We commend you for growing cucumbers yourself, among other things, and in this way strive for a healthy organic harvest. And even if it will take a little time until the first harvest, there is no harm in thinking now about the coming season. Indeed, you can obtain your own cucumber seeds, using for this purpose the fruits from your cultivation. We will explain how to do this and why it is advantageous.
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How to obtain seeds from your harvested fruits?
Each fruit contains genetic material, which it transmits through the seeds to the new plants, and thus to the coming fruits. So, of course, it makes sense to weed out poorer quality cucumbers and take the seeds of the particularly good ones instead. Ideally, then, these come from cucumber fruits that are large and well developed. If you have noticed such on the plants, do not rush the harvest.
What varieties of cucumbers are suitable?
Choose only so-called seed-resistant varieties of cucumbers when you buy the first cucumber seeds, because they have the ability to pass on their properties, that is, genes. In the market there are many hybrid varieties that are not able to do this (if they form seeds at all). Over time, they change their properties because their genetics are unstable. This not only makes them much more susceptible to disease and pest infestation, but also changes their flavor until they are inedible. This, by the way, includes most supermarket cucumbers.
If you want to get your own cucumber seeds every year, it is also advisable to always rely on one and the same variety, rather than combining several in the bed. Because in this way, hybrids with the same characteristics as the purchased ones are created naturally. So, well suited are those with the words “seed resistant” on the package and these include:
- Apple cucumber
- Armenian cucumber
- Field cucumber ‘Marketmore 76
- Russian brown net cucumber
- Salad cucumber
- Snake cucumber ‘Moneta
- Snake cucumber ‘Gergana
When to harvest cucumbers in the garden intended for seed?
Leave them on the cucumber plant until they are fully ripe. This is not the same as eating ripeness, when the fruit is still crisp green. It reaches seed ripeness when the skin turns yellow but is still hard. It is now no longer suitable for eating. Once you have harvested the yellowish cucumber, it needs to ripen a little more. To do this, place it in a dry place (preferably indoors) for 2 to 3 weeks to avoid rotting.
How to harvest cucumber seeds step by step
- If you want to extract the cucumber seeds, cut the skin of the fruit only slightly and carefully, instead of cutting it completely. This will prevent you from injuring the seeds.
- Then break the two halves of the cucumber apart (as you would with peaches, for example).
- Use a spoon to scrape out the cucumber seeds.
- You must now remove the jelly-like mass that is around the seeds. This has a germination inhibiting effect and is superfluous for your needs. For this purpose, fill a glass with warm water, put the seeds in it and let them rest in it for 24 to 48 hours. In this process, a fermentation process takes place, which dissolves the jelly mass. Important: As soon as this germination protection has dissolved from the seeds (which can take different lengths of time), the germination process also begins, for which the warm water provides the ideal conditions. So check the seeds regularly to see if the germination protection has already come off, because once germination begins, the seeds are no longer suitable for storage.
- Anything that floats to the top after the elapsed time can be discarded.
- Remove the remaining cucumber seeds, rinse through a sieve with clean water and dry quickly with the help of kitchen paper and then in the sun.
Proper storage is essential!
Now store them in a dark place, which is also dry and cool. You prevent moisture among other things with the help of the right container. Paper bags or envelopes that can absorb moisture are suitable, but also jars with lids lined with kitchen paper. As long as you ensure sufficient dryness, the seeds may even be stored in the refrigerator or frozen. This way it can be stored for a long time (up to 10 years).
Obtain cucumber seeds yourself – These are the advantages.
You will benefit from several advantages when you gain your own cucumber seeds. First, of course, this way you save money and for years to come, because you can collect seeds anew every season. But even better, this way you always know exactly that your vegetables have not been chemically treated and you ensure yourself organic quality cucumbers. You yourself have control over the means used to control pests or diseases.
The only drawback is that if you want to grow cucumbers and get seeds from them, you should abandon diversity of varieties in the garden, preferring instead to focus on one. The reason for this, as already mentioned, is that the properties of each variety are mixed by pollination and other factors, and the taste may change in the coming year.