A simple way to extend a favorite variety of summer or winter squash without having to purchase seeds year after year is to save your own seeds from the plants right in your garden. Harvesting squash seeds is an easy task and takes little time or effort. By saving your own seeds you have more control over growing what you want without relying on your garden center to carry the same seed for you each year.
Let the squash you want to harvest seeds from remain on the vine for three weeks after it is considered ripe and ready to eat. During this time the outer shell will harden rather than stay tender.
Cut the squash from the plant and cut it open over a bowl. If the seeds don’t fall out on their own, scoop them out with a wooden spoon.
Separate the seeds from the flesh or stringy portion of the squash plant and place them in a wire mesh strainer or a colander. Wash the seeds with water to rinse away any flesh or stickiness.
Pat the seeds dry with a paper towel to take off any excess water. Spread the harvested seeds out on a paper plate or coffee filter. Make sure the seeds are spread into a single layer and aren’t touching one another.
Set the paper plate or coffee filter in a cool, dry location to dry where they will be undisturbed. Turn the seeds over every few days until they are completely dry, which might take up to a month.
Write the type of seeds and the date of harvest on a seed packet or envelope and store your seeds inside the envelope only after they are dry. The envelope should be kept in a cool, dry location until time for planting.