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A former member
Post #: 111
We have been discussing seed saving so I thought I'd start a new thread for our ideas/experiences. Here is some helpful info on saving squash, etc., seeds:

Squash/Pumpkin -

Cucurbita maxima varieties with large, hairy leaves, long vines and soft, hairy stems and include: banana squashes, buttercups, hubbards and marrows

Cucurbita mixta varieties with large, hairy leaves, long vines and hard, hairy stems and include the cushaws

Cucurbita moschata varieties similar to C. mixta with flaring stems at the fruit and large, green sepals surrounding the flowers and include: butternuts

Cucurbita pepo varieties with prickly stems and leaves with a hard, five-angled stem and include: acorn squashes, cocozelles, pumpkins, crooknecks, scallops, spaghetti squashes and zucchinis

PLANT: Squashes from different species (see above) can be grown next to each other. Separate different squash varieties in the same species by at least 1/2 mile to ensure purity. (Some crossing between C. mixta and C. moschata has been reported recently. We know of none from our own experience and have concluded that this is a rare event.) Experienced, home, seed savers grow more than one variety in a single garden by using hand pollinating techniques. Squash flowers are large and relatively easy to hand pollinate.

FLOWER: Squashes are monoecious with male flowers and female flowers on each plant. Female flowers can be identified by locating the ovary (a small looking squash) at the base of the flower. (Some female flowers have stamens.)

INBREEDING DEPRESSION: Not usually noticed in squash and pumpkins.

HARVEST: Squash must be fully mature before harvested for seed production. This means that summer squashes must be left on the vine until outer shell hardens. Allow to cure 3-4 additional weeks after harvest to encourage further seed ripening.

PROCESS: Chop open hard-shelled fruits and scoop out seeds. Rinse clean in wire strainer with warm, running water. Dry with towel and spread on board or cookie sheet to complete drying.


As you can see, butternuts are a good, safe bet. In my experience you get more butternuts per vine (acorn is possibly an exception) and more meat per squash than any other, and the taste is excellent. They are good keepers as well. Also I was watching Victory Gardens (and missing the old Victory Gardens BTW) and they said that butternut's stem is so hard that squash bugs are not able to penetrate it.

I was thinking that zucchinis would be a good try at hand pollination to learn how it is done. Has anyone tried their hand at it? I did save a zucchini seeds for one hill one year and ended up with a round one! I've always wanted to experiment again just for the fun, but my garden space has not allowed it. Perhaps next year.
zengeos
zengeos
Gorham, ME
Post #: 136
Time and energy permitting, I hope to do some seed saving from various herbs and annuals and perennials I am growing this year. I've never saved seed before, so there's no telling how fruitful it will be for me.
Merry & Burl H.
BeMerry
Portland, ME
Post #: 44
Burl and I want to do some seed saving from all our successful crops this year. Thanks for the thread. Maybe sometime this summer we can have a meeting on this topic. Is there room on the schedule, Lisa?

I have an article forwarded to me written by a Wall Street Journal columnist suggesting that food prices will soon rise so sharply that the % will far outstrip the earnings of any investments, so readers should be stockpiling their larder. It ends, "Go stock up on Cap'n Crunch and Starkist." His solutions are all wet, but the problem he foresees is disturbing. Food shortages may hit much closer to home, much sooner than we realize if they are on the Wall Street Journal radar. We wanted to learn and practice seed saving before this dire threat to the nation's big investors loomed, but that's one more motivation.

Merry
Ted M.
TedMarkow
Brunswick, ME
Post #: 40
I've never even considered saving seeds and don't know where to start (just yank them out of the plants?).

Can anyone recommend some good info on seed saving? Any upcoming meetups on this subject?
Lisa F.
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 357
Ted - I absolutely want to do a meetup - perhaps even a half day workshop - on seed saving. I am looking for recommendations on who in Maine can best teach us. Perhaps I should check with MOFGA....
zengeos
zengeos
Gorham, ME
Post #: 142
Daves Garden website is actgually a good resource for seed saving, as many plants listed actually give basic instructions on saving seed....dry and bag, bag til dry, etc...
A former member
Post #: 1
Hi to all,

If you're serious about seed-saving someone should get Suzanne Ashworth's book "Seed to Seed"

http://www.chelseagre...­

It's highly recommended as THE book to have on this subject.

I've enjoyed lurking here in Ipswich, Mass. You have a wonderful group up there in Portland.
Aaron P.
user 6845673
Falmouth, ME
Post #: 27
wow, i am continually amazed by chelsea green publishing ... i'm getting this book sent from the biddeford library to portland. If other people want to get it from the library there are 2 other copies available in the state. LINK
Ted M.
TedMarkow
Brunswick, ME
Post #: 47
Thanks for the info, y'all.

The link to the site that Mark mentioned is http://davesgarden.com/­.

Thanks also to Charlotte for the book recommendation!
Merry & Burl H.
BeMerry
Portland, ME
Post #: 47
Lisa,

CR Lawn at Fedco Seeds might be willing to do a presentation on seed saving or his wife, Eli Rugosa. Both are experts. Both interviewed beautifully.

Merry
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