When you preserve and store seeds, you assist in the continuation of plant varieties’ genetic lines, resulting in more biodiversity among garden plants and averting the extinction of diverse variations.
Collecting seeds from garden vegetables and fruits may be cost-effective, creative, and enjoyable for a gardener.
Preparation and attention to detail are required to save cantaloupe seeds from the current crop for planting in next year’s garden. In this article, we will discuss how to save Cantaloupe seeds.
Watermelons, cantaloupes, honeydews, and even the most unusual melons like Canary and Tiger melons are all simple to keep seeds from. They’re an excellent spot for beginners to start.
- Wire mesh strainer
- Plate or baking tray
- Pot or bowl
- Paper towels
- Airtight container
Before saving cantaloupe seeds, you must first ensure that you are dealing with a non-hybrid or an open-pollinated variety, commonly known as an heirloom.
If you save seeds from a hybrid type and replant them, you’ll probably get some strange-looking fruit with a bad taste. Or, even worse, a huge, luxuriant plant that bears no fruit.
Although many other heirloom cantaloupe varieties exist, Hales Best Jumbo is arguably the most popular. Let’s dive deep.
Use fresh Cantaloupe. Keep the seeds only from ripe fruit, not un-ripened or very under-ripe ones. You may have to use slightly overripe fruit for this purpose, which you can separate by size.
They should smell strongly of Cantaloupe. Always pick your finest specimens for seed collection to ensure maximum germination rate and seed quality.
Separate ripe Cantaloupe from the vine using a sharp knife or pruning shears. It’s best to leave a few inches of stem attached as this may increase germination rate and help prevent the rotting of seeds as they lie on the wet ground over winter.
Removing the stem will make it easier for animals, such as raccoons and squirrels to get at the seeds later on.
Cut open your Cantaloupe using a sharp knife. Be extremely careful when doing this because cantaloupes are very slippery, and it’s easy to slip and hurt yourself with the pointy edge of a knife.
It is preferable to cut just below the flower tuft at the blossom end of the Cantaloupe, but it is not necessary.
Scoop out the seeds into a wire mesh strainer. Rinse well under tepid running water to remove all traces of pulp and excess fruit flies that may have made their way into your ripe Cantaloupe.
Allow the seeds to drain completely for a couple of minutes and then pat them dry with a paper towel. Spread your cleaned seeds out on a plate or baking tray, ensuring adequate air circulation around them.
If you accidentally dropped any seed into the sink, don’t worry because the sink drains usually have screens to prevent exactly this.
If your strainer or baking tray is quite small, you can put the seeds in a pot or bowl and pour water over them so they can soak for two minutes before drying with paper towels.
Excess natural sugars should be eliminated. Cantaloupes have a lot of sugar in them, which is great when you’re eating them, but not so much when you’re storing the seeds.
Microbial activity — bacteria, mold, and fungus – is aided by natural sugars, harming the seeds while being in storage. You want to get rid of as much sugar as possible.
Dish detergent is the most popular and simplest method to do this. Rinse the seeds again after gently rubbing a little quantity of dish detergent on them. Avoid using detergents with many chemicals; instead, use an eco-friendly detergent.
After rinsing off the detergent, it’s time to dry the seeds before storing them. Seeds that have too much moisture in them can deteriorate during storage. Allow them to dry for a day by placing them on absorbent paper towels.
Place the plate of seeds in an enclosed box, cabinet, or baggie overnight to remove all moisture. Cantaloupe seeds are very susceptible to mold, especially when they get damp.
Place the dry seeds in an airtight sealed container (such as a mason jar with a rubber seal), or a zip-lock plastic bag, making sure that you label it according to the year of collection and type of Cantaloupe.
The purpose of the jar/plastic is to keep track of the humidity. If there is any moisture on the inside of the jar, there is dampness within the seeds that need to be removed. Mold or mildew may grow on them.
Silica Gel is effective at keeping stored seed dry. Silica gel is amorphous silicon dioxide beads. Many food and non-food products contain clear silica gel labeled ‘do not ingest.’
It’s a good idea to put these in a jar or ziplock bag with your seeds. Seeds store best in the freezer because there is no moisture present to encourage the growth of fungi. Plus, freezing kills any insect larvae that might be living in your seeds.
Cantaloupe seeds can last up to three years if stored properly despite their viability dwindling drastically.
You can plant your saved cantaloupe seeds as early as February because Cantaloupes are warm-season plants, and you shouldn’t plant them until after there is no longer any risk of frost.
They love heat and sun, and you should sow seeds at least five feet apart to give them room to grow. You can start your seeds off by burying them about an inch under the soil and then gradually work your way down to a depth of two inches as the plant grows.
Planting seeds deeper than this is common practice with Cantaloupe because germination rates are usually higher this way. Sandier soil is preferable to clay, but Cantaloupe will grow in any soil with the right amount of water and nutrients.
For best results, your cantaloupe seeds should stay warm until they germinate. If you keep them in the house after planting, put them on top of the refrigerator, water heater, or heating vent.
Cover your seeds with a thin layer of dry potting soil, sand, or seed starter mix. This will help retain moisture and protect them from hungry birds. Keep the soil moist at all times but never soggy because cantaloupe seeds are very sensitive to waterlogged soil.
At the same time, be sure to watch for unwanted sprouts! Cantaloupe plants are typically very good about producing one Cantaloupe per vine, but sometimes they send out multiple vines with several Cantaloupes on each one.
It’s best to remove all extra vines as soon as you notice them because they can reduce the size of the Cantaloupe you are growing. You can eat or freeze extra vines for future use.
For the most part, cantaloupe seeds are not typically saved for planting. A gardener will generally purchase new seeds each year to grow Cantaloupe in their home or garden.
However, a gardener can save some of the seeds from their cantaloupes. This will be a good idea if you want to grow several of the same types of fruit or if you need replacement seeds for your seed packet.
All in all, saving cantaloupe seeds is pretty easy and doesn’t take up much time. Once you’ve made sure that your seeds are completely dry and protected from the elements, you can store them in a cool, dry place until the next planting season.
Now that you know how to save Cantaloupe seeds, you can enjoy the benefits of growing your Cantaloupes for many years to come.