Hay there Seedsters!
Tons of people have been asking me lately how to save their own cucumber seeds…so for them, and for you - here it is!
There are a couple of different ways to do this, but I use the fermentation method to save my cucumber seeds. Using the fermentation method not only adds vigor and lifespan to your seeds, but also prevents any seed born diseases from passing on to the next generation.
Okay, So first off you'll need at least 12 cucumber plants to select specimens from. (If you don't have at least 12 plants for the first time that's okay…but don't collect from tiny populations EVERY season…or you'll have inbreeding depression amongst your gene line.)
Secondly, you'll want to make sure that there aren't any other varieties of cucumbers within about a kilometer. (if there are-you'll have to hand pollinate…and that my friends…is a whole other blog post in itself…)
Okay! So, now you've got some tasty looking cucumbers on the plants…here's where the fun starts...
(Boothby's Blonde Cucumbers at the tasty stage! yum…)
We don't want to remove the specimens from the plants…we want to leave them attached to the vines so that all of the plants energy can go towards producing mature seeds inside of the cucumber. So we are going to let them get big and somewhat gross looking now. Depending on the variety you are selecting from, your cucumbers will either turn brown, yellow, orange, or a pale green.
(Boothby's Blonde Cucumbers at the seedy stage…not so yummy anymore…)
Now we'll wait until the vines are no longer producing cucumbers and have started to die-down…and then we'll remove our yucky looking specimens from the vine. At this point, you'll need to let them sit inside your house (or barn, or whatever) and get quite soft. You want to be able to feel a good amount of "give" when you squeeze or try to bend your cucumber. Once you've deemed it "Gushy Enough" you can then cut your specimens open to expose their seeds!!!
***Be careful when cutting! The seeds are soft enough to be sliced in half when you cut, so just slice into the cucumber enough that you can break it open with your hands instead!***
So now that you've exposed your delightful little babies to the world…you are going to want to scoop their seeds and "guts"(any pulp, etc surrounding the seeds) out with a spoon into a big glass mason jar, or a vessel of some sort that has a lid. (i used an ice cream bucket because all of my jars were occupied with tomato seeds)
***LID should NOT be overlooked because IT WILL DEFINITELY SMELL AWFUL very soon***
So we've got our seeds all gooshed out into our container like this...
and now we need to just goosh them around with our hands a bit to separate the seeds from the pulp like this...
And now we put the lid on and set it somewhere warm (not hot!) for about 3-5 days to ferment. Swirl it around at least once a day and keep checking for mold to appear. Once you've got a nice thick layer of mold on top of the goosh…you can then start the cleaning process!
This is where you get to inhale the lovely smell of fermented cucumber goosh…try not to vomit and move on! :)
Gently dump off the top layer of mold, guts and immature seeds to reveal your good seeds on the bottom. Pour those into a strainer and spray them with water until they are clean. Put them onto a plate to dry. (To know if they are 100% dry before packaging, you can break a seed in half…if it bends then its not dry…if it shatters or breaks clean…then its dry!)
Once they are dry you can store them in a Cool, Dark and Dry place for up to 5 years.
KEEP IT SEEDY FRIENDS!!!