew so much tomatoes. I used to be successful but these few years, the weather had not been good.

  11. Hi Bangchik, I finally did get some ripe tomatoes of my own and am going to try seed saving for the very first time - so this post was very interesting and timely for me!

  12. aloha,

    nice suggestions from all the comments and nice post!

  13. Your way is best, but I just throw a few extra tomatoes sometimes just a small piece of one, into a compost laden bin and allow them to dry naturally and germinate when they are ready, so I have some small plants growing when the time is right to plant out . I like the tiny cherry tomatoes that I can just eat as lollies while walking in the garden!

  14. I have read that seeds saved from a previous year's crop are better adapted to the garden the mother plant grew in for the reasons you explain. Isn't it fascinating!

    Your method of seed saving is much easier than fermenting the seeds in water. I will try it this year!

  15. gittan
    David in Kansas
    Curbstone Valley Farm
    Autumn Belle
    garden girl

    Thanks everyone. There are so many ways to germinate. We can always try other ways just for fun, thus better equip ourselves. We can be very clinical with germination with standard procedure, but before man come into play, plants had been doing it themselves, probably with help from other animals.

    A fruit like tomato will drop when it is ripe. The fruit on the soil will go bad sooner or later. Heat and rain will dislodge the seeds from the rest. The mother plant will die when it is getting old. At that moment I think, the seeds will spring into action...,

    I guess fermentation for a few days, more or less simulate the way tomato germinate in the wild. But throwing tomato into compost heap or somewhere we want them to grow, is not bad an idea too.... Nature will handle the rest as it has been doing for million of years.

    The bottom line is, we want to see roots and shoot emerging from the seeds. It doesn't matter which way....

    Putrajaya, Malaysia

  16. I saved some seeds from a delicious tomato I had in the South of France on a picnic about 4 years ago. Left them in water for 3 days to get rid of the jelly, then dried on coffee filter paper. But then I left them on a bookself tucked out of the way and forgot about them for a few years. Planted them up this spring, and they're the strongest most vigorous tomato seedlings out of all the varieties I'm trying.

  17. ~Shiny New Allotment Holder
    Thanks for the info. Nice to know that seeds can survive through for 4 years, and still has enough strength to kick out the best and strongest seedlings. Fascinating indeed. We should not underestimate their ability. Thanks


  18. I think you are right about the parents passing on some sort of information in the genetics to the offspring. I love how you added on the stares of onlookers from the sidewalk. :)

    As for the tomato seeds, I save mine without soaking. I just spread them on a paper plate and let it dry up. I have had many successful plantings using this method.

  19. Bangchik, have you thought about saving the surplus seeds for like more than a year? Would you share your idea on how to go about it?

  20. ~Jessica
    It is good how we can share gardening practice through blog and blotanical. Now about seed saving...

    ~KL Vegetable Garden
    I normally place them in a plastic with label, then place in any container or box or whatever as long they are away from excessive heat and dampness. They should last more than a year I guess... You can give it a try...


  21. Bangchik, do the seeds have to be kept in an air-tight bag, can, box , etc...?

  22. Bangchik, my way is the laziest way.. i took the seeds out from a fresh tomato and plant them directly to the pot. it was a try-try but they germinated!! i keep only 2 plants in the pot and they are now abt 4ft tall, giving me not more than 10 fruits per plant. sounds pitiful huh? maybe they are planted in pot, they look very skinny.. haha.
    love your blog! :)

  23. ~KL Vegetable Garden
    I dont normally keep tomato seeds. Always the fresh seeds. Other seeds are kept in plastic containers..

    As long as the seeds germinate, how we get the seeds is immaterial.


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