When it comes to saving seed for for future plantings, it is of the utmost importance that you avoid cross-pollination. We can accomplish this by bagging or caging individual flowers and plants, or we can hand pollinate flowers. One of the easiest garden vegetables to hand pollinate are squash and other Cucubritacae: squash, melons, cucumbers, calabash, and luffa. In this video I walk through the process of differentiating male and female flowers, and eventual hand pollination using Cucubrita maxima v candy roaster: North Georgia Candy Roaster.
We also have some seed of this rare squash available, just ask!
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Mold and birds are the two biggest enemies of the seedsaver. All mature seeds must be kept from molding once they are harvested. And many birds, even your own chickens and turkeys, will open and gobble very mature produce to eat both the meat and seed. Some crops, such as sunflowers and amaranth, are also very tempting to your feathered friends, so when they are bearing fruitful seeds, it s best to slip a pillow case over them, tying it loosely around the stem. While most seeds are simple to harvest, requiring only stripping out of the mother fruit, some, such as tomato and cucumber, require a different approach, as it is too time consuming to get the seeds separated from the pulp. With these crops, pick ripe fruits, scoop out the seed-bearing pulp into a bowl or jar, add enough warm water to cover them, and place in a warm area such as the back of your counter for a couple of days. The pulp ferments and lets go of the seeds. After this happens, carefully rinse the fermented pulp-seed mass through a colander and soon only the seeds will be left. Spread these on a cookie sheet or pie plate and let them dry in a protected warm area.