With Halloween approaching, it’s time to carve pumpkins into your most creative, classic or ghoulish displays. If you’re like most, you labored over your pumpkin selection, and chose your winner with great care. It had to be just the right size, shape and color!
Save yourself time in next year’s search, and grow replicates of your original favorite for years to come. All you need for pumpkin patch success is a dedicated plot of land and completion of these three simple steps.
1. Separate the Seeds
Save the guts as you carve your pumpkin. Scoop out the goopy mess of stringy pumpkin meat, including those precious seeds, and set aside in its own dedicated bowl.
Carefully pull seeds out. While a tedious task, they should slide off pretty easily.
2. Place Seeds in Their Own Dedicated Container
Place clean seeds into a cardboard or glass container, and set aside for a few days (up to one week) until they are fully dry. You know they’re ready when they feel more like seeds and less like mush.
Check on them periodically, and move them around in their container to be sure none are sticking to the bottom. Seeds that get stuck will be hard to break away from the container bottom, and are at risk for damage. It goes without saying, but damaged seeds will not grow you a prize-winning pumpkin!
3. Dry and Store Seeds at Room Temperature
Pumpkin seeds are best kept at room temperature (or about 50 or 60 degrees). This is both their optimal drying and storage point.
Once seeds are dry, store them long-term in a paper envelope. This provides the seeds with an environment that keeps them dry over time. Avoid placing in a plastic bag, as this material results in the opposite result. Susceptible to moisture, plastic could rot your seeds.
HGTV shares that pumpkin seeds stored properly at around room temperature will last for about six months. So, save seeds from late October or early November pumpkins and they should be ready to go for prime-time pumpkin patch planting season in late May or early June.
Have you ever grown your own pumpkins? Share additional tips in the comment section below.
Image Source: Kam Abbott under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic