This button squash has been so good to me this summer. It has bourne and bourne, for about 5 months now, yielding kilos from just two plants. You will see its picture in all sorts of recipes. It has kept going when lots of other varieties of cucurbits have curled up their toes in the wet weather.
But such good genes, especially for a wet year. They may be a hybrid, or they may have crossed with something else in my garden, so they may not breed true, but it’s worth a go at giving those genes another generation.
It was hard to let it go to seed. Constant picking keeps the plant producing. Once I had decided to leave a fruit to seed, that was the end for that plant. I waited as long as I dared, then carefully labelled a good looking fruit so that I didn’t absent-mindedly pick it.
I kept watch on it to make sure it didn’t rot, and when it was fully mature and the plant was beginning to die back picked it. I scooped out the seeds, washed them, and dried them on a tray in the shade for a couple of days. On the third day, it was cold and wet, and rather than risk them going mouldy, I brought them in to sit on the kitchen bench and soak up the warm dry air from the wood stove for a day.
Today I’ve packaged them up. Because it was such a grey, wet day, I had some fun making cute little origami purses for them with recycled pages from a magazine. I will only plant a dozen at most next year, so I’ve kept two dozen seeds. The rest I’ve packaged up to give away to friends, visitors, anyone who comes by and is willing to take a chance.
I’ve learned, if I lose a variety, the best insurance is a fellow gardener who has kept the gene line going.