A Seed Saver's Garden

heirloomgal

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our pea trellis’s look like this. 1/2 inch emt conduit with a 2x4 top and bottom then strung with twine. I drill a tight fitting hole in the 2 by, then split it back a ways on the radial arm saw, then a thru bolt and it can now be clamped where ever i want it. This worked well for the 4 ft stuff but shortly they’re falling back on themselves so next year i will add emt running over from the top to the chainlink seen in the background and have pea trellis/tunnels😳
Peas can be a dickens to keep upright, and stop them falling back from their support. Every pea I grew this year did that, I had to tie jute rope across the length of all the trellis's at one or two heights. Flop city.
 

heirloomgal

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Tackled my homegrown Livingston's Pie pumpkins today. Baked them all in the oven. I'm slowly cooking my way through all the fall squashes including the heirloom ones I bought at the market. (I finally talked to the farmer and he did grow them close together after all, so I can't save the seeds.) I can't believe how quickly a full oven of pumpkins, two racks covered completely, will cook through. The Musquee de Provence, which was enormous and I could barely carry it, cooked in 20 minutes chopped up. Much to my surprise it didn't make good pie though, too moist. And I pressed the extra liquid out well beforehand. Very high water content variety. My home grown pumpkins took longer to cook, probably an hour. Collected a huge amount of pumpkin flesh for freezing in individual ziploc bags. It makes good pies, if it's pressed out well. I mix squash/pumpkin into my doggo's food since he is on a special cooked meat and veggie diet, so I'll use it all up in no time. Plus, I LOVE pumpkin pie. I finally found the perfect pie recipe this year, which includes freshly grated nutmeg & full fat milk.

I also made an effort to collect the Livingston' s Pie seeds, at least some of them, since I grew them alone. There is just so many seeds in a pumpkin. I fermented a single batch of the seeds, and I didn't like the mildew spots on the seeds when they were rinsed and dried so I pitched them out. This time, I just plunged them in a huge bowl of water, plucked out as much clinging flesh as I could, swished everything and then let the seeds settle at the top. If I just barely skimmed the seeds off the top I didn't get much goop, which was just underneath the floating seed layer. There was a bit of pumpkin crud mixed in but not too bad. I haven't saved much pumpkin seeds since that family of vegetables grows such large vines and I don't have tons of room. They also tend toward long season DTM's.

The question now remains how to pull the best of the seeds from the lesser quality seeds. @Zeedman you have a pumpkin project going and probably know more about techniques for that. How do you separate the best seeds from the rest without going through each one?
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Pumpkin bones
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After a day of pumpkin work, and having @ducks4you thread about jalapenos bringing guac to mind, I made some w/cheese tortillas. Everyone was happy, even though I think added a wee bit too much garlic. I didn't have any jalapenos, but if I had they would have put the tortillas over the top. Definitely growing Jalapenos next year!
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Zeedman

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The question now remains how to pull the best of the seeds from the lesser quality seeds. @Zeedman you have a pumpkin project going and probably know more about techniques for that. How do you separate the best seeds from the rest without going through each one?
For the quantities of seed that I grow, I just hand-sort under a magnifying glass. I've read that others ferment squash seed (one of the more detailed references is linked below) but when I tried it, the good seeds still floated after a couple days. It's possible the good seeds would sink with time, but I was concerned about possible sprouting, so stopped the process & never tried it again. Fermentation may be the best method for separating large amounts of good squash seed from bad, but like all seed fermentation, it must be accomplished when the seeds are freshly harvested & still wet. Once the seeds have dried, exposure to water would likely result in sprouting.

Squash seed fermentation
 

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when i pull the innards outwards of the squash/pumpkins i found out that washing them really made things worse than if instead i just dried them out after squeezing them apart from as much of the pulp as possible.

after they are dry the seeds may be coated with a shiny layer and bits of pulp but if they are completely dry they could be stored and planted just like that. if you want the cleaned up look once they are fully dried you can rub them between your hands or use an old towel and they should be fairly clean. this is much faster than wetting them and then trying to get them all dried out again.

and while i'm at it, i also found out that the naked green seeded squash seeds are great when roasted even with a bit of the pulp still on them it's ok. it just adds a bit more fiber and flavor. :)
 

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Some squash seeds are easier to clean than others. C. maxima squash seeds can be cleaned as much as possible by hand, then spread out on newsprint & allowed to dry (preferably under a fan, to avoid mold). Once the seeds are dry, they can just be rubbed roughly; the transparent membrane surrounding the seeds will detach, leaving clean seed. This doesn't solve the sorting issue, but it is an easy way to process a lot of seed.
 

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I started looking around - a little - at what new things might be out there to grow in 2022. I found a melon variety that is grown more for it's seeds than it's flesh, at least that's what it seems like. The descriptions mention the pretty seeds more than the taste of the fruit itself. It's called 'Cekirdegi Oyali Watermelon'. When wet the seeds look like ordinary melon seeds, but when they dry they look like this -
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I've never grown seeds as decorative items, but this one is so pretty I can't help but wonder if it might be worth it to try this out as a novelty. Does anyone have any experience with this watermelon variety?
 

flowerbug

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I started looking around - a little - at what new things might be out there to grow in 2022. I found a melon variety that is grown more for it's seeds than it's flesh, at least that's what it seems like. The descriptions mention the pretty seeds more than the taste of the fruit itself. It's called 'Cekirdegi Oyali Watermelon'. When wet the seeds look like ordinary melon seeds, but when they dry they look like this -
1762269667.jpg
img_e2719.jpg
20%20Cekirdegi%20Oyali%20%202.jpg


I've never grown seeds as decorative items, but this one is so pretty I can't help but wonder if it might be worth it to try this out as a novelty. Does anyone have any experience with this watermelon variety?

never seen anything like that before! :) always fun to see something new. :)
 

Zeedman

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I started looking around - a little - at what new things might be out there to grow in 2022. I found a melon variety that is grown more for it's seeds than it's flesh, at least that's what it seems like. The descriptions mention the pretty seeds more than the taste of the fruit itself. It's called 'Cekirdegi Oyali Watermelon'. When wet the seeds look like ordinary melon seeds, but when they dry they look like this -
1762269667.jpg
img_e2719.jpg
20%20Cekirdegi%20Oyali%20%202.jpg


I've never grown seeds as decorative items, but this one is so pretty I can't help but wonder if it might be worth it to try this out as a novelty. Does anyone have any experience with this watermelon variety?
Some people eat watermelon seeds; this could be a really attractive candidate for that, if they prove to be palatable.
 

heirloomgal

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What's left of yesterday.
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It has begun.
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I've never used garden soil to start seedlings, so this was a bit of an experiment to see what's possible. I always buy sterilised professional starter mix. But I've come to distrust those mixes a bit over time. Perfectly fresh they are great, but it is hard to know if what you're getting is fresh. The pH adjuster in those mixes degrades so quickly, and it has stunted my plants several times as a result, including this year. Even keeping the mix frozen outside, it will be bad in the spring. I'm not confident there is much fresh stuff out there right now at the beginning of winter so I'm giving real soil a try instead of a peat mix. Years ago I bought a lg. bale, planted hundreds of pepper seeds in it, and after sprouting they never moved. Turned out it wasn't pH in that case but contamination; the mix ran orange when I watered. Contacted the head office, and they would only say a 'photosynthesis inhibitor' was present and to not dispose the bale anywhere near my garden or property. They refunded me some money for my seeds, but when I saw the gag clause with the check, I never signed nor collected. The whole thing was pretty weird so I'm cautious now.

Needless to say, I'm happy that they seem to be sprouting just fine in the soil and no signs of dampening off.
 

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