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1pollinating kit pollinisation demofruit72.jpg
1pollinating kit pollinisation demo72.jpg

Breeding & Seed Saving Kit

For tomatoes, eggplants + other large-flowered species

How-to's and tips

Bagging can be a fun activity to learn the process of DIY seed saving or home breeding, and it works nicely with some crops. The bags sold here on the Store are designed to fit on some species. Here I will show the how-to’s with the Tomato, but I’ve used them a little on some beans, peppers and eggplant.

tomate_pochette_pollination_blossom bag

As most tomato flowers are self-fertile (except some wild species) the only thing to do is to install the bag around a flower truss before they open. Tip: if many flowers are formed, let the first one or two bloom and remove them. At that moment, the stem will be longer so it’ s easier to install the bag around the remaining ones.

If your variety has a prominent pistil, it may be less effective unless the bag is shaken (some wind may help too) some time before noon - when the pollen is ready - so it has more chances to fall on the tip of the pistil.

To do a successful "controlled" pollination outdoors, many options exist. One can use tape, clothespins (for squash - large flowers) and insect netting/row cover to keep all pollinators out except yourself, to access the flowers.

To harvest pure seed from a tomato plant, use the bag to enclose the flowers and remove it once fruits have started to form. Tag your "pure" fruits to remember which ones are to be collected (use threads, small tags, etc).


This tomato species has a (very) prominent pistil and it requires insect pollination (or hand pollination). The insects associated with this type of flower do not seem to live around here! Result: no fruits.

eggplant flowers_fleurs d'aubergine

For eggplants, it seems best to mix pollens from different plants of the same variety in order to get a reasonable amount of seed. Protect (bag) the flowers used as females (fruit forming). No need to remove the anthers if it’s for seed saving.
Eggplants: it’s easier to collect pollen by vibrating the flower (electric toothbrush or low-tech option: tuning fork) with the anthers placed above one side of the plastic tube -or any flat surface. (It’s fun to watch!) Vibration works well to extract tomato pollen too. I generally collect pollen between early morning to noon depending on the weather. (picture: the arrow indicates the anthers, where the pollen is)


tomato_emasculated flower_pistil

When using the bag for a cross, remove all anthers with tweezers (see picture below  - pistil remains intact).
It has to be done before pollen is released (tomato: the flower is not open yet, still greenish). Bag the flower and pollinate early on the next day as soon as you collect pollen from an open flower (same day may also work).

1pollinating kit pollinisation72.jpg

I use the tubes to carry open flowers around during pollination, tagged with variety name or code.
Many people vibrate flowers in order to harvest pollen, while I use it straight from the anthers. Feel free to try any method.

My bags are made from lightweight row cover (UV resistant for some time) and will stand most ‘normal’ summer conditions, except unusual high wind storms.
Close it around the flowers by pulling the thread and holding the bag with the other hand. I use to twist the thread around the main stem to secure it in place. You may need to loosen it a little after a week or so if necessary to let the plant grow normally.

Good luck and a great seed harvest!

dessin légumes - vegetables line drawing
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