Why save tomato seeds? On the surface, it may seem that the effort to save seeds is just one more chore at the end of the long gardening season.
But seed saving is easy and has many benefits. Here are just a few of them.
1. Save money. When you collect seeds from your strongest or favorite tomatoes, you can grow them again next season at hardly any cost.
2. Save hassle. It’s convenient to have your favorite varieties on hand at sowing time in mid- to late winter. Plus, seeds take hardly any space. You can store them in your refrigerator or freezer and barely notice them.
3. Be self-sufficient. There’s a tremendous sense of satisfaction to know that you can grow crops independently from year to year.
4. Exchange seeds. Use your seeds to trade with other gardeners. You can trade for other tomato varieties, other vegetables, or flower seeds. Learn more about seed trading. Find seed exchange forums on which to trade seeds.
5. Share seeds. A single tomato plant yields dozens and dozens of seeds. Saving tomato seeds means you have extras to give to family and friends.
6. Give as gifts. A packet of personalized seeds is a meaningful and useful gift. Plus, Christmas falls perfectly in between the end of the growing season (when you save seeds) and just before the beginning of a new growing season (when you can start tomato plants indoors.) Create a seed assortment to give gardening friends for Christmas. Tuck a small packet of tomato seeds into your Christmas cards and tell family and friends how much you enjoyed your garden during the previous year.
7. Grow lots of tomatoes. When you have your own seeds, you can start as many tomato plants as you like or as many as your garden can hold.
8. Grow extra plants. Start extra plants in the early spring with all your extra seeds. Give them away or sell them.
9. Protect varieties. Every year, favorite seed varieties disappear from seed catalogs. Many times it’s not cost-effective for large seed companies to carry lesser-known types of tomatoes or they run out of a variety, so they’re not offered. As a result, fewer people grow them. Home gardeners and small seed businesses can help prevent the disappearance of different tomato strains. By saving seeds, you help continue to keep heirlooms active in the tomato seed gene pool. This is particularly true when you grow rare varieties or types of tomatoes that have been passed down through families.
10. Have fun! Why save tomato seeds? One of the best reasons is that saving tomato seeds makes gardening even more enjoyable.
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