Influence of fruit type and seed fermentation durations on seed germination and seedling vigour in pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.)

Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) is an important fruity vegetable belonging to the family cucurbitaceae and it is cultivated for its nutritional and medicinal purposes. Rural farmers usually harvest the fruits of pumpkin purposely for food after which they use the extracted seed at planting before the pulp and gelatinous material surrounding the seed has been removed, thus hindering seed germination and seedling vigour. Therefore, a study was conducted to evaluate the effect of pumpkin fruit type and seed fermentation durations on seed germination and seedling vigour in pumpkin. The round and oval pumpkin fruits were harvested at 60 Days After Anthesis (DAA) and then their seeds were fermented for a period of 0, 2 and 4 days. This was done by adding 250ml of distilled water to the pumpkin seeds and stored in air tight polythene bags for a period of 2 and 4 days at 25⁰C. Germination percentage of seeds fermented for zero, two and four days was significant at P≤0.05 level of significance. The seeds fermented for a longer period of time (four days), showed a higher germination percentage of 90.2% for the round type and 87% for the oval type, compared to those seeds that were fermented for a period of 2 days and those not fermented (control) which showed a low germination percentage of 39.7% for the round type and 32.7% for the oval type. Seeds harvested from round shaped fruit and those harvested from oval shaped fruit, and fermented for four days, showed higher germinability than those fermented for two days period. This shows that fermentation does not only facilitate seed extraction but also improves seed viability. Therefore seeds should be fermented for longer, four days, at 25⁰C.
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Region Focus: 
East Africa
RUFORUM Working document series
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Open Access
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Web resource