Every year I collect tomato seeds for a number of reasons. Its simple to do and means that you only have to buy tomato seeds if you want to (my main reason to buy seeds is to increase the number of varieties I’ve grown in my effort to find the “best” range of tomatoes.
Saving seeds is simple all you do is:
- Choose the tomatoes you want to save;
- cut them in half and dig out the seeds (a teaspoon makes this easier);
- soak them for a few days (up to two weeks)
- strain them and clean them through a plastic sieve;
- leave them somewhere to dry
- package them up to keep for the following year.
In general, tomatoes won’t cross-pollinate so you will (in general) end up with the same plant the following year. There are two exceptions to this rule:
- if you’re unlucky and they do cross pollinate (in which case you’ve created your own variety – well done); or
- its an F1 hybrid in which case it might revert to one of its parents (or something like one)
However, in all probability you won’t be able to tell the difference between the parent and the child. In all the years I’ve been saving seed only twice have I got a child seed that is noticeably different to the parent. With my Oleron Yellow I got three different children, Red and two shades of yellow. I discarded the red and have continued to grow the yellow ones which seem to “run true”. The other was Mountain Magic which was supposed to be blight resistant. I ended up with two different varieties one potato leafed and one regular leafed, neither were particularly tasty and neither seemed specially resistant to blight (in fact neither was Mountain Magic but that’s a separate story).
So, my advice to everybody is save seed for your “go to” plants and buy seed for the specials.