Sunday 26 November 2023

Saving Seeds I Won't Grow

 I know, random title to a blog post. But that's exactly what I've done here. 

These seeds are from a squash I harvested this year. It was a self set hybrid, of which I'm not sure of the parents.

That means these seeds will all grow F2 plants, which will be unpredictable in what they produce. They do tend to revert back to the parent plants a bit, but anything is possible (well not anything but you get the idea...)

So why bother saving the seeds? 

Well in a pinch they'd be worth growing. It's not much effort to dry out the seeds from a squash we're eating anyway. I think back to how fast seed companies sold out of seeds during lockdown with covid and I think it's worth just having some kept by just in case we have to increase production rapidly. 

Winter squash have always been one of my favourite things to grow in the veg garden as they crop well with minimal effort and store brilliantly (this one has been sat in the workshop since I harvested it - can be seen in many of the videos I've done lately). 

Lately we've noticed another huge benefit. When we have squash as a low carb replacement for tea our Eldest daughter (the type one diabetic) has a much more level night when it comes to blood sugar. Some simple switches like this in meals seem to make a huge difference. It's changing how we all eat but I can see the benefits of a diabetic friendly diet. 

As they grow well here I plan to grow loads more next year. Maybe even making some deliberate crosses between squashes we enjoy eating to see what their offspring will be like (the F1 generation) for fun, as well as trying to do some deliberate pollination so we can save seed from pure plants as well (more for me to give away). I do say this most year and by the time the summer comes I'm so overwhelmed and the plot so over grown I can never track down the flowers to the right plant to make sure they're pure! Next year I will do better! 

Ever save seed from the promiscuous squash plants? 


  1. We used to just throw the pumpkin trimmings on our enormous 'compost heap ' and let the pumpkins take their chances. The heap was about half the size of a tennis court, hedge trimmings, grass clippings, garden waste, sheep walked all over it, chickens scratched around on it and it produced 2 or 3 dozen pumpkins (what you call winter squash) of mixed parentage every year.

    1. Sounds great! I used to grow them in the top of my compost bins and always got some huge ones from it (especially my favourite Oregon homestead sweetmeat). Did you ever stumble on any bitter ones?

  2. Kev, some years we have gotten volunteer pumpkins (dependent on if we had them in the compost pile the previous year).

    I have a very limited squash radius, mostly zucchini and some spaghetti squash.

  3. When I was a preteen, I stumbled upon a business model of raising/selling pumpkins for Halloween. I saved my seeds as I expanded the business but then added ornamental gourds to the mix. That was when I learned the big lesson of cross breeding between squash types. Although it was fun to see some really strange pumpkins that I eventually sold at the previously mentioned craft fair, from then on I always purchased new seed.

    Playing with genetics and breeding plants sounds like a fun hobby I could get into but I don't really have the room behind my house anymore to do so, at least while we are still growing veggies in a big way. Perhaps after the kids have gone, I can use some of that extra garden space to experiment.

    1. I love the fact you had a business doing that, I think it's great thing for children to do.
      I'm lucky here with the space to experiment. Ideally I'd like to dig up some strips by the fruit trees to have extra squash patches. Then I could really experiment with creating my own landrace from here.

  4. I have a garden plot at the farm where I experiment with different cover crops, low input gardening, etc. and for a number of years I've planted about half the plot to butternut squash.

    I started with seeds I'd saved from a store-bought squash, then saved seeds from that crop and planted them the following year. I was able to get a little bit of variety in the squash, but they were all more-or-less still butternut squash.

    I did that for a few years until drought caused a complete crop failure and I didn't have seeds to plant the following year. Now, I buy seeds and also plant some of the better tasting and keeping home-grown squashes.

    1. I think butternut ones would be really good here for that same type of thing, but I think I'd need to make sure I get one that's already adapted to our conditions a bit (we're on a north facing slope and a frost pocket), then go from there.


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