he final job of any size left in the vegetable department is harvesting the hull less pumpkin seeds. The pumpkins were gathered and stored in the barn some time ago, and as usual they were starting to get in the way. Besides the obvious edible seed component, I am also looking for good seed specimens. Like any other seed saving mission, I am looking for representative pumpkins that exhibit the traits I want in the garden.
It’s pretty easy for me to keep my Sweet Meat squash seed true since I grow no other C. maximas, but the Naked Seed is a C. pepo and I do grow some summer squash which may cross-pollinate. As the growing season progresses you can usually tell if you have a throwback or not. One hill this year exhibited only long fruit instead of the usual pumpkin shape. I suspected the elongated pumpkins would have hulls on their seeds, but you never really know. Plants can surprise you, so I let them grow and harvested them with the rest of the lot.
I have smashed these pumpkins by dropping them, or when I only had a few, I would cut them open jack-o-lantern style. But today I had forty to process so the using a hatchet seemed to be the quickest with the least amount of effort on my part. All that kindling chopping has come in handy I guess. A few well place whacks around the equator and the pumpkins would pop open revealing the prizes inside.
Just as I had thought, the oblong pumpkins revealed hulled seeds. I can’t come up with the half mile isolation distance needed for these, nor do I want to bother hand-pollinating a minor crop such as this, so I live with the results. Five pumpkins out of forty-five to fifty is not that bad. The cows get the spoils, so they get a little extra treat with these. May the fastest cow win when I throw these into the fresh paddock ;)
ETA: At paddock shift, the cows did dive on the ones with seeds first, and the calves just watched with puzzled looks. Next year they will know what to do.