Saving Cucumber Seed

Collecting and saving the seed of cucumbers is an easy and enjoyable task. Cucumber seeds can be kept for between 4-10 years depending on the storage conditions.

The important thing about saving any seed is that you want to choose the best plants: the most vigorous, hardy, or heat/cold tolerant) and the best fruit: the best colour, texture, shape, size and most importantly taste. Once you identify the plant from which you want to get your seed you need to give it a bit of T.L.C. You should remove any side branches that might take energy away from forming fruit. It may also be a good idea to limit the number of fruit allowed to grow on that plant so that you maximize the quality of fruit/seed produced.

I have recently harvested my cucumber seeds. Here’s how I do it:

1. I identify my best performing plant and remove all lateral shoots. I pick any excess fruit often, not allowing them to grow much past pickling size. This directs energy back into the seed baring fruit, enhancing my yield. I wait until the fruit is large and has changed colour from a bright shiny green to a dull yellow or brown. If the fruit is beginning to soften or the plant is dying this is another indicator that the seed is ready for harvest.

2. Remove the fruit from the plant and bring inside. You don’t have to harvest the seed immediately. You can do it after a few days but, preferably before the fruit gets funky.

3. Get yourself: A chopping board, a sharp knife, a medium bowl, a colander and some paper or paper towel.

4. Cut the fruit open. Personally I like to cut it in half then cut down the sides along the seam of its three chambers. This makes it easy for me to handle and I don’t cut into any of the seed.

5. With your thumb push against the flesh, dropping the seeds into a bowl. You will notice that most of the seed will have a jelly like membrane surrounding the seed. Leave this attached.

Note to self - into a bowl 😉

6. Put some water in the bowl and place aside in a safe spot for a few days. Our aim is to leave the seed and pulp in the water, stirring each day, until the membrane dissolves and the viable seed drop to the bottom of the bowl. A foam may form on the surface which will indicate that the fermentation process is complete. This is important as it will kill any seed-borne diseases.

7. Rinse seed in a colander under running water.

8. Spread seed onto paper or paper towel to dry.

9. When dry place the seed into either a jar or envelope and clearly mark the details of the seed. Store in a cool, dark and dry area.

Advertisements

7 responses to this post.

  1. Love how easy you make this look! I look forward to trying seed saving this fall.

    Reply

    • Hi Shannon,

      Thanks for your feedback. Have a go and let us know how you get on. It’s one of those simple self affirming activities, where you sit back and say ‘wow, I did this and it wasn’t all that hard”.

      Good luck

      Reply

  2. Posted by Nancy on July 21, 2011 at 9:09 am

    OK, I have been looking for days, and just came upon your site. I do believe I have something of a very AMAZING mistake. I thought I would take a chance here and see if you reply. I had moved my above ground pool to re work the ground, upon removing the pool, which is where I once had a beautiful garden…..there were two BIG AND BRIGHT green seedlings growing. We took those two seedlings and planted them. They have grown HUGE, we had no idea what they were so we just called them the mystery plants. Well these two plants are SUCH A MYSTERY….these are HONESTLY, a cross breed plant. I know what I had planted in my garden, which was a few different squash and zucchini’s.cukes, corn and a few other different little oddities. Well these plants have grown and have produced the most AMAZING fruit/vegetable I have ever tasted. These fruits taste much like a cantaloupe in a way. But look like a green zucchini and long yellow squash MIX. This is a semi sweet fruit here I have, AMAZING raw, and the most AMAZING cooked. They say cukes and squash WILL NOT cross pollinate, but I am really having a hard time believing this…have you ever had anything like this happen?

    Reply

    • Hi Nancy,

      Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your plant. It sounds very interesting indeed. Did you happen to take some photographs of the plant and or fruit? It would be great to have some visual reference. If you were able to email some through I could share it with everyone.

      At first I thought that it sounded a bit like a Zephyr Zucchini (search google image for a pic) but, when you said it tasted like cantaloupe you really had me confused
      If you happened to save some seed I’d love to give it a go.

      Best regards,
      Jodi

      Reply

  3. Posted by Nancy on July 27, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Hi Jodi, I will send you pics later, once I figure it all out, now with windows 7 everything seems to be a bit off for me! Grrrrrrrrr, and not sure why! And no it is NOT a Zephyr, and yes does taste so much like a cantaloupe, it is so YUMMY! I have also talked to a few seed companies, and they are very excited also. I have dried all of the hundreds of seeds that came out of it of course….and am right now trying to possibly grow them in my Aerogarden….just to see if they will grow after a short time of drying…keeping light on them 20/7…:) Just did that this afternoon, and the seeds are already BIG…:) This is going to be something FUN and exciting……..this is something way off the wall that has been created I am sure, so I HATE to say it, there will be NO seed sharing quite yet until I figure out what I am going to do with my finding. BUT do promise to keep you informed of any findings if you are interested. Off to figure out how to copy these pics I have taken last week to post to responses from seed companies….:) wish me luck….:) And id it is really something of a GOOD SURPRISE…..I already have named it…and will let you know that also in time….:) Thanks for responding! And will get pics for you soon, I promise!

    Reply

    • Hi Nancy,

      That sounds great.

      What part of the world are you in by the way? I ask because I had automatically assumed that you were in the Northern Hemisphere. I guess it was the idea that the plant was in season now.

      I asked about the seed because I’m just about to start sowing my cucurbit seeds in the southern hemisphere now as spring is fast approaching. I’m concerned about the aerogarden experiment for a few reasons. Most importantly, I think that the unit will be too small for such a large and vigorous plant. It will require lots of light, room for the roots and also, they are very thirsty plants. I know that I have struggled to keep water up to the cucumbers in my large GreenSmart pot – and they do hold quite a bit of water. Don’t let me put you off though. It is an experiment after all. Just don’ forget that if you get flowers you’ll have to hand pollinate as there will be no pollinators inside.

      I wish you all the best and look forward to you’re photos.

      Jodi

      Reply

      • Posted by Nancy on July 28, 2011 at 12:22 am

        Hi Jodi, I am in the United States. California to be exact. I am just going to start the seeds in the Aerogarden then get them out in the garden’s beautiful sun…:) I am hoping they will root. I have had great luck starting my seeds in there then transplanting to the garden. I love this Aerogarden for this purpose. For some reason I am not able to copy the pictures my friend took the other day so I am just going to forward the emails to you so you can take a peek. I think there are 4 separate emails. I will also send you the pics I took yesterday of the plant etc. I am so excited about these 2 plants! …:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: