Editor’s note: Kelly R. Jackson’s Garden Corner column has a different format. He takes questions called into his phone recently at the Christian County Extension Office and answers them in the column.
Question. Can I save the seed from my pumpkins to grow them again next year?
Answer. Yes, but there are a few things to consider. First, if the pumpkin is a hybrid cultivar, the plants produced from their seeds will produce a different type of pumpkin, likely inferior to the one you wanted. Don’t waste time saving seeds from hybrid cultivars. Pumpkins are also partially cross-pollinated which means they could be pollinated by another closely related plant. The resulting fruit from those saved seeds will carry a combination of traits from the two cultivars. The typical Jack O’Lantern pumpkin could be pollinated by other field pumpkins, cushaws, squash and zucchini.
So unless you know for sure the pumpkins you want to grow from seed were isolated and only pollinated by other plants of the same cultivar, you are taking a gamble that the saved seeds will produce plants like their parents.
On the other hand, you may discover a new pumpkin that you like even better. Who says gardening is not adventurous? The actual seed-saving process is simple though. Remove the seeds and rinse the pulp free using a colander. Lay out the seeds to dry for about a month. Then store them in a cool place in a paper bag until next planting season.
Q. How long will my pesticides last in storage?
A. Most manufacturers recommend a maximum 2-year storage period for their products. Providing proper storage is important for maintaining chemical effectiveness and protecting human health and the environment. A locking cabinet makes a great storage area for home owners.
Locate the cabinet in a cool, dry, well-ventilated storage area that remains between 40 and 100 degrees. Stored pesticides should be kept in their original containers with the label attached. If a leaking container is found, put the whole container into a larger one and label the container or properly dispose of the chemical. It’s a good idea to write the date of purchase on containers so older materials can be used first.
Common sense also dictates that pesticides not be stored near food, medicine, cleaning supplies, seed, animal feed or flammable materials. Routinely inspect your storage area for leaks.
Disposing of pesticides should be taken seriously as pesticides placed in sewer, storm drains, or in landfills can go directly into our water supply or into nearby lakes and streams used for recreation. The label on the pesticide container should be your first source for information.
Most pesticides available to homeowners are packaged in containers that when emptied can safely be disposed of in the trash. The empty container should be rinsed three times with water. Pour the rinse water into the sprayer and spray onto the target site or plant. Never pour pesticides, even diluted pesticides, down the drain.
An even better solution for disposing of old chemicals is to bring them to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day on Oct. 24 at the Public Works Department from 8 a.m. to noon. More information at www.hopkinsvilleky.us/recycle.
Kelly R. Jackson is the Christian County Extension Agent for horticulture. He can be reached at 270-886-6328 or visit Christian County Horticulture online at www.christiancountyextension.com.