Fun and Games
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Pumpkin Seeds - Buying, Selection and Saving
Experienced growers will tell you, that good seed is an important to a successful
crop. What this means is:
The seed is viable and a good germination rate(percentage of seeds sprouting)
is likely to occur.
Genetics, genetics, genetics. If you want
a large pumpkin, obtain seeds from a large fruited parent. However, not all
large pumpkins are "pretty". You may have to sacrifice a little size for
a rounder, oranger strain.
Plant viruses can be stored in the seed, and carry into the next year's crop.
Look for seed from an experienced grower, who rotates his crops, and can
be trusted to remove any diseased vegetation from his garden.
The seeds will produce the type of fruit you want.
Cross-pollination is common among the Cucurbita
Family. Any experienced home gardener 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 of the crossed fruit, and
will not show up until next year. Experienced growers know how to minimize
Keep the above thoughts in mind, when you acquire seeds. But, do not let
it deter you from either saving your own, or getting seed from another grower.
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, use a pumpkin from
Select two or three (or more) pumpkins, if possible. Using several fruit
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 on a 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's winter cycle. This is optional and I have seen
pumpkins - at Garden Hobbies!