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I am in need of a good strategy to extract the earliest-possible batch of seeds from an upcoming batch of white pumpkins (I may have a few available within a month).

My main uncertainty is at what size a pumpkin needs to be before extracting seeds of any sort.

Beyond that, my plan is to do the following:

  1. Extract seeds from pumpkin
  2. Dry seeds for 1 day (2 of it is humid)
  3. Place seeds in freezer for 2 to 3 days
  4. Thaw seeds, begin germination process in a 85f, enclosed, lit greenhouse container

Is there anything noteworthy that I can do to encourage my pumpkins to provide viable seeds sooner than later?

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Is there a reason you can't purchase more seeds? –  wax eagle Jun 10 '11 at 12:12
    
Yes, any delivered pumpkins must be direct descendents of an original set of seeds. –  George W Bush Jun 10 '11 at 15:42
    
it sounds like you are trying to breed your own variety? –  winwaed Jun 11 '11 at 14:44
1  
It's a 180-day contest to yield the most ripe pumpkins, given a handful of seeds. If I can plant generation-2 seeds by day 90 in my greenhouse, I'm confident I can harvest generation 2 rather than generation 1 with a much higher yield –  George W Bush Jun 11 '11 at 17:14
    
@hamlin11: I think you're about 40 days away from the 180 day mark, did you manage to extract seeds and get the 2nd generation going? –  bstpierre Sep 14 '11 at 12:33

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted
+50

In "Seed to Seed" (Suzanne Ashworth), p116:

Winter squash or pumpkins used for seed saving must be grown until fully mature.

...

Squash [or pumpkins] have a greater number of viable seeds when cut from the vine and left to sit for three weeks or longer.

For your contest, I think you will need to focus on getting your 1st generation plants to produce a higher yield. (Possibly by encouraging the plant to set more, smaller fruit, but I don't know how you'd do that.) Or through rooting cuttings like you ask in your other question.

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At first this seemed like bad news, but perhaps I can encourage early maturity –  George W Bush Jun 14 '11 at 17:17

Q. Is there anything noteworthy that I can do to encourage my pumpkins to provide viable seeds sooner than later?

A. Having read this, "Pumpkin Seeds - Buying, Selection and Saving" and then talking with my local feed mill owner (I've just got off the phone with him), he grows over 30 types of squashes and gourds each year, we both believe you would be wasting your time trying to harvest pumpkin seeds to earlier (before the pumpkins are mature). Though we also both agree that, "nothing ventured, nothing gained".

The following doesn't answer your question (at least directly), but I am putting in a direct link to it anyway, as I believe it's useful information:

Saving Pumpkin Seeds*

*I contacted by phone the owner of the above linked to website to seek their permission to re-produce their content here, "Bob Matthews" kindly declined my request (hence only the above link). Contact details for Bob Matthews.

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your statement suggests that if I can encourage early maturity, then I'm set. Any thoughts on that? Surely it's not as simple as just cutting it off the vine and letting it set... or is it? –  George W Bush Jul 14 '11 at 20:15
    
@hamlin11, I honestly don't know, as I have never tried to do what you are after doing. Just a suggestion, why don't you experiment (remove 2 or 3 pumpkins at various stages isn't going to have a detrimental effect on the health of the plant) & report back your findings... –  Mike Perry Jul 14 '11 at 20:46
    
we're on the same page. I've been doing some of this; I figure Generation 1 will begin really producing (if I keep the vines from getting burnt out) once it cools off. In the meantime, I have 8 pumpkins, a few large ones, to harvest for seeds. I have 14 days to get a sprout going if I'm going to make Generation 2 happen. –  George W Bush Jul 14 '11 at 20:49

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