How to Save Pumpkin Seeds to Plant Later

Overview

Pumpkins, along with falling leaves and chilly air, signify the arrival of fall. Glowing Jack-o-Lanterns guard porches, while baked pumpkin pie fills the house with mouth-watering aroma. Gracing fairy tales and scary stories, pumpkins have been grown for decoration and food for centuries. Weighing from less than 1 lb. to well over 1000 lbs., pumpkin is rich in potassium and Vitamin A. Pumpkins rely on insects for pollination, without which fruits will not form because they possess separate male and female flowers. Warm soil and 50- to 100-square-foot hills are necessities for successful pumpkin growth.

Step 1

Choose pumpkins that are free of blemishes or malformations, from the healthiest plants in the pumpkin patch.

Step 2

Cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin, around the stem. Make sure the hole is wide enough to allow for room to scoop out seeds and pulp.

Step 3

Remove seeds and pulp with a large spoon or scoop.

Step 4

Separate seeds from pulp, using fingers, and place them in a colander to rinse away any remaining residue.

Step 5

Drain pumpkin seeds thoroughly, then spread them out evenly on several layers of paper towels. Allow seeds to dry on towels for at least 24 hours.

Step 6

Transfer seeds to a clean, dry tray or baking sheet for additional drying time. Pumpkin Nook recommends giving seeds at least three weeks to dry thoroughly in a cool, dry location.

Step 7

Store seeds in paper envelopes or plastic bags, labeled with the date and variety. Seeds should be kept in a cool, dark location until the next growing season.

Tips and Warnings

  • Bega Valley Seedsavers recommends planting different pumpkin varieties no closer than 400 meters (roughly 438 yards) together. Varieties planted in close proximity run the risk of cross pollination, which creates seeds that are not true to the parent plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Pumpkins
  • Sharp knife
  • Large spoon or scoop
  • Colander
  • Paper towels
  • Tray or baking sheet
  • Paper envelopes or plastic bags
  • Label

References

  • University of Illinois Extension-Pumpkins and More: Growing Pumpkins
  • University of Illinois Extension-Pumpkins and More: Pumpkin Facts
  • Bega Valley Seedsavers: Pumpkin Seed Saving
  • Pumpkin Nook: Pumpkin Seeds-Buying, Selection and Saving
Keywords: choosing pumpkin seeds, cleaning pumpkin seeds, pumpkin cross pollination

About this Author

Deborah Waltenburg has been a freelance writer since 2002. In addition to her work for Demand Studios, Waltenburg has written for websites such as Freelance Writerville and Constant Content, and has worked as a ghostwriter for travel/tourism websites and numerous financial/debt reduction blogs.