If you are interested into taking that next step into becoming more self sufficient then seed saving is a great step. You will never have to rely on commercial seed stores for year after year of seed purchases. Of course, you will have to rely on them at the beginning because you will need seeds to start your garden in order to produce vegetables to actually gather seeds from. But in the long run, saving seeds also equals saving money.
You will also be preserving the genetic diversity of fruits and vegetables, and in this post summer squash. Relying on commercial GMO seeds has reduced the amount and variety of heirloom seeds since the 1900’s. It’s a sad state of affairs when vegetable seeds become endangered.
The type of seeds you need and are absolutely necessary for this seed saving process are an open-pollinated or non-hybrid variety meaning a heirloom variety. Our typical summer squash varieties we have, which are heirloom, is black beauty zucchini and yellow crooked neck squash.
Determine the best vegetable for seed saving.
When you are first planning out your garden in the winter months, it is always good practice to designate one to two plants at the end of each row as solely seed saving plants. This is important when wanting to save seeds from summer squash plants like zucchini and yellow crooked neck squash.
This is important because you want to leave the squash on the plant for as long as possible. The squash will become large, like a baseball bat, and the skin will hardened. The middle of the squash will become more hollow. If you thump the middle of the over ripened squash it will have a hollow sound.
Typically squash or zucchini that you harvest from the garden to eat are much smaller in size and much lighter green. They have more tender skins and squash meat inside. Their seeds are also much smaller and typically immature and that is why the best seeds come from larger vegetables.
How to remove seeds properly.
The next step is to cut open the large squash or zucchini vegetable. Cut it open lengthwise then spoon out the seeds shown up in the middle of the vegetable. Now, this method will have you cutting through good seeds and basically destroying them. But don’t worry there are plenty more good seeds underneath.
The seeds, at this point in the vegetables life, will start to separate from the rest of the meat. This separation will not really be visibly noticeable but physically. When you start to scoop out the seeds, you will be able to feel it coming out very easily and without seeds left behind.
Pile up all your seeds and pulp on a separate plate or bowl. Physically pick and remove each seed from the dense pulp. You will only need to gather large and fully intact seeds for future plantings. Any tiny or damaged seeds can be thrown away to be fed to the chickens or compost.
For your good seeds to save, place them into a colander. Rinse them under cold water very well. Pick out some of the pulp that sticks to the seeds. It will be easier to remove when everything is wet. Place your seeds on a baking sheet lined on parchment paper or wax paper and let dry out on the countertop for a couple of days. Store the dried seeds in a bag or container and keep in a cool dry place and out of the sunlight.
You will have a large and leftover bowls of summer squash or zucchini. Typically I don’t often eat them because they are a little harder than I like but you can cook it up for a recipe if you like. You can also preserve it by freezing or prepare it for dehydrating. I, personally, like to chop up the squash into large pieces and feed them to my chickens. It is a great treat and gives them plenty of vitamins.