It is Halloween, and we are in the midst of fall, otherwise known as “Pumpkin Season”. Have you carved your pumpkin for your jack-o-lanterns yet? Or maybe you grew your own pumpkins for pumpkin pie? Did you grow a special heirloom pumpkin and want to grow it again next year? Well, you are in luck! Saving seeds is simple. Follow these easy steps:
- Cut around the stem of the pumpkin wide enough to allow easy access inside the pumpkin.
- Remove the “lid” you have created.
- Grab a colander and some patience. Then remove the pulp and the seeds from inside the inside of the pumpkin and place in the colander
- Run water over the colander. Start picking the seeds out from the pulp, rinsing under the water as you go. *Tip: Do not let the pulp stand in sitting water.
- There will be a plethora of pumpkins seeds, more than you will ever need to plant. Once you have a plentiful amount of rinsed seeds, choose the largest seeds. Bigger seeds have a better chance of germinating. *Tip: Save three times the seeds than how many pumpkin plants you will want to grow next year.
- Put down a dry paper towel and place the rinsed seeds, spaced out, on it. *Note: Overlapping seeds will cause them to stick to each other.
- Put the seeds on the paper towel in a cool, dry spot for at least one week.
The seeds are now ready for storing! A simple envelope is the perfect place for pumpkins seed storage. Pumpkin seeds, and other types of seeds, are best kept somewhere cool and dry. The refrigerator is a great storage place. If you do use the refrigerator as your storage location, use a container with holes in the lid, to prevent condensation build-up.
Your seeds are now ready to go for next year’s planting season!
The Shelf Life of Nutrients
How can I get the most out of my nutrients? You can invest some hard-earned dollars on your nutrients, so you want to make sure you are getting the most out of them. In general, heat, light and moisture could diminish the efficacy of dry and liquid, organic and chemical nutrients. It is important to check the expiration date on your nutrients, and test them. Here are some general precautions you can take to keep nutrient degradation at bay:
- Leave nutrient containers sealed until feeding time. You might be tempted to open your containers before you are ready to use them, but that can introduce bacteria or other unwanted substances.
- Mix only as much nutrient as you need for each feeding.
- Keep liquid nutrients sealed and place opened bags or boxes of dry nutrients in airtight containers when not in use.
- Store all nutrients in a dark closet or cabinet to further preserve their strength. To block as much light as possible, suppliers typically package nutrients in opaque or dark-colored containers.
Do dry, granulated nutrients last longer than liquid forms? That depends. Both forms of nutrients do degrade with time, but the relative temperature and humidity of your storage conditions impact each to a different extent. For instance, dry nutrients tolerate extreme temperatures better than liquid nutrients can, but high humidity will shorten the shelf life of granulated nutrients.
Over time, liquid nutrients can crystallize, costing some potency. Shaking liquid products well before each use can help re-emulsify stratified nutrients. Some liquid products benefit from refrigeration; once opened, some rooting gels can be preserved this way for up to one year. Organic liquid nutrients do not always last as long as chemical liquid nutrients; in warm conditions, bottled organics can bloat or bloom.
Even if you have stored nutrients properly, be careful when using old nutrients. It is a good idea to test the nutrients in question on one or two plants before taking a chance on your entire crop.
Still not sure whether or not your nutrients are past their prime? When in doubt, remember fresher is better!
The 2014 Fall & Winter Catalog is Here