How to Save Cucumber Seeds

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Saving your own cucumber seeds may not be necessary, but it is a great way to teach your children about the life cycle of plants while offering the benefit of free seeds for next year's garden as well. Harvesting the seeds is easy, but you do need to keep in mind that hybrid seeds will not produce fruit identical to the original. Hybrids are a cross between two or more cultivars bred to preserves specific traits and may produce inferior fruit. Select non-hybrid varieties for seed saving.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Glass jar
  • Paper towels or recycled newspaper
  • Airtight containers
  • Select a healthy plant that produces cucumbers you prefer. Early fruit set, flavor, or abundance of fruit should be considered. Although there is no guarantee the plants you produce will preserve these traits, you improve your chances of developing cucumbers that exhibit the traits you seek.

  • Choose healthy, well-shaped fruits for seed production and allow them to ripen fully on the vine. Cucumbers at picking or eating stage are actually immature fruit and will not produce viable seeds. Ripe cucumbers are fat and yellowed.

  • Slice the cucumber lengthwise and scoop the seeds and the gelled material from the center of the fruit and place in a glass jar.

  • Cover with two to three inches of water and place in a warm area. Allow this to set for several days. The flesh of the cucumber ferments, killing viruses and separating the seeds from the pulp. Viable seeds sink to the bottom of the jar. Seed that floats are not suitable for saving because they will not germinate.

  • Pour the water, pulp, and floating seeds from the jar and discard. Strain the seeds and rinse with lukewarm water to remove any remaining residue.

  • Spread seeds on paper towel, recycled newspaper, or a screen to dry thoroughly.

  • Store seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dark area.

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