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Troppofoodgardener
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How do you save cucumber seeds?

I grew my current cuke plants from purchased seedlings. I have tried saving the biggest seeds from inside the cucumbers, but they don't seem to amount to much after I dry them? :?
What is the best way to save cuke seeds in order to replant for next season? Also.. are they perennials or annuals? I have the Lebanese variety.
A fledgling gardener's attempt to grow food in the northern tropics of Australia:
https://troppofoodgarden.blogspot.com

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stella1751
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I've been trying to save cucumber seeds this year, mostly because I think it will be fun. The procedure is supposedly simple: You make certain you take a cucumber that has turned yellow and, preferably, died with the plant. (Cucumbers are annuals.) Then you slice it down the middle, lengthwise, and scoop out the part with the seeds in it, which you put in an open container, like a Kerr jar.

There is some disagreement about the next part. One website said to add water; another didn't. I added water. I see now that I shouldn't have, so I need to start over, because my seeds and gunk just turned moldy when it was supposed to ferment.

Anyway, don't add water. Leave the seeds and gunk alone to ferment. It should take 3 days, but I've seen websites say it will take as long as 5. I can't tell; mine simply molded because I had water in it.

Once it has fermented, you dump off the top gunk. The good seeds will have sunk to the bottom. These you rinse and rinse and rinse in a collander until they are clean. You then dry them on a paper towel in a warm place. Once they have dried so thoroughly that they will snap in half if you try to bend them, they are ready to store for next year.

I'll be trying this system again, doing it right this time. I have all kinds of cucumbers on my counter to experiment with. I don't really need the seeds; my neighbor wants some, and I am determined to do these right eventually!
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jal_ut
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Hmmmm, I just get a very ripe cuke, cut it lengthwise and with a fork pull the seed out and let them drop on a paper towel. Yes, just separate the seed from the other stuff. Set it somewhere to dry. For most of us home gardeners, we will only need 20 seed anyway. Pretty easy to do.
You want a big mature fruit. It should be yellow. Otherwise the seed won't be mature enough to germinate.

I do watermelon the same way, only I remove the seed as I eat the melon. When the piece of melon is finished, I have seed on the plate. I just scoot them off the plate onto a napkin and set them aside to dry.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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Troppofoodgardener
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I've been trying to save mine without success mainly because I've been using seeds from normal-sized cucumbers after I eat them. They tend to shrivel up into nothing but dried flakes. :roll:

But now I know to use a big mature cucumber. Thanks for the help guys!

By the way.. probably not possible, but is there any way of propogating a cucumber PLANT? I figure it will be quicker than growing them from seed again... :wink:
A fledgling gardener's attempt to grow food in the northern tropics of Australia:
https://troppofoodgarden.blogspot.com

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jal_ut
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Propagate a cucumber plant? Hmmmmmm. I have never done that. Many vining plants will send down roots from the leaf nodes. I am not sure if cukes do or not. Try this: Pick a leaf node about a foot from the end of the vine and cover it up with soil. It will progably take two or three weeks to root at the node. Then cut the vine on the side of the parent vine and dig the new start and move it. (That is if it rooted)

Here is the thing, in three weeks you can grow a nice plant from seed.

The method I described is called layering and it works on lots of plants. On woody plants like currant bushes, you would wound the stem just below the node you are going to bury. Just make a nick in the bark on one side of the stem. It is a good idea to pin the stem down with a bent wire to make sure it stays on the ground.

I propagate grapes this way too. About mid summer I take some low growing vines and lay them on the ground and cover up a node with soil. I let them go until the next spring, then cut the vine and move the start.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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Troppofoodgardener
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Might have to give that a try.

I've done the same with sweet potato vine, but I'm not sure if cucurbits grow that way. still.. no harm in trying! 8)
A fledgling gardener's attempt to grow food in the northern tropics of Australia:
https://troppofoodgarden.blogspot.com

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Troppofoodgardener
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my seeds still end up thin and flakey!?!?

I have saved the seeds as recommended, and dried them, but they end up very thin and resemble flakes.. is that normal?

I got them from the biggest mature cucumber I could find. It was very thick and and more seed than flesh.
A fledgling gardener's attempt to grow food in the northern tropics of Australia:
https://troppofoodgarden.blogspot.com

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stella1751
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Re: my seeds still end up thin and flakey!?!?

Troppofoodgardener wrote:I have saved the seeds as recommended, and dried them, but they end up very thin and resemble flakes.. is that normal?

I got them from the biggest mature cucumber I could find. It was very thick and and more seed than flesh.
I just finished the fermentation process on two different cucumbers, a pickler variety and a slicer variety. The pickler gave me nice fat seeds that sunk to the bottom and look like seeds; the slicer gave me seeds that floated and reminded me of your description in this thread: thin and resembling flakes.

I'm no expert, this being my first cucumber seed-saving experiment and all, but I tossed the ones from the slicer and am now drying the ones from the pickler.

I still have cucumbers sitting on the counter from an October picking. Two are picklers; one is a slicer. Tomorrow I am going to begin fermenting one of each again. I reason that if I do this long enough, I will be ready one day to save tomato seeds. I don't need cucumber seeds, but my neighbor wants the seeds, and I want the experience.

If the slicer still doesn't work, giving me skinny flake-like seeds, I have a plan C: I left two of them in the cucumber bed. I imagine they are frozen solid by now. Next spring, I'll see what nature has done with 'em.

BTW, the difference I notice between the pre-fermentation seeds and the post-fermentation seeds is the the latter are definitely plump compared to the former. I don't know what the means in terms of viability, but I found it interesting.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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