The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

How to save summer squash seeds

Shriveled seedI thought I was so clever scooping seeds out of my monster squash to save for next year's garden.  But once I rinsed the seeds off and let them dry, it became evident that the flat, shriveled seeds weren't going to be viable.  What did I do wrong?

Further research turned up the information that I was skipping a step in my seed-saving endeavor.  First, I should have waited until the monster squash was mature enough that I couldn't dent the skin with my fingernail (which I discovered on my second try resulted in a more orange-colored and warty fruit.)  Next, remove the mature squash from the vine and let it sit for two weeks before crushing the fruit under your heel and scooping out the innards.

If you've done everything right, the center of your summer squash should actually look Squash seedslike the inside of a pumpkin or other winter squash.  The seeds will be mixed in with strands of moist flesh, and there will be a significant amount of air space.  As you pull out the seeds, the squash guts will smell just like the hollowed out center of your jack-o-lantern.

After rinsing my second round of squash seeds and pouring off any that floated in water, I ended up with the plump seeds shown here.  Success at last!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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