Thursday, November 21, 2013
Another Dreary Day - Saving Pumpkin Seeds
More rain today. Dreary, cold and dismal just the type of weather to destroy any and all motivation. It doesn't help that I have also completed all the projects I had been working on and was trying to focus on wood cutting once again. Just when I started getting somewhere with the firewood supply this weather hits and I hadn't really started any of my other projects yet.
It's like I have this period where I need to choose another direction and it seems to have the opposite effect on me instead promoting lethargy or something.
So I made myself walk around and evaluate. I have four major inside activities to undertake.
Cleaning up and organizing the shop so I can start on Bee Hive stuff for Spring.
The 1 bottom plow restoration project
Removing the junk from a stand up refrigerator in the barn so I can haul it away
Picking seeds out of the last few remaining pumpkins for planting next year.
I chose the last one as it really seemed more time sensitive than the others.
So after the daily chore of removing ashes from the wood furnace, hauling more wood from the split stack to the furnace stack and laying a fire to start later tonight I began the messy job of pumpkin seed saving.
I already had some seeds saved from earlier that the wife helped me with. They had dried a sufficient amount of time to be placed in their envelopes and box. I probably should combine the seed saving process with the cooking of pumpkins in some manner but by this time I am pulling the seeds out of pumpkins we used for decorations. So who cares?
I split a pumpkin open with a machete and go to town pulling the seeds out and separating the pumpkin pulp from the seeds as much as possible.
Also I missed a step. The FIRST thing I do is find out where my feline management staff is. I learned a long time ago before I go cutting, slashing or sawing anything to make sure they are safely where I can see them. Last Fall I was cutting up a tree with the chainsaw only to look down and see the supervisor feline literally sniffing the end of the saw chain.
Like I said a messy process. I am covered in pumpkin goo up to my elbows and throwing seeds into a bowl while laying the big chunks of pumpkin aside.
At this point the sheep begin to take notice of the pumpkin chunks. Usually the feline management team is there sniffing the stuff as well to see if maybe THIS TIME it is edible. They are always disappointed. It also amazing how the sheep never got pumpkins before this year but they quickly learned to associate any activity with large orange balls to equal food.
After I have taken all the seeds out of a pumpkin I care to, I throw the remaining chunks to the sheep and take the bowl of seeds in and rinse them off under the tap. I remove all the pumpkin goo off of them and then set them out on paper towels to dry in one layer placing another layer of paper towels on top of them. I set them aside for at least a week or so somewhere the cats cannot get into them but where they will get good air flow to dry. Occasionally I will look at them and be sure they are drying properly and not sticking too bad to the paper towels.
At what point they become dry enough to store is kinda a question I haven't answered yet. I have seen some advice saying leave them out two weeks but when I am burning wood I think the house gets a bit too dry to leave em that long. Once I notice the dried film layer coming off the seeds I usually call em done and move them into a paper envelope with the date and variety written on it.
My experience so far has shown very little failure rate once you get the seeds away from the goo and allow them to dry at least a week. Maybe I just have a good environment for them or something and you may have to do it differently. Other than a few each year I have never saved pumpkin seeds in a quantity to say I have all the answers.
This year I saved two different varieties for planting late next Spring. A green type and an orange type that has been cross pollinated so many times I couldn't tell you what it is anymore. Its pretty much just a medium sized orange pumpkin.
I have grown a pumpkin here and there in the garden many times but this last year was the first time I put in a good sized patch. They did so well I am planning on putting in about 3 or 4 acres of pumpkins down on my parents place next year hence the larger than usual pumpkin seed saving endeavors.
The pumpkins were such a hit this last year and worked in so many different ways with absolutely no waste at all I just can't resist giving them a try on a much larger scale next year. I actually had people wanting to buy pickup loads of pumpkins earlier this fall they were so popular.
Anyway I am planning on buying some seeds as well before planting but I wanted to see if I could save a large enough amount for continued plantings. The verdict won't be in until next year though.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!