How to Grow Winter Squash Seeds
Winter Squash is the common name for two different species of squash-the pilots and the Bush Squashes. These two squash belong to the family of Vine Lilies. Both the seeds and the skin of these two species grow in round or oval shape and are used for making various types of squash dishes. It is possible to preserve the seeds of both species by washing them properly. This ensures that they have both different male and female flowers on each stem.
Winter Squash grows best in areas with a cold winter and a short growing season. If you intend to save your winter squash seeds, remember that this requires approximately ten weeks of dark warmth. In areas where there is no such warm spell, you must ensure adequate exposure to the sun so that the seedlings can develop correctly. In addition, since the squash flowers consist of a combination of flesh and seed, you must ensure that the flowers reach the point of full bloom before harvesting.
Harvesting is done by removing the entire bulb from the vine. Most people use a sharp shears or a knife to remove the viable seeds from the vines. However, if you have some extra time, you may also use your hands to do the harvesting. It is important to ensure that you only cut off the main stem of the squash as the other seedlings may be damaged. Since the majority of viable seeds lie within the skin, it is essential that you carefully remove as much of the skin as possible.
You can start to sow winter squash seeds once the soil temperature has been established inside the area you intend to grow the plants indoors. You can do this within a few days by covering the plants with a thin plastic mat to retain moisture and heat. Once the area has been established, you can move the plants indoors and ensure that they receive the appropriate amount of sunlight during daytime. At night, you should cover the plants with mulch to prevent them from being eaten by animals or insects.
The next step in sowing winter squash seeds is to plant the seedlings in peat moss or any compost. Most seedlings will thrive in a medium moisture content but you may need to add water several times during the growing season. A general rule of thumb is that the soil should never be more than one third moist. If the soil appears dry to the eye, it probably needs additional watering.
The best time of year to grow this type of garden vegetable is late fall through early spring. This is the time when both heat and moisture are at their greatest. Make sure that the weather is at a comfortable temperature for the seedlings; around sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit is considered a good place for the plants to grow. It will also help if you create a separate space inside your home that is dedicated to growing this vegetable.
The winter squash seeds should be planted in the thickets, such as a row of butternut or pumpkin stalks, but make sure that the area they are going to cover is large enough for the vines to grow freely. One way to accomplish this is by making the row between the butternut or pumpkin stem and the row of seedlings two rows deep. If you have the space, a trellis or lattice netting will work well to support the vines. The idea is to allow air to flow freely through the vines and provide nutrients to the seedlings. If the vines grow horizontally, it means that the seeds have not had a chance to receive moisture.
When the seeds are ready to be sown, there are two methods available for doing so. The first method involves putting the squash into a plastic bag and freezing it until fall, at which time you can break the plastic bag and freeze the seed inside. You do have to be very careful with this type of freezing because if the seed gets too wet, it may begin to mold and may even mildew. The other method is to spread the seed outdoors on a sunny day and allow it to dry. Once it is completely dry, you can place it into a plastic bag and freeze it once more before breaking the bag.