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How to Save Cucumber Seeds

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Cucumber seeds are relatively easy to save for planting next year. But don’t waste your time scooping and preparing cucumber seeds from store-bought fruit. For cucumbers to produce viable seed, they must be allowed to vine ripen well past the point at which cucumbers are harvested for food. And if you harvest and save your own cucumber’s seed, be aware of the fruit’s parentage. If your cucumbers have been cross-pollinated, the fruit that comes from their seed will not be identical to the parent plant.

Leave the cucumbers on the vine until the vines have died and the fruit gets bigger and turns yellow. Bring them inside and store them in a dry spot out of direct sunlight until the cucumber softens.

Cut the cucumbers lengthwise to expose their seed.

Scoop out the cucumber seed with a spoon and deposit the seed into a jar of water. Leave them in the water for four to five days. This will allow the seeds to ferment and loosen the gel that encases the seeds.

Scoop out any cucumber flesh and seeds that have floated to the surface. Viable seed will settle at the bottom.

Pour the viable seed out of the jar and into a colander and rinse them with running water.

Spread the cucumber seed out over a screen and place them in a cool, un-sunlit place for roughly three weeks or until they are dry. The seeds are sufficiently dry when they snap when bent in half.

Place the dry cucumber seed in an airtight container and store them in a cool, dark spot. They will remain viable for eight to 10 years.

Deep To Plant Cucumber Seeds

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) varieties include pickling cucumbers, which you pick at certain times, depending on whether you're making larger dill pickles or smaller sweet pickles. You can safely plant the seeds outdoors about three to four weeks after the last frost in your area. When planting directly in the garden, make hills for the seeds. Plant the seeds 1 inch deep in seed starter mix. Once the seedlings emerge, cut all but two off at soil level, and then when the remaining two plants reach about 8 to 10 inches tall, cut one off at the soil level. Grow only one plant per container. For direct outdoor sowing, you can use row covers to protect seeds and seedlings from pests and remove them once the plants begin flowering. Seeds sown in containers need consistent moisture and kept at a temperature between 60 and 65 F. Cucumber seeds need full sun, so choose a spot in a sunny location or place containers where they receive at least six to eight hours of sun daily.

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