Saving seeds is a great way to spend less in the garden from year to year. Not all seeds are harvested and saved the same way, so make sure to look up the right method for your particular plant.
When saving seeds from cucumbers, you want to pick from the best of your crop. If your cucumbers were bitter this year, it is not recommended to save the seeds from them.
To get started, allow your cucumber to grow large and begin to soften on the vine. The color should change from green to either a pale white or a deep yellow or orange, depending on the variety.
Once your cucumber is fully ripened in this way, you may harvest it by cutting it from the vine. Allowing the cucumber to then sit for about 2 more weeks before harvesting its seeds will greatly increase the seeds viability.
Slice your cucumber in half long ways, and scoop out the seeds. Put the harvested seeds into a large bowl, and add an equal amount of water. The seeds will need to ferment to remove the outer coating on the seeds. Place the bowl somewhere out of direct sunlight for 1-3 days.
You may notice a foul odor coming from the soaking seeds, and mold may even grow on the top of the water. This is normal. Stir the seeds twice a day. You’ll know your seeds are ready when most of the seeds have sunk to the bottom of the bowl, and you can see their clear casings floating on top of the water.
Next, you will need to stir the seeds while adding enough water to fill the bowl. The clean seeds will settle to the bottom again, and the hollow seeds and debris will float. Scoop off whatever floats. Add more water and repeat this process until only clean seeds remain.
Pour through a strainer to remove as much water as possible. Dabbing the bottom side of the strainer with a towel will help remove any moisture.
Spread the seeds out onto a non-stick surface to dry. If you put them on a paper towel, the seeds will stick to it. If this happens, it’s okay if some paper remains stuck to the seed as it will decompose once planted in soil. It’s best to avoid the hassle of this if possible though.
Cucumber seeds will stay good for up to 10 years when stored properly. Keep your seeds dry, and away from humidity, moisture, and direct sunlight. I’ve found that storing seeds in either a glass jar or an envelope works well.
What’s your favorite type of cucumber to grow? Will you be saving seeds this year?