Saving tomato seeds

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by nandmsmom, Dec 29, 2006.

  1. nandmsmom

    nandmsmom Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,031
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Location:
    SE Mass zone 6a
    I am a bit confused about this. I have heard that tomato plants are self pollinating and so should not cross with each other. I have also read Paquebot's description of how the pros save seed and plant a whole field to have pure seed. I plan to plant a few varieties next year and would like to save seeds from the ones that I like. There are a few heirlooms etc that I'm interested in.

    So, can I save seeds and they'll probably be the same from year to year? Or do I buy seeds year after year? Martin??? Anyone????

    Thanks

    Heather :shrug:
     
  2. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,431
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    Idaho
    What I do is grow one type in my front flower bed and another type in pots in my green house so they don't cross. Then I have a mixed collection in another bed, that I don't save from.
    I pretty much follow the instructions from the following web site:
    http://www.seedsave.org/issi/issi_904.html
     

  3. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,801
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    South Central Wisconsin
    I stick with minimum of 10' between varieties, prefer 15'. At the same time, I've read of certain "experts" who plant at only 5' and have to sort out which fruit belongs to which plant. But those also have gone on record that 5% crossed seed is acceptable.

    You may plant a number of different varieties in a long single row and still save seed that is expected to be reasonably pure. At proper 24" spacing, plant 5 plants and save seeds only from the middle plant. Another way is to plant 3 plants 24" apart in a triangle and just save the deepest fruit from inside. Have those triangles 5' apart and you should be OK.

    For home use, all you really need is the seed from one tomato to last for a number of years. With reasonable storage care, tomato seeds at 5 years are almost as good as fresh for germination.

    Martin
     
  4. ceresone

    ceresone Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,018
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    oops-- i was under the impression that, regardless of the distance, i could select a cluster of tomato blooms, remove all but one, bag it (to keep it isolated) and have pure seeds. i want to grow out about 20 OP varities this year--and theres no garden spot in the south 40. Martin? (gonna have to buy the seed to seed book)
     
  5. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,431
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    Idaho
    I don't think you have to remove any blossoms. In fact I make sure not to, so if one aborts you have back ups in the bag.
    I've not gotten a blossom to polinate in the bags, not sure what I've done wrong.
    Thats whay I use my house to seperate types.
     
  6. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,801
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    South Central Wisconsin
    Bagging is a whole different situation and then you could grow a row of 20 different tomato varieties shoulder-to-shoulder and get pure seeds as long as all details are closely followed. Too many things can go wrong so I won't advise it for a "rookie". I let someone else do it so I don't get blamed!

    Martin
     
  7. ceresone

    ceresone Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,018
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    lol--so-- i even have to wait a year --or more--after i do this-to see if i made it-- look out front yard, back yard, flower beds, back 40-etc, i need to seperate my "maters!
     
  8. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,801
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    South Central Wisconsin
    Now you are learning! My home lot is 75' wide. Driveway on west side reduces the actual sidewalk frontage to about 65'. There is a small bed in the corner near the driveway. Two plants go there. Flower bed in the center gets another two. Far east corner, two more. They are "show and tell" varieties since they are right at the edge of the sidewalk. And, available for sampling.

    Martin
     
  9. Raftercat5

    Raftercat5 Kathy in S. Carolina

    Messages:
    372
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Location:
    SC
    LOL, Martin...I bet your neighbors enjoy their evening walks past your house, sampling tomatoes here and there. Hope they're cherry tomatoes near the sidewalk!
    - Kathy
     
  10. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,180
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2004
    Location:
    WI
    Tomatoes self pollinate but they also are insect pollinated, as are peppers. Peppers seem to be more attractive to insects and thus more easily cross pollinated by insects, so we cage out peppers that we are growing for seed. With tomatoes, we try to keep the varieties that we are planning to save seed from seperated as much as possible from other varieties, and to make it easier we seldom save seed from more than one or two varieties of tomatoes each season. Tomato seed stays viable for many years with proper storage--I will be planting some 10 year old tomato seed this spring and forsee no problems.
     
  11. Zebraman

    Zebraman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    401
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Venice,CA.
    Hey Guys;I use Row covered cages for all varieties that I am saving seed from.It's the same system that is used at both SSE and USDA/Grin.-