Stinky Saved Seeds

neohippie(8b)June 24, 2010

Just trying to make sure something hasn't gone horribly wrong.

I'm trying to save seeds for Yellow Croockneck summer squash. I let one squash from each of my 6 plants mature, though I wasn't sure how to tell when they were mature enough (since I haven't saved seed from summer squash before). I left them on until the plants were starting to die of SVB. That might have been too long since three of them were rotten when I cracked them open (YUCK!), but the other three looked fine.

I scooped out the guts, and then I thought maybe I should try fermenting it like tomato seeds (maybe this is where I went wrong). I knew it wasn't necessary, but I like how the nice clean tomato seeds sink to the bottom while the pulp and underdeveloped seeds float. I've also fermented cucumber seeds, and that also went well. So I put the squash innards and some water in a loosely covered Mason jar in the warm garage.

So after two or three days I checked it and it smelled like a sewer in there! Tomato fermentation doesn't smell good, but at first I thought one of my cats had had an "accident" in the garage before I figured out where the smell was coming from.

I poured off the scum on the top and rinsed the seeds through several changes of water just like I do with tomatoes. I even put a little dish soap in there to swirl them around in. But when I strained them out and spread them out to dry on a plate, they STILL smell like poo! I put them back in the garage to dry.

That was yesterday. They're not all the way dry yet, but... I know this sounds silly, but can I wash them somehow? (Without damaging the seed, of course?) I'm not usually a germophobe, but these seeds smell bad enough that I always feel I must wash my hands after handling them.

Is it normal for them to smell this bad? Maybe I shouldn't try the fermentation thing on squash anymore.

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I just let summer crookecks dry like a gourd, then remove the seeds. No mess no fuss.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 7:43PM
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Well, I think I've really messed up these seeds, because as they dry they're starting to look like they weren't even fully developed. They seem a bit thin and light, compared to seeds I've bought. Maybe the fruits didn't have enough time to mature before the SVB's got them.

I have 9 seeds left, enough to give it another try. I'll try your suggestion next time and let the whole fruit dry, and maybe the results won't be so disgusting.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 4:14PM
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The squash needs to survive the summer and dry naturally on the vine to get mature seeds. when you cut them open the seeds should be light tan, hard, and in a fibrous mesh - much like pumpkin seeds.

You are probably better off buying seeds if you have early death from SVBs.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 10:02AM
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