Saturday, October 26, 2013

Allowing Vegetables To Age For Seeds

I get so many emails every year from people asking when to save the seeds from their vegetables and saying that the seeds they do save do not come up. I personally think that some times this is because they don't let the vegetable age properly. Above is a yellow summer squash we just picked. O Wise One allowed it to sit on the bush for several months. He picked it right before first frost. Notice how big the warts are on the fruit. This fruit is fully mature. 

This squash is for human consumption. It is picked young and immature with very small immature seeds and very soft and tender outer skin. I like to pick my squash about 6 to 8 inches long. 

Notice on the yellow squash how small and flat the immature seeds are. When you are cooking them this is what you want. These seeds most times will not germinate. 

Now lets cut our giant squash. Unfortunately I couldn't! O Wise One had to take a meat cleaver to this squash because the outside was so hard. 

Once cut see how thick that outer skin is!

The seeds are large and plump and mature. Those are how you want your seeds! Not those flat and immature seeds. These seeds should germinate just fine once dried and cured.  

See how the middle is now tough and stringy and dried out. It looks almost like a pumpkin middle!

And look how big and plump those seeds are as they are laid out on a piece of waxed paper to dry out. So if you are harvesting your seeds before your fruit is mature that is why your seeds are not coming up good. Let those vegetables get fully mature before you harvest for seeds. Try planting 1 extra seed plant and just leaving the fruit just for seeds maybe and just not picking anything off that plant at all.  For us we simply leave the squash or cucumber here and there and let them get huge. When the plants are pulled out those are our seed fruit.

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


  1. I really appreciate the tutoring on seed saving. I have gardened and canned for 30 years but seeds were cheap so we all went to the hardware store and bought them, didn't have the mess of drying seeds setting around. Meanwhile..... all the older folks who knew how died off. Gosh how many skills could we apply that statement to? I have 4 blogs I read but yours is always the 1st I check. Beth in Ky

  2. Do you have any plants that generously reseed themselves year after year? I've got a variety of cherry tomatoes that take over my front yard bed.. year after year.. Gardeners Delight.. I planted them once about 5 years ago & they grow so thick that some always fall & get lost on the ground & reseed the next year. Its pretty handy.. except when I have to dig them up out of the garlic that is finishing there in the spring..
    I just came in from pulling all the green tomatoes from the vines so my garden season is officially over.. They'll ripen in tubs for the next 6 weeks or so.. Wasnt a good year for gardening here in my NE Ohio gardens but Gardeners Delight came thru as always.. Im assuming they'll be there again next year.. Im counting on it. :D

    1. I have a little yellow pear tomato that is very generous with it's seedlings. I always get some in the compost and around the garden. My grandchildren love them.

  3. That squash looks so good. Unfortunately I hadnt found the seeds for squash like that this year and I so love it with butter, onion and zucchini. Is there a different name I should be looking for in the catalogs? I know I sound so silly with some of the questions I ask here but I have learned to be humbled so that I learn. Better to ask than not ask and getting nowhere! Thank you for all of your hard work, you are an excellent teacher! I always give you credit for info I write in my garden and cookbooks that I keep at home. One day a family member will say who is this Canned Quilter?!? :)

    1. Yellow crook neck squash or yellow straight neck squash or summer squash.

  4. I love your blog! I have a couple of questions. I live in west central West Virginia and we have already had a killing frost/freeze (temps in mid 20's). Can I still collect and save sun flower seeds or any other flower seeds? What is the best way to store gladioli bulbs. I have a bag of bulbs (tubers?) that didn't get planted this year and would like to save them until next spring.

  5. ou should toast those seeds into an yummy snack!
    We have three pumpkin seed recipes that we love. Hot seeds, candied seeds and seasoned seeds. broccoli sprouts


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