Heirlooms forum: Cucurbit Family growing and seed saving

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Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Jul 5, 2010 3:43 PM CST

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Cucurbits include cucumbers, gourds, luffa, melons, squash, pumpkin.

When growing heirlooms in this family, the flowers will need insects to pollinate the flowers.

You will find male and female flowers on the same plant. Female plants are identified by the ovary which is a small fruit at the base of the flower. As seen in picture ~ Futsu Squash, a rare heirloom variety grown from seed.

Although the flowers are insect pollinated, many times growers and seed savers will hand pollinate. This will allow you to grow and save seeds of more than one variety. I haven't tried this method but it is very popular especially when growing prize pumpkins.

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May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
Critters Allowed Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
Image
wildflowers
Jul 5, 2010 5:48 PM CST

Moderator

Typically when saving seeds of your favorite heirlooms squash, you should pick out your best & ripest specimen,or how ever many you wish, of good quality. Cure your squash by storing in a cool dry location for at least two weeks.

To collect seeds, use a sharp knife to cut your squash in halves and scoop out the seeds. Separate the pulp from the seeds and place the seeds in a bowl or jar with some of the gel like substance that surrounds the seeds. Add a little water and stir or shake a couple of times a day until the seeds settle to the bottom. The mixture should be beginning to ferment. Let it sit for about a week or so.

Use a colander to strain the liquid from the seeds, rinse until the water and seeds are clean.

At this point I will put the seeds to dry on a paper plate on the counter, drying them at room temp. Once dried, store your seeds in a cool dry container. They should be viable for germination up to five years.

PICTURED:
Once cured, the Futsu Squash turns from black to a golden/copper color.



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May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
Critters Allowed Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
Image
wildflowers
Jul 5, 2010 6:58 PM CST

Moderator


PICTURED
Female flower of Luffa Gourd.

This is an interesting plant that produces an edible squash.

Although, if collecting seeds, or it's the Luffa Sponge you are wanting, the gourds need to be fully ripened and left on the vine to dry. Late in fall, the luffas should be ready to harvest. You will know they are ready when you can shake them and hear the seeds rattling inside

Smiling

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May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
Critters Allowed Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
Image
wildflowers
Jul 5, 2010 7:15 PM CST

Moderator


PICTURED
Gulf Fritillaries' & bumble bee visit Luffa blooms.

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May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

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