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The skinny on the Naked Seed Pumpkins

October 27, 2010

Growing squash in the part of the country this summer was a challenge.  Our cold, wet spring, continued into early summer making getting seeds in the ground difficult.  I prefer to direct seed all my cucurbits, but time was of the essence so I started transplants which I have had iffy results with in the past.  But the soil was just too cold to expect these seeds to germinate, so transplanting it was.

Styrian Naked Seed pumpkin.

For vigor alone these pumpkins were outstanding, despite the cool June weather they were subjected to after leaving their snug little home in the greenhouse, they did well.  While the Sweet Meat and melons just survived, the oil seed pumpkins took off.  However as you can see in the photo they aren’t ripening very well.  When ripe they show a little gold mixed with the green and the seeds are darker green.  We are out of serious frost danger for a little while until the jet stream changes a bit, so I have decided to leave them on the vine, with hopes they will continue to ripen.

This pumpkin gave up a scant cup of tasty seeds, but I wasted some by cutting the pumpkin in half.  When I do harvest the rest I will cut the top like a jack-o-lantern and scoop out the pulp and seeds to avoid cutting some seeds in half.

I have roughly 30 more squash to harvest, and I am expecting at least a cup of seeds from each.  Still that isn’t a lot of pumpkin seeds for the space they take up.  The flesh is edible, but not compared to the Sweet Meat so I will use these for either the hens or the cows.  I personally can’t imagine growing enough to use them for oil.  It just would not be practical on a small scale.  But for a vitamin rich snack that is easy to grow, they are pretty high on the list.  The seeds are a great substitute for pine nuts in pesto, and lend themselves to baking in savory rolls.

And a side note, if you’re worried about pesticides in your food, be wary of buying conventionally grown or any non-certified organic squash or cucumbers.  The cucurbit family is notorious for up-taking the chemicals in the soil, that may be there from years past.  Many vegetable plants don’t do this, but squash, melons, and cukes will.  Even if the grower does not spray and uses organic methods, chemicals that have not been allowed in farming for decades still persist in many soils and many organic growers have to have squash tested at harvest time to determine if it can be sold as organic or not.  This is just a FYI, because most people only hear of the Dirty Dozen list for pesticide residue.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Hazel permalink
    October 27, 2010 10:57 pm

    I’ve bought some Lady Godiva squash seeds for next year, which I’m looking forward to trying. Thanks for your tip about cutting the top off rather than slicing in half.

    My chickens love squash, so they’ll get the flesh. I have seen recommendations to use the shells to trap slugs, but they’re generally not a problem here by the time the squashes are ripe, so I think the hens will have them. And the cat of ours that would rather steal cucumber or squash than meat….

    • October 28, 2010 5:22 am

      Hazel, I didn’t think much about cutting the squash in half until I saw how much damage I did with the meager amount of seeds that were produced. I am probably leaning towards giving these to the chickens and then I won’t have to chop them for the cows. The chickens are so good at getting the last little bits there is nothing but a thin shell left 🙂

      Too funny about the cat!

  2. October 28, 2010 3:21 am

    Thanks for the tip on pesticides, I didn’t know this. Given that this land was all in conventional apples about 15 years ago I’m guessing the pesticide use was heavy.

    Also thanks for the info on the naked seed pumpkins. I’ve been eying them for some time, it’s nice to have an idea of what to expect.

    I’ve begun the planning process for my spring garden, and given that I’ve never planted with an eye to sustainable living before, there’s more that I don’t know than I do. Before it was all…. “oooh, those look good, lets plant ‘some.'” Since I always had small spaces, I didn’t think about how much of anything I might need to get through a season, it was always just a welcome supplement. So – a scant cup of seeds per squash is duly noted. My results may vary, but at least it gives me an idea of what to shoot for.

    • October 28, 2010 5:30 am

      Hayden, I learned a lot working in the soil lab, they tested for Oregon Tilth and it was an eye opener to be sure. Name brand squash destined for baby food, too much of a pesticide and it goes into the conventional canned pumpkin line instead… that’s why I grow my own, and turn down offers of truckloads of pumpkins for my cows.

      I think with a normal gardening year, the seed yield would be higher than my cup from this first pumpkin, but normal gardening years are getting a little less predictable these days.

      I like to post about how much food it takes to get through the year – I think when you purchase food in small amounts you don’t realize how much it adds up. Looking at a years worth of potatoes, onions and squash and meat all at once is hard to imagine. We will have no problem eating 450 pounds of winter squash by late spring, but to most that probably sounds like a lot.

      You might want to have a soil test with pesticide profile done for your soil. This is totally different than the usual soil test that people have done. You may not have any residues at all, depending on what they used. It used to cost around $125.00, that was 4 years ago but well worth it, for some growers.

  3. October 28, 2010 3:32 am

    I had no idea pesticides would stay in the soil for that long. I had great hopes of growing a huge chunk of our food supply this past summer, but that is easier said than done. Baby steps I guess….

    • October 28, 2010 5:37 am

      Kristen, it’s a pretty sobering thought isn’t it, and not what Ortho, and Monsanto et al want you to know.

      Your garden will get better as you go, I garden like I cut out a quilt – the “cut ’em big” approach. I plant lots and there is usually some kind of failure from weather, critters or … so we always have something to eat, maybe not what we planned originally but still food anyway 🙂

  4. October 28, 2010 5:27 am

    I take it these seeds are what are known as pepitas in Mexican cooking? I will make sure to buy organic (certified) .. thanks for the tip about substituting them in pesto .. I had issues with ‘pine mouth’ this summer when I used Asian pine nuts in my pesto.

  5. October 28, 2010 6:02 am

    I always wanted to try the naked seeded pumpkins but I don’t have that much room so I stick to the squash we really like.

  6. October 28, 2010 10:06 am

    Nuts! I didn’t know that about lurking chemicals and cucurbits. The guy who owned this property before us professed to being organic, and then left a large stack of lawn fertilizers by the side of the house. There’s no telling when he quit using them. I’m make sure to put next year’s plants up in the raised beds next year. Thanks Nita!

  7. October 28, 2010 10:31 am

    I had no idea that there was such a thing–pumpkin seeds grown without a hull. That’s something I will definitely be trying next year as I absolutely love pumpkin seeds but hate pulling off all the hulls. Do you remember where you bought the seeds?

    • October 29, 2010 6:55 am

      Amy, I got the seeds for these at Turtle Tree, but most seed companies carry them. Look for names like Lady Godiva, Kakai, Naked Seed pumpkin or Oilseed pumpkin.

  8. October 29, 2010 5:07 pm

    I too find that these are barely worth growing due low seed yield/space requirements. They are tasty tho!


  1. Did you know there is a pumpkin variety that is grown specifically for its naked seeds? | My Suburban Homestead

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