Pumpkin patch

The pumpkin is carved…now what to do with all those seeds?

Sure, you can roast them for a tasty treat. Or, if you want a fun fall gardening activity, save the seeds to plant next year. (As noted in the comments, we recommend you do this with heirloom pumpkins – just ask your farmer at the pumpkin patch or farmers market if the pumpkins they sell are heirloom or hybrid.)

Here’s how to save pumpkin seeds:

Saving and Storing Pumpkin Seeds

  1. Cut the top off your pumpkin and scoop out all the pulp. A large spoon works well for this task.
  2. Separate the seeds from the pulp with your fingers, then place the seeds in a colander to rinse under cool water. Try to remove as much pulp as possible from each seed.
  3. Inspect the clean seeds carefully, and select the largest ones to save. Larger seeds will have a better chance of germinating and growing healthy vines.
  4. Spread the seeds on a layer of wax paper and allow to dry overnight. Pumpkin seeds are sticky, so wax paper works best for the initial drying period.
  5. Once the seeds are dry, line a baking sheet with paper towels. Spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer.
  6. Place the tray in a cool, dark place for at least one month. This allows the seeds to become completely dry.
  7. After one month, sort through the seeds and discard any with mold or mildew. Place the good seeds in an envelope. They can be stored in the envelope until next year’s planting.
See Also:  Corn by the Numbers


  1. You shouldn’t save and plant seeds from regular store-bought pumpkins. The reason why is because most of these pumpkins are hybrids which means they are a specific blend of two varieties or cultivars. The seeds in these pumpkins won’t necessarily produce pumpkins or plants with the same properties or characteristics as the original plant. This is because instead of being crossed by two specific varieties, they were “open pollinated” out in the field. Saving seeds from heirloom pumpkins is the way to go since these have bred in the open for centuries and you can be pretty well assured that the properties of each seed will be similar to the original pumpkin. This idea of saving seeds from heirlooms rather than hybrids is true for all crops.

  2. Hi Jason,

    We’ve updated the post with this important detail – sorry we weren’t clear in the first place. Thanks!

    Jessy Yancey
    Farm Flavor

  3. I was hoping you could help me out.
    My pumpkin plants are turning yellow and dying.
    They are not close to being rip yet.
    Do you know what this is and what I can do to fix this?
    I have never seen this before.


  4. Thanks for the help but where do I store the envelope with the pumpkin seeds? Is one place better than another?

  5. I am having dried pumpkins. Kindly am requesting for market. For contact: 0701084074 / 0782084074

  6. I have tried to grow my own pumpkins for the last 2 years without luck. I have wonderful vines, leaves, and many Male budding flowers. The female flowers from what I’ve seen and read are not blooming at all! What’s going on??
    Also our squash and zuchinne plants did the same thing the last 2 years as well. Really nice plants and flowers without produce!

  7. Have you ever planted a pumpkin seed without drying it. I have some pumpkins that have survived the winter. Thought of just taking the seeds straight from the pumpkin and planting them. Will this work?

  8. In my experience, seeds from store bought pumpkins grow perfectly fine. This year I have nine pumpkins and counting coming from last year’s store bought fruit; many are smaller than your average Halloween pumpkin, but they’re still definitely pumpkins. If you’re really picky you should be careful about what you plant seeds from, but I think most casual gardeners would be perfectly content with the results of seeds from store-bought pumpkins.

  9. Last year I buried three jack o lanterns with another one that we didn’t cut up, and got in trouble with the wife because they took over a 20′ x 20′ section of the back yard. Harvested about a dozen “cupid-o-lanterns” for valentine’s day

  10. Much easier – just take the seeds, no need to wash very well – place them in a sealed plastic bag and put right into your freezer. In the spring, you can thaw and plant them with nothing else required.

  11. I have thrown out pumpkins in my garden area, left them to rot, and had pumpkins the following year and the next. That is, until the weeds took over 😉 But I will say these are farm-grown pumpkins, probably heirlooms not sure.

  12. I usually bake pumpkins whole then when they are soft, I scoop out the seeds. Do you think that baking them and trying to use the seeds for next year causes some of the seeds to not germinate because of the heat in the oven?


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