Slice your cucumber in half long ways, and scoop out the seeds. If you have done your research on open-pollinated varieties and heirlooms well ahead of planting time, you’ll know that hybrids are to be avoided if you would like to save any sort of seeds for the following garden season. This post may contain affiliate links. Once you've identified the female blossoms, you can bag them individually in spun polyester or cotton bags, which will prevent insects from pollinating—and therefore crossing—them. When you happen upon a cucumber, yellowing and past its prime, take it as a learning opportunity. Why did I save them without fermentation? Squeeze or spoon the seed mass into a waterproof container (glass, jar, plastic cup, or deli container). To pollinate the flowers you'll harvest for seeds, first use a small brush to collect the pollen from a bagged male cucumber flower. If you only knew how! Place the container in the freezer for two days to kill any residual pests and then store in a cool, dry place such as the refrigerator. Use the scissors, knife or bamboo sticks from your collecting kit to harvest the ripe seeds. Stir the mixture daily. Leave the seeds in there for a total of three days. Hybrid plants are created by cross-breeding select “parent plants” with desirable characteristics. Since its my first year saving these seeds I will test the unfermented seed to see how it compares with the cleaned seed. To remove the seed, cut into quarters lengthwise, avoiding the core, and pull apart. The same holds true for almost any other trait. Set the bowl aside and leave it in a warm space – to allow fermentation to begin. Strain the seeds, helping to remove any remaining viscous seed cover. For vertical vines, plant seeds one foot apart. Every gardener and homesteader knows, or will quickly find out, that cost tops the list of reasons to save their own garden seeds. If you save seeds from a hybrid, the next generation reverts to the various parents. Non-viable seeds will float to the top, the rest will sink. Once you have mastered the act of saving your cucumber seeds, why not move onto tomatoes. It all started at a young age with a love for the outdoors, followed by a keen interest in goats, which turned into a love for raising ducks and mangalica pigs on the Plains of Hungary. At this point you can safely remove the bags from all your cucumber plants—just make sure you keep the female fruit tagged so you remember to harvest it for seed and it doesn't end up in a salad by mistake. Cucumber seeds will last up to 5 years in proper storage – to be safe, plant them and save seeds again as often as possible! The first step is to choose your best-looking tomatoes. They should stay on the vines until the vines are dead. Professional seed savers recommend separating cucumber varieties by at least half a mile when planting in order to prevent crossing. 7. If you save seeds from a hybrid variety and replant them, you likely won't get any cucumbers. Cucumber seeds will last up to 5 years in proper storage – to be safe, plant them and save seeds again as often as possible! Any debris or unviable seeds will again float to the top, making them easy to skim off and discard. Mark 1 or 2 early good fruits on each plant to leave for seed, and then pick and eat later fruits. Currently she is homesteading in northern Romania, amidst charming haystacks, with her husband and homeschooled daughter. Take cucumbers, for example. You can save ten years worth of cucumber seeds, once every ten years! Step 4 – Set the bowl aside and leave it in a warm space – to allow fermentation to begin. Non-viable seeds will float to the top, the rest will sink. Remember you should only save seeds from open-pollinated (OP) tomatoes. When cross-pollination occurs, know that the old wives’ tale is simply not true. Place seeds on a paper towel or screen until they are thoroughly dry. To complicate things even further, cucumbers cross-pollinate easily with other cucumber varieties, which can impact the success of future harvests. Similar to saving tomato seeds, you'll want to set the container aside (uncovered) in a warm spot that ideally maintains a temperature between 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. Step 2 – Scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Label and store your saved cucumber seeds in an envelope, breathable cotton bag or a glass jar in a cool, dry place. Store dry seeds in a cool garage that is frost-free. Bring it inside, then cut it lengthwise to reveal its inner seeds. Cheryl Magyar is a sustainable life designer and environmental freelance writer with more than twenty years experience of living a simple life close to nature. Place a tiny bit of warm water in a bucket, then place all of the seeds in there as well. To remove this sack, place the seeds in a dish and cover with water. Typically made using a wood or PVC frame that's been covered in a spun polyester screen, the DIY device also works great to keep pollinators out. To save seed is to participate in the process of natural selection. Squashes and cucumbers cannot cross pollinate. Saving Seeds for Next Year. So if you don’t practice crop rotation very often and like to plant things in the same location year after year, then this method might work wonderfully for you. Even if next year’s crop emerges and turns into a similar looking cucumber, it will not be exactly the same – the original characteristics will have morphed. Harvest the overgrown cucumber and cut it in half lengthwise. Add enough water to equal the volume of the seed mass, and put the container in a warm spot out of direct sunlight. This can take anywhere from 1 to 3 days, and will smell like a gently fermenting cucumber salad. First, pick the cucumber from the vine using either your hand or a pair of gardening sheers if the vine is too thick. Step 5 – Strain the seeds, helping to remove any remaining viscous seed cover. Saving cucumber seeds ensures you have the same plant for next season. There are many methods you can use to ensure a prosperous garden each year, and saving seeds from heirloom or open-pollinated varietals is a wonderful way to almost always guarantee a plant's vitality. Only harvest mature seeds from the healthiest plants. The good news is, a monster zucchini full of mature seeds can still be eaten, cored and stuffed. And again: ... Leave some to develop for next year’s seed supply. To harvest a cucumber for seeds, means that it will no longer be small and green. Rinse the good seeds a few more times, then strain them and place them on paper towels to dry. The seeds will need to ferment to remove the outer coating on the seeds. However, no two fruits or vegetables are alike, so when it comes to saving seeds, each varietal is different. Pumpkins and melons: seeds need to be washed and set aside to dry for a week or so before storage. Though squashes and squashes can. Once the fruit is done, melon and watermelon seeds simply need to be washed, dried and stored for next year. It is extremely rewarding to plant them year after year, with the same delicious results. 4. By selecting seeds from plants with the best qualities, you can tailor the specific conditions in your garden, allowing for a fruitful harvest for years to come. (By comparison, a cucumber or zucchini must go long past ripeness, ... Mr. Greene advised, save its seed, in case supply is short. How to collect and save vegetable seeds: Beans, peas and corn: remove husks and allow seeds to dry out – this may take a couple of weeks, then remove casings and store. Remove the seeds and let them ferment in a pail for three days the same as tomato seeds to remove the gel around them. But you won't know this from the seed package. 6. If you save seed only from the biggest tomato of the bunch and replant them year after year, you’ll eventually end up with seeds that produce plants on which all the tomatoes are bigger. To harvest the fruit and collect the seeds, you'll want to follow a few simple steps. The cucumber must also stay on the vine until it is past an edible stage. Once dry, store the seeds in an air-tight storage bag or a Mason jar and label them for next year's sowing. If stored properly, your cucumber seeds will remain viable for 10 years. Once you learn how to properly save seeds, you can share them freely and spread the knowledge too. 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