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

Processing seeds for the swap

Summer squash seeds

Breaking open summer squashOur first meetup get-together (a seed swap) is coming up on Saturday, which reminded me to process a lot of seeds that have been sitting around on the porch for the last week or month (or longer).  It took the minisledge to bust open the summer squash, but the output looks much better than last year's seeds (which dried down into slivers clearly too immature to sprout).

Cut butternut

Meanwhile, I chose four of the best-shaped butternuts for seed-saving --- fruits with a thick abdomen are preferred to those with big butts.  Then I shelled the rest of the mung beans and packed away the watermelon, green bean, and Swiss chard seeds (all of which had been drying much longer than they needed to).

Even if only the hand-invited few who have already RSVPed show up for the seed swap, it will have been worth it to get those seeds off the porch and into the seed box.  Next up in easily-put-off fall chores --- harvesting the rest of the butternuts and moving sweet potatoes off the drying racks.  I wonder what kind of event would tempt me to do that?

Our chicken waterer is the POOP-free solution to clean up filthy, damp coops.

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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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Er. Bringing me down a big batch of them?
Comment by Errol Tue Sep 18 09:51:24 2012
Daddy --- I'll have to save out some of our mammoth sweet potatoes and extra squah for you. You might have to come pick them up, though.... :-)
Comment by anna Tue Sep 18 10:01:26 2012

Why do you prefer the butternuts with the big abdomens (I'm guessing you mean the straight-sided part closest to the stem) over the ones with big butts? Is it because they have a better flesh to seed ratio?

A few years ago I tried saving my green bean and runner bean seeds - just pulled them off the vine when dry, shelled them and stored them in a glass jar. But a few months later they were all full of holes and tiny little round beetles...weevils, maybe? Any idea where I went wrong? Did I harvest too late, should I have stored the beans with a bay leaf?

Comment by Rena Tue Sep 18 13:07:17 2012

Rena --- You guessed right on the butternut. Most of the flesh is in the part closest to the stem, so the wider and longer that is, the more food you get per fruit. Even though big "butts" look fun, there's not much there. :-)

We sometimes have the same problem when saving bean seeds. My solution is to put the seeds in a plastic container and leave them in the freezer for a week or so to kill insects. Then you can take the seeds out and as long as you don't open the container, it won't get buggy again. Just make sure you don't open the container until it's come completely back to room temperature or you'll get condensation, which will make your seeds wet.

Comment by anna Tue Sep 18 14:28:51 2012

I realize that I have wasted good-eating seeds, of the summer squash! I wish you would try some and tell us how they compare with pumpkin and winter squash seeds. btw--have you ever eaten roasted watermelon seeds?

Comment by adrianne Tue Sep 18 20:14:17 2012

Mom --- I never got into pumpkin seeds as we ate them when I was a kid. I didn't like chewing up the tough outer layer! I tried to grow naked seed pumpkins both last year and this year with no luck, but I may try another variety next year. I do love pumpkin seeds, just not the hulls....

I don't think I've tried roasted watermelon seeds. Have you?

Comment by anna Wed Sep 19 16:34:09 2012

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