Harvesting tomato seeds is the best way to preserve a good performing tomato plant. Starting with good tomatoes, you can extract them using tomato seed equipment that separates the juice, pulp, and seeds. Then, dry the seeds before storing them in a location away from direct sunlight.
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Extracting tomato seeds manually or using equipment
You can get tomato seeds manually or by using tomato seed extraction equipment. For manual extraction, the tomato is cut open, and the pulp is squeezed into a container. The pulp is dried by spreading it on an absorbent surface such as tissue paper for about 48 hours. As soon as the pulp dries, the seeds can be collected easily. Another manual method is placing the seeds in a jar of water and stirring them several times a day for about 2 days. The remaining gel attached to the tomato seeds will separate and float to the surface. The good seeds will sink at the bottom, and the bad seeds float to the surface. Then, you need to remove the bad seeds from the good ones and let them dry before storing them away from sunlight.
Extracting manually takes more time compared to using a piece of equipment. If you want to scale up and use tomato seed equipment, an extraction machine crushes the tomato and separates the juice, pulp, and seeds. Then you can place the seeds in a dryer to remove the moisture before storing them away from sunlight. This is much faster than manual extraction as it can remove more of the jelly-like coating of the seeds. This method is also suitable for multiple batches of tomatoes.
Fermentation process for natural tomato seed extraction
After extracting the seeds from the tomatoes, you need to remove the jelly-like coating of the seeds by a fermentation process. It takes about two to three days for this entire process to complete. Removing the coating is important as this prevents molds from developing. This process also removes certain seed-borne diseases, which helps promote the health of seedlings. Tomato seeds that are properly sized, fermented, washed, dried, and stored can last anywhere from 7 to 10 years.
Hybrid seeds for a stronger tomato plant
A hybrid tomato is a result of intentionally cross-pollinating two different varieties of tomatoes. The hybrid tomato will have both characteristics of each variety. Some of these hybrids can be disease-resistant and can produce consistent tomatoes in size and shape. However, there is no certainty that the seeds produced by hybrids will have the same characteristics as the original hybrid seed and in some cases, the seeds won’t sprout at all. To check if your seeds will sprout or not, you need to do a water test by putting the seeds in a container of water for about 15 minutes. The seeds that will sprout will sink, and the ones that won’t will float.