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Pumpkin Seeds - Buying, Selection and Saving
Any experienced grower will tell you that good seed is an important to a
successful crop. What the statement means is:
The seed is viable and a good germination rate(percentage) is likely to exist.
Genetics, genetics, genetics. If you want
a large pumpkin, obtain seeds from a large fruited parent. However, not all
large pumpkins are "pretty". So you may have to sacrifice a little size for
a rounder, oranger strain.
Many growers, including this author, believe that viruses can be stored in
the seed and carry into the next year's crop. So, look for seed from a grower
who rotates his crops and knows to remove any diseased vegetation from his
The seeds will produce the type of fruit you want.
Cross-pollination is common among the Cucurbita
Family. Any experienced grower has experienced a cross between a pumpkin
and a zucchini at least once. The problem is that when cross-pollination
occurs, the genetics are contained in the seed, and will not show up until
next year. Experienced growers know how to minimize this risk.
When you look to acquire seed, keep the above thoughts in mind. But, do not
let it deter you from either saving your own, or getting seed from another
Here are the simple steps for saving seed for next year:
Select large, healthy pumpkins from healthy plants. Remember large begets
large and round begets round.
If one plant appears more disease resistant than others, lean towards a pumpkin
from this vine.
Select two or three pumpkins if possible. Multiple sources increases the
likelihood of good germination.
Extract the seeds from the pumpkins.
Wash and rinse seeds thoroughly, using soapy, lukewarm water. Do not use
hot water, and do not soak them in water.
Drain seeds in a strainer.
Spread seed out an screen.
Stir the seeds often the first two days. Turn them over as you stir.
Allow the seeds to air dry in a cool, dry area for three weeks. Longer is
recommended. Do not cut the time short, even if the seeds appear "dry".
Store seeds in a bag, envelope or jar in a cool dry place. Use of an air
tight jar is not recommended, because if the seeds have not thoroughly dried,
they will mold and rot.
Mark the seeds with date and type of pumpkin.
Some people place the seed in a freezer for a couple of weeks before sowing
them to replicate nature if at all possible. This is optional and I have
seen no difference.
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