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.