Welcome to our store Learn more

10% OFF all Seed Combo Packs


Seed Saving: Heirloom Squash

Seed Saving: Heirloom Squash

Mary Smith |

Next up in our Seed Saving series is Heirloom Squash. In case you missed it, you might want to start with Seed Saving Basics to help you get started.

At the end of this tutorial is a video on Seed Storage that will come in handy.


Seed saving is fun and definitely a useful tool.

Before you start saving seeds from squash it is important to understand pollination and cross pollination.

Squash plants are Monoecious, meaning they produce both male and female flowers on the same plant. The flowers are found in the axils of the leaves. The flowers can be easily distinguished from each other as the female flowers have an ovary at their base that looks like a small, immature fruit. In order for fruit set to occur, pollen from the male flower must be transferred to the female flower.

Squash plants of the same species can cross pollinate. That means that if you plant Black Beauty Zucchini and Patty Pan squash (both Cucurbita pepo) close together then they can cross pollinate. But a Golden crookneck Squash (Cucurbita pepo) won't cross with a Butternut Squash (Cucurbita moschata).

When crosses occur between members of the same species, we do not see the effect of the cross the first year. However, if the seeds are saved and planted, the plants will produce fruit that will be different from either of the parents.

Ready to start saving seeds?

As I mentioned in a previous post, it is best to harvest seeds from overripe "fruit" in this case squash. **If you cut straight through the squash (like I did) then you risk cutting into the seeds**

Instead, cut around the outside of the squash just into the skin/flesh and then pry open with your hands or a spoon.

How can you tell it's overripe?
In this case, the normally green striped squash has gone yellow. It was on the plant like this. The seeds you can see are "plump" and should be viable.

Clean up your seeds.
Wash the seeds to remove any flesh and strings. If you do not remove the pulp/flesh from the seeds, it can cause your seeds to mold. Mold is bad.

Dry your seeds.
Cure the seeds by laying them out in a plate or drying screen to dry. It is not recommended to use a paper towel as the towel can retain moisture. Store them this way in a place that is dry and out of direct sunlight.

Store your seeds.
Allow the seeds to fully dry before storing them. Some sources recommend 3 to 7 days but I tend to use caution and dry for a bit longer. Storing damp seeds can lead to moldy seeds. Mold is bad.

When your seeds are ready to store, use paper envelopes, recycled jars and/or containers and be sure the LABEL your container.
Store seeds in a cool, dry spot away from direct sunlight.

Don't forget to label your seed packs!



SEED STORAGE is just as important as seed saving. More important even. It would be frustrating to go through all steps to properly harvest your seeds only to have them fail or have lower germination rates because they were not stored properly.

Avoid storing your seeds in open containers were bugs and critters can get to them. Don't store your seeds in hot spots like an outside shed or garage as heat can degrade seed viability.

As promised, here's a live chat video about seed storage.


Stay tuned for more specific seed saving techniques and seed varieties. -Mary


If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!
Email: mary@marysheirloomseeds.com


Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.