Imagine having your own pumpkin patch in your backyard – an endless supply of pumpkins for carving and eating every year. Learning how to dry pumpkin seeds for planting and planting your seeds at the right time can make this dream a reality.
Drying pumpkin seeds is easier than you think, but it still requires some planning and careful treatment of your seeds.
- How To Dry Pumpkin Seeds for Planting
- How To Dry Pumpkin Seeds for Planting Without Them Getting Moldy
- How Long Do Pumpkin Seeds Need to Dry for Next Year’s Planting?
- Dehydrating Pumpkin Seeds – A Good or Bad Idea?
- Storing Your Seeds
- When To Plant Pumpkins for Halloween
- Final Thoughts
How To Dry Pumpkin Seeds for Planting
Because pumpkin seeds are larger than other seeds, they take a little longer to dry out. It’s important to keep a close eye on your seeds and check them regularly to prevent mold.
Before we get into the drying process, let’s talk about the varieties of pumpkins. You can absolutely plant seeds from the pumpkins you buy at the store, but the results probably won’t be the same. Why? Because these types of pumpkins are usually hybrids. They may produce mini pumpkins or pumpkins that aren’t as colorful and flavorful. That may not be a big deal for you, but it’s important to know what to expect.
If you know you have an heirloom pumpkin or an open-pollinated variety, then they should breed true.
How To Dry Pumpkin Seeds for Planting Without Them Getting Moldy
If you want to save your seeds for planting next year, it’s important to keep them in the right environment and give them time to dry.
- First, separate the seeds from the pumpkin pulp and rinse well.
- Next, lay your seeds out in a single layer on a piece of wax paper to dry overnight. Pumpkin seeds can be sticky at first, so wax paper is ideal.
- The next day, line a cookie sheet with paper towels. Lay your seeds out in a single layer on a dry paper towel to allow them to dry out even further.
- Make sure that your seeds are spread out evenly so air can reach each one.
- Place your seed tray in a cool, dry and dark place for about a month.
- Every week or so, stir and turn your seeds to promote airflow and ensure all sides of the seeds have a chance to dry.
Paper towels are great for drying seeds because they help absorb any remaining moisture.
How Long Do Pumpkin Seeds Need to Dry for Next Year’s Planting?
While drying times can vary with seeds, pumpkin seeds generally take longer than most other seeds. Expect to dry them out for a month before storing them away for planting.
Dehydrating Pumpkin Seeds – A Good or Bad Idea?
It may be tempting to speed up the drying process by using an air dehydrator. However, dehydrators use heat, even if it’s just a little bit of heat, to remove moisture. That heat can make your seeds unviable.
Seeds need warmth, light and moisture to germinate. Dehydrators introduce a little bit of heat, which can leave you with disappointing results if you try to plant them.
So, if you want to plant your pumpkin seeds, skip the dehydrator rack.
Storing Your Seeds
Once you’re confident that your seeds are dry, it’s time to store them away for next year. Saving pumpkin seeds and storing them properly can ensure that you have an endless supply of pumpkins every year for carving and eating.
To store seeds from pumpkins, it’s important to keep them in a place that’s:
You want a cool spot, preferably a place where the temperature is consistently under 60°F. A dry basement or even the freezer will work well for seed storage.
When stored properly, pumpkin seeds can last for four to five years.
Aside from the environment, it’s important to keep your seeds in the right container. Some of the best seed storage containers include:
Airtight Storage Containers
An airtight container is perfect for storing seeds that you know are completely dry. If you want to use a container like this, consider placing a silica gel packet in with your seeds for a few days before sealing it up to remove any remaining moisture.
We don’t recommend leaving the silica packet in with your seeds while you store them because they can dry them out too much.
Many gardeners keep their seeds in paper envelopes or the packets the seeds came in. This is a simple, effective and inexpensive way to store your seeds.
Just make sure that you label and date your envelopes to keep your seeds organized.
Plastic containers are another great option for seed storage. You can find containers of all sizes to meet your needs. They’re great for storing packets of seeds or envelopes of seeds you save yourself.
Glass or Mason Jars
Glass or mason jars are also great for seed storage. They offer excellent protection against pests and moisture as long as your seeds are fully dry when you store them.
When To Plant Pumpkins for Halloween
If you want to grow pumpkins from seeds for Halloween, you’ll need to plant them at just the right time.
- For northern states, plant your seeds in late May.
- For southern states, wait until late early June or July to plant your seeds.
If you plant your seeds too early, there’s a chance your pumpkins may rot before you have a chance to carve or eat them on Halloween.
Planting Your Halloween Pumpkin Seeds
Vining pumpkins need a lot of space to spread out, so make sure that you have the room for them. How much space do they need?
- 50-100 square feet per hill
To plant your seeds:
- Place them 1 inch deep.
- Aim to plant 4-5 seeds per hill.
- Make sure you have 5-6 feet between hills and 10-15 feet between rows.
- Once young plants are established, thin hills to two to three plants.
Bush varieties don’t need as much space. Aim to have one plant every three feet and 4-6 feet in between rows.
Vining varieties are the most common, so plan to clear out a big space in your yard for your pumpkin patch.
Learning how to dry and store your pumpkin seeds will allow you to grow your own pumpkins every year. It’s a fun activity for the whole family and a great way to teach kids about gardening and where their food comes from.
Rene is a creative, little gnome. When she’s not diving deep into research on health and wellness, she’s spending here time out in nature, growing her homestead, photographing wildlife, doing yoga or enjoying a zen (depending on the day) moment with her fur babies. And on top of all of that, she’s a professional writer by day, helping businesses around the world grow.