In this tutorial I'm going to show you how to harvest seeds from ripe tomatoes. Planting seeds and letting them start to sprout is a nice gift to give to someone who either loves plants, sustainability, or food!
This is a great project if you either have your own tomato plant, or is lucky enough to get a fully home grown tomato so you can start your own plant.
Let's get started!
Step 1: Parts and Tools
You are going to need the following:
- A ripe tomato
- Coffee filter
- Saran wrap
- A glass
- Kitchen knife
- Cutting board
Step 2: Getting the Seeds
To get out the seeds start by cutting the tomato lengthwise opposite direction of where the stalk grows. This opens the tomato to easily get the seeds out.
Using the tip of a dull knife or a spoon scoop out the seeds. Take care to not scoop out too much of the tomato flesh as we only want the seeds.
Step 3: Fermenting Seeds
Chuck the seeds into the glass. You can add a couple drops of water, but not too much as this prevents the seeds from properly fermenting.
Cover the glass with cling film and poke a few holes in the top.
We are now going to ferment the seeds. This makes the seed separate from the rest of the tomato flesh, as well as becoming hardier for longer term storage.
Place the glass in semi-cold to room temperature area without much light. I used the inside of a cupboard.
The seeds are going to be there for a one to two days. Don't worry if there appears a layer of mold this just means the fermenting process worked! If the seed lay wet like this for much longer than a couple of days they will start to sprout. This is good if you plan to immediately replant the seeds, but not something you want if you plan on storing the seeds for later use.
Step 4: Cleansing and Drying the Seeds
After a couple days of fermentation pour the seeds into a coffee filter. Carefully rinse the seeds with some cold running water. Let all the water run through and you can put down the seeds for drying.
Let the seeds dry out of direct sunlight and when they're completely dry you can put them in a clean coffee filter. Wrap it up and open whenever you feel like replanting the seeds.
Step 5: Replanting
Congratulations you just finished harvesting seeds for replanting tomato plants! Planting seeds and letting them start to sprout is a nice gift to give to someone who either loves plants, sustainability, or food!
You can either plant the seeds immediately or wait until you want to gift a plant or another tomato plant in your window sill!
To replant simply get some plant soil in a pot, add the seeds and cover them with about one centimeter (half an inch) of top soil. Keep the soil wet in the start and with a lot of sunlight.
Tomato plants grows really fast so you should start to get visible sprout within a week.
Step 6: On Choosing the Tomato to Harvest Seeds From
A note on the type of seeds as pointed out by Hammerguy84, the seeds needs to come from heritage tomatoes and not hybrids.
What this means is basically that it's not possible to regrow seeds from store bought tomatoes. This is because regular store bought tomatoes are hybrids made to grow faster, which still creates tasty and healthy tomatoes. However, the seeds of the tomatoes does not contain the same DNA as the mother plant.
If you want to regrow tomato plants from seeds, simply be sure and get a tomato that's already homegrown, or you could look at a farmers market. If you've already grown tomato plants from seeds from a gardening store, or know someone else that has done this, those tomatoes are the perfect candidate for harvesting and replanting!