Seed Saving

Squash are cross-pollinated by insects. They will not only cross with other varieties of Summer Squash, but also some kinds of Winter Squash. This means you have to hand pollinate them, or isolate by one half mile. As with most Cucurbits you should save the seed from at least 5 plants to ensure enough genetic variability.

Hand pollination isn't as complicated as you might imagine. Go out in the evening and find some male and female flowers that are about to open the following day and tape them shut with 3/4" masking tape. The next day you open a male flower (from a different plant) and remove its petals. You then carefully open the female flower without damaging the petals, brush the pollen-laden anthers from the male on to the pistil lobes of the female and then tape it closed again (to prevent further pollination). This procedure should work about 50 to 75% of the time. It works even better if 2 male flowers are used to pollinate each female. You will soon know if the above has worked because a successfully pollinated flower will swell rapidly (mark it carefully so it isn't accidentally harvested). If pollination wasn't successful the flower will soon fall off.

You must leave the fertilized squash to mature fully on the vine. This will slow down further fruit production, or may even stop it altogether. When the fruit is fully ripe it will get woody like a Winter Squash. It takes time for the fruit to ripen fully, so allow plenty of time before frost - at least 60 days). You then clean the ripe seed, dry it thoroughly and store in a cool dry place.

Seed Viability in Years: 3 - 6 years

Germination Percentage: 75%