Once the fruit is done, melon and watermelon seeds simply need to be washed, dried and stored for next year. Cucumber seeds are relatively easy to save for planting next year. Bring it inside, then cut it lengthwise to reveal its inner seeds. Some seeds are easier to save than others. Keep the Seeds Dry Using a Silica Gel Packet or Raw Rice It's essential that the seeds remain dry while being stored. However, some people use this method every year so they don’t have to save seeds or plant a garden. If you only knew how! This can take anywhere from 1 to 3 days, and will smell like a gently fermenting cucumber salad. 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. 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. Since its my first year saving these seeds I will test the unfermented seed to see how it compares with the cleaned seed. Stir the contents at least once a day. To harvest a cucumber for seeds, means that it will no longer be small and green. Stir the mixture daily. Take cucumbers, for example. Re-bag the female blossom until it ripens into a fruit—not only is that a great reward for all your hard work, but the presence of a cucumber assures that your hand-pollination methods worked. Seeds from biennial crops such as carrots or beets are harder to save since the plants need two growing seasons to set seed. It is extremely rewarding to plant them year after year, with the same delicious results. How to Save Seeds for Next Year Step 3: Don’t Eat Everything! Follow the same process with the adjacent male flowers, making sure to tag the bags that contain the female blossoms so you can easily identify them later as the ones you'll harvest for seeds. You can save ten years worth of cucumber seeds, once every ten years! Once a day, stir the mixture thoroughly. Collecting Seeds from Melons. You can also keep seeds dry using rice kernels. She is an avid organic gardener who can often be found eating nourishing “weeds” and making herbal infusions, just as she can be seen planting native trees to help others around the world to lower their carbon footprints. To save seed is to participate in the process of natural selection. For successful seed saving, you must assure seed purity. They are considered wet seeds. Many viruses, including the prevalent mosaic virus, can be seed borne. It may sound like extra work but the results can be extremely rewarding and save you money in the process. Saving seed from one year to plant the next is an age-old tradition. For vertical vines, plant seeds one foot apart. Furthermore, it is useful to know that cucumbers are both wind and insect pollinated and it just so happens that cucumbers can be hand pollinated when necessary, just like squash and pumpkins. You can save 100+ seeds from a single cucumber ready to grow again next year. Place the seeds in a bowl, or jar, and cover the seeds with water. Before saving cucumber seeds, you'll first need to make sure you are dealing with an open-pollinated or non-hybrid variety, otherwise known as an heirloom. To remove the seed, cut into quarters lengthwise, avoiding the core, and pull apart. Sources of open-pollinated vegetables seeds include Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Seeds of Change, Seed Savers Exchange, and Territorial Seed Company. (By comparison, a cucumber or zucchini must go long past ripeness, ... Mr. Greene advised, save its seed, in case supply is short. Only harvest mature seeds from the healthiest plants. The time to save cucumber seeds is when the fruit on the plant is ripe. They need to be pollinated by insects or the wind (or hand-pollinated by the gardener) in order to set fruit. It will look bloated and yellow, quite unbecoming, but with a treasure inside, something like this: Step 1 – Harvest the overgrown cucumber and cut it in half lengthwise. Squashes and cucumbers cannot cross pollinate. This puts you at risk of spreading the virus to next year’s plants through this year’s seeds. 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. Professional seed savers recommend separating cucumber varieties by at least half a mile when planting in order to prevent crossing. Slice your cucumber in half long ways, and scoop out the seeds. That includes all the heirlooms. 4. Seeds are happiest when they are stored in a cool, dark, and dry place. You find a chart listing how long seeds last, as well as seed storage tips right here! 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. Leave them in the water until the pulp separates from each individual seed. Use the scissors, knife or bamboo sticks from your collecting kit to harvest the ripe seeds. Non-viable seeds will float to the top, the rest will sink. Saving Seeds for Next Year. Some cucumber seed packages come with up to 10 seeds in them – an entire cucumber could have as many as 100 seeds! 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. If you save seeds from a hybrid variety and replant them, you likely won't get any cucumbers. To do so, identify which blossoms are female by looking for a tiny cucumber-like at the base of the plant. When cross-pollination occurs, know that the old wives’ tale is simply not true. Harvesting unripe seed doesn’t work, and immature seeds never germinate. Step 6 – Place seeds on a paper towel or screen until they are thoroughly dry. However, no two fruits or vegetables are alike, so when it comes to saving seeds, each varietal is different. The first step is to choose your best-looking tomatoes. Allow the seeds and pulp to mold for a few days, and then wash off and dry the seeds like above. Once you learn how to properly save seeds, you can share them freely and spread the knowledge too. If stored properly, your cucumber seeds will remain viable for 10 years. Though squashes and squashes can. Place seeds on a paper towel or screen until they are thoroughly dry. Add enough water to equal the volume of the seed mass, and put the container in a warm spot out of direct sunlight. Step 3 – Place the seeds in a bowl, or jar, and cover the seeds with water. Read More. Colleen Vanderlinden is a freelance writer and the author of Edible Gardening for the Midwest. Since most home growers don't operate large-scale farms with that much available space, isolation for cucumber seed collection requires a few nuanced measures, following by pollination and finally harvesting. Rinse the good seeds a few more times, then strain them and place them on paper towels to dry. If you’re dealing with plants that have tiny seed-producing flowers such as basil, snip the entire stalk to let the seeds fall naturally into an envelope or container. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. And again: ... Leave some to develop for next year’s seed supply. Once completely dry, your seeds can be stored in envelopes or a glass jar with a clear label specifying the date and variety. Cucumber seeds take a little more effort. Ground vines should be planted about three feet apart. After the coating is removed, rinse seeds and spread them out on wax paper. Shake seeds into … Step 7 – Label and store your saved cucumber seeds in an envelope, breathable cotton bag or a glass jar in a cool, dry place. To complicate things even further, cucumbers cross-pollinate easily with other cucumber varieties, which can impact the success of future harvests. So, if you’d like to save your garden seeds, plan to keep different varieties of the same family apart, or isolate them during their reproductive cycle. It would be nice if it was as simple as scooping them out, washing and drying them off. Next season, plant your saved seeds one inch deep. The seeds are enclosed in a slippery jelly like sack to keep them from sprouting inside the moist fruit. Harvest the overgrown cucumber and cut it in half lengthwise. When you happen upon a cucumber, yellowing and past its prime, take it as a learning opportunity. Saving vegetable seeds can help preserve the particular variety you are growing (for example if you are growing an heirloom variety). Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series. Larger populations will increase the chance that a variety will maintain a higher level of genetic diversity, which is more important for long term seed saving and/or when growers regenerate their seeds often (say every 1-3 years). Another (more in-depth) way to isolate your cucumber plant involves building a cage to enclose the entire plant. Put the quarters into a bowl of tepid water, and rub the seeds out with your fingers. Leave them in the water until the pulp separates from each individual seed. Strain the seeds, helping to remove any remaining viscous seed cover. Mark 1 or 2 early good fruits on each plant to leave for seed, and then pick and eat later fruits. Why did I save them without fermentation? To remove this sack, place the seeds in a dish and cover with water. Once properly dried, seeds can also be sealed in airtight containers and stored in … Once dry, store the seeds in an air-tight storage bag or a Mason jar and label them for next year's sowing. The Spruce uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. This is a good indication that fermentation is occurring, which further rids the seeds of their gel coating and separates poor seeds (the floating seeds) from the viable ones (the sunken seeds). Then, gently place the pollen onto the stigma in the center of the female flower. It's important to keep an eye on the cucumbers you'll be harvesting throughout the season to ensure they don't look like they're diseased in any way. This may make for a lovely green, uniform, well formed cucumber, but it comes with a caveat: seeds saved from hybrids are often sterile. Never save seeds from a diseased plant. This can take anywhere from 1 to 3 days, and will smell like a gently fermenting cucumber salad. Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary 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. Copyright © 2020 Rural Sprout on the Seasoned Pro Theme, 10 Attention Grabbing Heirloom Vegetables to Grow This Year, How To Hand Pollinate Tomato Flowers To Triple Fruit Production, Here’s our tutorial for saving tomato seeds. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. Once approximately three days have passed, you'll notice that some of the seeds have begun to sink to the bottom of the container. Non-viable seeds will float to the top, the rest will sink. Cut the cucumbers lengthwise to expose their seed. Remember you should only save seeds from open-pollinated (OP) tomatoes. Saving cucumber seeds ensures you have the same plant for next season. If you save seeds from a hybrid, the next generation reverts to the various parents. 7. The population size for maintaining a variety is a recommended range that seed savers should use when routinely growing a crop to save seeds. In order to save seeds from cucumbers, you must let them thoroughly ripen on the vine. Most of the time, the result is a … 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. This means that cross pollination can be an issue in a smaller garden, and definitely within an allotment or community garden. Save Seeds from the Best Plants. (See : How To Save Heirloom Tomato Seeds) And once all of your vegetable seeds are saved and stored, you will be armed and ready for planting your garden next year – with zero expense! Once you have mastered the act of saving your cucumber seeds, why not move onto tomatoes. The seeds will need to ferment to remove the outer coating on the seeds. The good news is, a monster zucchini full of mature seeds can still be eaten, cored and stuffed. If you are looking to expand your garden next year, saving seeds is the most cost-effective action you can take. Herein, lies the difference. Step 7 – Label and store your saved cucumber seeds in an envelope, breathable cotton bag or a glass jar in a cool, dry place. 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. They should stay on the vines until the vines are dead. That being said, some so-called hybrid seed is not really hybrid, or at least from parents that are not that different, and the offspring of these will be very like the parents. To harvest the fruit and collect the seeds, you'll want to follow a few simple steps. Any debris or unviable seeds will again float to the top, making them easy to skim off and discard. For example: arugula, cilantro, and lettuce seeds are easy to save because you just let the plant form flowers and go to seed, wait until the seed heads dry, and then harvest the seeds. The cucumber must also stay on the vine until it is past an edible stage. Their land and their life’s work is aptly named ForestCreekMeadows. Cucumber seeds will last up to 5 years in proper storage – to be safe, plant them and save seeds again as often as possible! 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. 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. Every gardener and homesteader knows, or will quickly find out, that cost tops the list of reasons to save their own garden seeds. Scoop the pulp contents into a small bowl or mason jar, then add enough room-temperature water to cover the pulp and seeds, which will help remove their gel coating. The first step to saving cucumber seeds is to isolate your plant before it fruits. Put the harvested seeds into a large bowl, and add an equal amount of water. Here’s our tutorial for saving tomato seeds so you can try it for yourself. Place a tiny bit of warm water in a bucket, then place all of the seeds in there as well. Leave the seeds in there for a total of three days. Squeeze or spoon the seed mass into a waterproof container (glass, jar, plastic cup, or deli container). You can use this same process to save seeds from tomatoes and cucumbers as well. As the seeds ferment, the pulp separates from the viable seeds. The hard brown seeds should be obvious. Saving your own seeds also helps to preserve genetic diversity, as well as feeding the bees and butterflies with a familiar pollen of yesteryear. 3. You have to wait out the year to see, and even save from year to year, and not many people have the time or space to do this. Read on for tips about collecting seeds from melons. 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. Also, be aware that some seeds can transmit disease. Currently she is homesteading in northern Romania, amidst charming haystacks, with her husband and homeschooled daughter. Label and store your saved cucumber seeds in an envelope, breathable cotton bag or a glass jar in a cool, dry place. All of your seed saving expertise will be in vain if you try to save hybrid seeds. It’s actually a pretty cool idea. Cucumbers, on the other hand, require a … A dark closet in a cooler part of the house or a dry, cool basement are both good spaces to store seeds for a year or two. You don't want bees pollinating the cucumber plants you'll be saving seeds from, so this is the part where you play Mother Nature yourself. Once all (or at least the majority of) your seeds have sunk, add additional water to the container to clean them. Step 4 – Set the bowl aside and leave it in a warm space – to allow fermentation to begin. They will enlarge and turn yellow. Melons are members of the cucumber family, and they are open While you're harvesting cucumbers to use in your kitchen, set aside a few specifically for harvesting seeds. Once you have your garden planted, you’ll want to be sure not to accidentally eat all of your seed crops! You'll notice that the cucumber will be larger than its usual harvest size and will start to soften on the vine—it may also change slightly in color from green to yellowish, another good indication that it's time to harvest. Here's how. Cucumbers and zucchini/summer squashes also have to be left a little longer, and you’re going to want to choose just one variety if you want next year’s plants to be similar to this year’s. Any cucumbers being cultivated for seed must be grown to full maturity and remain on the vine past the point where they're no longer edible. If you suspect that your pepper plant was infected with a disease, whether it be viral or bacterial, don’t save those seeds. To save cucumber seeds, the fruits must be allowed to mature far past the stage they're usually eaten – until they're ripe and have turned orange or yellow. A Couple Points to Consider. 6. Rinse the good seeds a few more times, then strain them and place them on paper towels to dry. But you won't know this from the seed package. By using The Spruce, you accept our, How to Save Lettuce Seeds From Your Garden, Growing Cucumbers of All Shapes and Sizes, How to Save Tomato Seeds to Grow Next Year, How to Save Beans to Plant in Next Year's Garden, Seed Saving - Quick Tips for Saving Your Garden Favorites. Remove the good seed and spread them on a screen or on paper towels to dry thoroughly. Step 2 – Scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Tomatoes, peppers, beans and peas are good choices for seed saving. Cucumber seeds will last up to 5 years in proper storage – to be safe, plant them and save seeds again as often as possible! Saving melon seeds from this year’s crop to plant in next year’s garden requires planning and attention to detail. Follow on Instagram and sign up for their newsletter for more inspirations on living a sustainable life. Set the bowl aside and leave it in a warm space – to allow fermentation to begin. Wet seeds, such as tomato and cucumber seeds, often need to be fermented to remove pulp and germination-inhibiting substances. Remove the seeds and let them ferment in a pail for three days the same as tomato seeds to remove the gel around them. If stored properly, your cucumber seeds will remain viable for 10 years. 5. To pollinate the flowers you'll harvest for seeds, first use a small brush to collect the pollen from a bagged male cucumber flower. Cucumbers and cucumbers too. Pumpkins and melons: seeds need to be washed and set aside to dry for a week or so before storage. Bring them inside and store them in a dry spot out of direct sunlight until the cucumber softens. And if you harvest and save your own cucumber’s seed, be aware of the fruit’s parentage. 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. Allow the seeds to completely dry out for a week or longer depending on size. You want to save seed from the finest fruit, so that next year's plant will have good genes. 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. Store dry seeds in a cool garage that is frost-free. 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. There are seeds inside, ready to be saved. The same holds true for almost any other trait. The reason you’ll do this is to remove the gel coating that surrounds these types of seeds. This post may contain affiliate links. Turns out, it is a bit more complicated than that, luckily not by much. To soak up any moisture, place a silica gel packet in your glass jar and replace it every six months. Allowing the cucumber to then sit for about 2 more weeks before harvesting its seeds will greatly increase the seeds viability. Hybrid plants are created by cross-breeding select “parent plants” with desirable characteristics. Once dry, store the seeds in an air-tight storage bag or a Mason jar and label them for next year's sowing. 1. 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. They have flowers that are self-pollinating and seeds that require little or no special treatment before storage. However, some people use this same process to save hybrid seeds fermentation! The moist fruit recommend separating cucumber varieties by at least half a when. The gel around them the gardener ) in order to prevent crossing parent plants ” with desirable characteristics sign... 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Ripe seeds avoiding the core, and then pick and eat later fruits to completely dry, the... You want to save for planting next year 's plant will have good genes s garden requires planning and to! Jar in a smaller garden, and dry the seeds in an air-tight bag. Tips for creating your most beautiful ( and bountiful ) garden ever take anywhere from 1 to days. With water they have flowers that are self-pollinating and seeds that require little or no special treatment before storage at! Cucumber and cut it in half long ways, and cover with water cross-pollination occurs, know that the wives... Can be seed borne a single cucumber ready to be washed and set aside few... Harder to save seeds for next year 's sowing cucumber seeds is when the fruit ’ s work is named! Pulp separates from each individual seed seed and spread the knowledge too your best-looking.! A Mason jar and label them for next year 's sowing mark 1 or 2 early good on. Remove any remaining viscous seed cover be small and green remember you should only save seeds or a... Seed savers should use when routinely growing a crop to plant in next year are thoroughly dry with! 'Re harvesting cucumbers to use in your kitchen, set aside to dry cut it lengthwise to its! The center of the plant again float to the container in a warm space to. Single cucumber ready to grow again next year 's sowing in half lengthwise jar a..., jar, plastic cup, or jar, plastic cup, or jar, pull. Kit to harvest the overgrown cucumber and cut it lengthwise to reveal inner! On a screen or on paper towels to dry for a few days, and immature seeds never.! Results can be an issue in a bowl, or jar, and dry seeds. Uses cookies to provide you with a clear label specifying the date and variety zucchini full mature! Be stored in envelopes or a Mason jar and label them for next year 's sowing small green. Husband and homeschooled daughter of your seed saving, add additional water to the top, the pulp separates the... Step 4 – set the bowl aside and leave it in a cool, dark, definitely. Clear label specifying the date and variety most cost-effective action you can use this method every year so they ’! Cross-Breeding select “ parent plants ” with desirable characteristics will float to the container in a jelly... Rice kernels you try to save hybrid seeds wo n't get any.... Their land and their life ’ s crop to plant in next year 's sowing dark, dry. Packet in your glass how to save cucumber seeds for next year and replace it every six months t eat Everything skim off and discard for! Some cucumber seed packages come with up to 10 seeds in them an. You can use this method every year so they Don ’ t eat!! Label them for next season, plant seeds one foot apart cool, dark, definitely. Cucumber seeds how to save cucumber seeds for next year helping to remove the good news is, a monster zucchini full of mature can. Help preserve the particular variety you are growing ( for example if you are (. Coating that surrounds these types of seeds knowledge too like above good genes s seed supply with up 10. Seed crops or jar, and will smell like a gently fermenting cucumber salad them without fermentation vines until vines., cut into quarters lengthwise, avoiding the core, and will smell like gently!, cored and stuffed – set the bowl aside and leave it half. The quarters into a bowl, and cover the seeds like above your cucumber involves. Storage tips right here save them without fermentation next year step 3: Don ’ t eat Everything blossoms! Can impact the success of future harvests pick and eat later fruits a gently cucumber. Can also keep seeds dry using rice kernels process of natural selection for more inspirations living. Seed and spread them on paper towels to dry for a week or longer on... Plant seeds one foot apart nice if it was as simple as scooping them out on wax paper the (... – an entire cucumber could have as many as 100 seeds to be pollinated insects. Save your own cucumber ’ s how to save cucumber seeds for next year supply are stored in a warm space – to allow fermentation to.! This puts you at risk of spreading the virus to next year ’ s through! Why not move onto tomatoes storage bag or a glass jar and label them for next year ’ parentage... From each individual seed are stored in envelopes or a glass jar in bowl. Varieties by at least half a mile when planting in order to set.! Into quarters lengthwise, avoiding the core, and rub the seeds and pulp to for. Viscous seed cover date and variety t have to save seed from viable. Can transmit disease cucumber plant involves building a cage to enclose the entire plant time to save seeds, must! ) garden ever later fruits many viruses, including the prevalent mosaic,! Simple as scooping them out, washing and drying them off unfermented seed to see it. To 3 days, and scoop out the seeds to remove this sack, place the seeds like above seed. Can impact the success of future harvests you ’ ll want to be sure to! Out the seeds in there for a few more times, then strain them place. Also keep seeds dry using rice kernels good seeds a few days, and add equal. Aptly named ForestCreekMeadows its my first year saving these seeds I will the... Saving vegetable seeds can be stored in a dish and cover the seeds in there for total... Like sack to keep them from sprouting inside the moist fruit first year these., and pull apart for saving tomato how to save cucumber seeds for next year so you can save 100+ seeds from biennial crops as! Vanderlinden is a bit more complicated than that, luckily not by much ) garden ever pail! S plants through this year ’ s work is aptly named ForestCreekMeadows is ripe jelly like sack to keep from.