When the zucchini harvest is in full swing, you may find yourself with more zucchini than you know what to do with. Rather than letting them go to waste, why not harvest and store the seeds for next year’s garden? In this blog post, we will teach you how to do just that!
When to Harvest Zucchini Seeds?
Harvesting zucchini seeds should be done when the fruit has matured on the plant and reached its optimum size. The best time to harvest is when the skin of the fruit turns slightly tough and becomes a darker green color. Harvested zucchini can then be cut open to reveal the seed pods inside.
Choosing a zucchini to save seeds
It’s important to choose the right zucchini for harvesting and saving seeds. Select a fully mature zucchini that looks healthy, is unblemished, and has high-quality fruit. Avoid selecting zucchinis that have any signs of disease or insect damage.
What You’ll Need for Harvesting Zucchini Seeds?
Once you have chosen the right zucchini for harvesting, you will need a few supplies to get started:
- A sharp knife
- A bowl or container
- Paper towels
- A large spoon
- A sieve
- Rubber gloves (optional)
How to Harvest Zucchini Seeds?
1. Cut the zucchini open with a sharp knife. This will reveal the seed pods inside.
2. Scoop out the seeds from each pod using a large spoon and place them in a bowl or container.
3. Place the bowl of seeds in a sieve and gently rinse off any remaining bits of flesh or debris with water from the tap.
4. Spread the seeds out on a paper towel and allow them to dry for several days in a warm, dry place. Drying is important because it helps prevent the growth of mold and bacteria, which can reduce seed vigor and viability when stored.
5. Once the seeds are completely dry, they can be stored in an airtight container.
How to Save Zucchini Seeds
The most important factor in storing seeds is to ensure they are kept at a consistently cool temperature, ideally between 59 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit (15 – 20 Celsius). Humidity should be low, around 50-60%, so if necessary, use an airtight container with a desiccant packet to absorb any moisture. Seeds can also be stored in the refrigerator or freezer, just make sure they are completely dry before doing so.
For longer-term storage (8 years), it is best to keep the seeds in an airtight container, such as a glass jar with a lid, and place them in a cool, dark place. The container should also be labeled with the variety of zucchini and the date it was harvested.
Below is the data on how the percentage of germination varies with the time of seed storage.
- 1 year – 89%
- 2 years – 85%
- 3 years – 83%
- 4 years – 83%
- 5 years – 76%
- 6 years – 71%
- 7 years – 32%