And that means it’s time to save your squash and pumpkin seeds for next year’s sowing. For winter squash and pumpkins, select mature fruits from your healthiest plants (one or two will do). For summer squash, let the fruit of a healthy plant mature – it’ll get really big and will develop a hard rind, kind of like a winter squash. Seed harvesting for all squash and pumpkins then goes like this:
- Cut the fruits and let them dry in the field or in a cool, dry place.
- Open up the fruits and scoop out the seeds.
- Wash and rinse the seeds thoroughly in warm – not hot – water. A little soap in the wash water is fine, but no harsh detergents. Work rather quickly, not letting the seeds soak up the water.
- Drain the seeds and maybe blot with a towel or paper towels.
- Spread the seeds out on a screen and keep them in a cool, dry place.
- For the first couple days, stir the seeds once a day, turning them over on the screen.
- Let the seeds dry for about 3 weeks, then store them in an envelope or jar.
And there you are! One thing you need to keep in mind, though, is that you’ll want to save the seed only of non-hybrid varieties. Hybrids will almost certainly not breed true, and the results of planting saved seed from hybrids is bound to be disappointing. But you’ll be quite pleased with the saved seed from open-pollinated varieties, such as Small Sugar Pumpkin, Howden Pumpkin, Waltham Butternut Squash, Queensland Blue Squash, and Black Zucchini.