Winter Squash Seeds - How to Save Them Before You Harvest Them
When you are growing summer squash, or even vegetables like zucchini or squash, you want to make sure that you are growing winter squash as well. Winter squash is a cross between summer squash and cucurbita maxima. These squash varieties are the result of inter-breeding. It is quite common for a vine to come up that has both types of the squash family in it.
Winter squash, and all squash, are cross-bred. This simply means they have both different male and female flowers. Therefore, they depend on insects for pollen to cross-date them. This means that it is quite easy for two types of winter squash to share both their mother and father's pollen to form viable seeds that won't germinate true to the seed. In other words, some seeds won't grow and some will grow because they are actually the offspring of a different species. Therefore, if you harvest late in the year and buy a late blooming squash, it may be a good idea to purchase hybrid squash.
However, don't assume that just because a plant looks like the parent that it is a hybrid. It may be pure white pumpkin seeds, a cross between a pumpkin and an onion bulb, or even a cross between a winter squash and a watermelon. The best way to tell if it is a hybrid or pure white pumpkin is to smell it. A pure white winter squash has very little scent. A hybrid winter squash has more scent. You can test it by smearing the back of your hand with some salt and rubbing the salt onto the leaves of the plant.
Also, winter squash seeds don't always come up in the same place. If a squash has always been in your garden, but you haven't noticed any more seeds lately, try harvesting one of its parents and planting the resulting seed. If it grows successfully, chances are it is the winter squash seeds you've been waiting for. However, if it doesn't, consider trying another variety.
Do you love to eat sweet potatoes, but find yourself missing out on the flavor of a good pumpkin? This is a common problem among people who enjoy eating sweet potatoes but do not enjoy the natural sweetness of a pumpkin. The solution to this problem is to harvest a late crop of the latter and save the seeds for fall planting. Pumpkins are very similar to squashes in this way, as they both are also harvested to extract the valuable oil in their skin. The oil in the skin is what gives pumpkins their strong flavor, so when harvested in the fall it is in high demand and therefore sold at discount prices during the holiday season.
Do you need a wonderful way to spice up your fall vegetable and fruit garden? Seeds are a wonderful addition to your vegetable patch. If you have a fall vegetable planted in partial containers, you can easily sprinkle them onto salads or various other recipes right before they go to dinner. If you have a large garden with a few squash plants, you can leave a few of them to mature and sprout new seeds in late summer and have delicious fresh vegetables and fruits at the end of September or early October.
The most important thing about saving seeds from your squash crops is that they are able to tolerate poor soil. If they are planted in poor soil, they may not take very long before they begin to wilt and die. If you save your winter squash seeds, make sure that you only plant in favorable soil and don't try to plant it until you are absolutely certain it will grow. You don't want to waste your hard work in order to save a few dollars.
How much sun does your fruit tree need? Some varieties, such as the purple Cushion Apple, will need just as much sunlight as your garden room allows during the daytime, while others, such as the yellow Bells, will need far more. If you have a shady spot in your yard, you may be able to get away with planting your apple tree in full sun. However, if you have trees that are partially exposed to the sun, even just on the east side, you should consider planting your winter squash seeds in partial shade. They will grow well in the shade.