How to Save Tomato Seed

Drying tomato seed

Having your own little seed bank is solid. I like knowing that we’ll never be hungry.

I’m fussy about the seed I save, choosing tomatoes that are

  • pest and disease resilient (eg: Island Bay Italians hardly bothered by the psyllids last year, Russian Reds not impacted by the verticulum wilt this year),
  • vigorous, unfussy growers
  • delicious!


Left to their own device, tomatoes eventually drop to the ground where they rot and ferment, cleaning up seed borne disease in the process.

There are 3 main ways to save tomato seed.

  1. Ferment it first, then rinse and dry it.
  2. The plain old wash and dry.
  3. Or budget styles – squeeze the seed straight onto paper towels to dry.

I’m a fermenter because I love making brews!, but mainly because nature is my leading light – I go her way.

Here’s how:

  • Pick a big, healthy tomato from your chosen plant.
  • Cut it in half and squeeze the seeds (especially the big fat ones in the middle) and pulp into a labelled jar.
  • Add water until the pulp and seeds are just covered. Give it a good stir. Rest the lid on (don’t do it up) so gas can escape.

fermentng tomato seed

  • Sit the jar in a warm place like the top of your fridge or a windowsill and give it a daily shake up.
  • In 2 – 5 days time (depending on how warm it is) your seedy brew will go bubbly/ foamy and smell tangy. It’s ready to clean.
  • Tip it all into a sieve, rinsing with water and rubbing with your fingers until all the goo has gone.
  • Tip onto a teatowel and rub dry.
  • Lay on a plate (still with the label if you are saving more than one variety) and whenever you walk past shuffle the seed about to stop it sticking together.
  • When it’s bone dry (in a week or two) store in a sterilised, labelled jar.

seed bank


There, your very own seed. Resilient, and big time special.


  1. Elle Murray says:

    I’m new to the area and still working out what will grow here. Want to learn about seed saving and grow heritage veges. I love a cottage style garden with veges and flowers together.