Saving melon seeds from this year’s crop to plant in next year’s garden requires planning and attention to detail. If you save seeds from a hybrid variety and replant them, you likely won't get any cucumbers. To pollinate the flowers you'll harvest for seeds, first use a small brush to collect the pollen from a bagged male cucumber flower. 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). 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. Saving vegetable seeds can help preserve the particular variety you are growing (for example if you are growing an heirloom variety). Then, gently place the pollen onto the stigma in the center of the female flower. Allowing the cucumber to then sit for about 2 more weeks before harvesting its seeds will greatly increase the seeds viability. Collecting Seeds from Melons. Step 6 – Place seeds on a paper towel or screen until they are thoroughly dry. Once a day, stir the mixture thoroughly. Here’s our tutorial for saving tomato seeds so you can try it for yourself. Melons are members of the cucumber family, and they are open Put the harvested seeds into a large bowl, and add an equal amount of water. Pumpkins and melons: seeds need to be washed and set aside to dry for a week or so before storage. They are considered wet seeds. 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. The first step to saving cucumber seeds is to isolate your plant before it fruits. Place the seeds in a bowl, or jar, and cover the seeds with water. Cucumber seeds take a little more effort. 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. And again: ... Leave some to develop for next year’s seed supply. Harvesting unripe seed doesn’t work, and immature seeds never germinate. 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. If you suspect that your pepper plant was infected with a disease, whether it be viral or bacterial, don’t save those seeds. 6. Read More. This can take anywhere from 1 to 3 days, and will smell like a gently fermenting cucumber salad. 4. To save seed is to participate in the process of natural selection. This post may contain affiliate links. Another (more in-depth) way to isolate your cucumber plant involves building a cage to enclose the entire plant. Step 7 – Label and store your saved cucumber seeds in an envelope, breathable cotton bag or a glass jar in a cool, dry place. 7. Store dry seeds in a cool garage that is frost-free. The Spruce uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. If you only knew how! To soak up any moisture, place a silica gel packet in your glass jar and replace it every six months. 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. While you're harvesting cucumbers to use in your kitchen, set aside a few specifically for harvesting seeds. You want to save seed from the finest fruit, so that next year's plant will have good genes. Non-viable seeds will float to the top, the rest will sink. Cucumber seeds will last up to 5 years in proper storage – to be safe, plant them and save seeds again as often as possible! Non-viable seeds will float to the top, the rest will sink. 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. 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. Their land and their life’s work is aptly named ForestCreekMeadows. To complicate things even further, cucumbers cross-pollinate easily with other cucumber varieties, which can impact the success of future harvests. You can also keep seeds dry using rice kernels. However, no two fruits or vegetables are alike, so when it comes to saving seeds, each varietal is different. It is extremely rewarding to plant them year after year, with the same delicious results. Slice your cucumber in half long ways, and scoop out the seeds. 5. Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary Add enough water to equal the volume of the seed mass, and put the container in a warm spot out of direct sunlight. Squeeze or spoon the seed mass into a waterproof container (glass, jar, plastic cup, or deli container). Label and store your saved cucumber seeds in an envelope, breathable cotton bag or a glass jar in a cool, dry place. 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. Save Seeds from the Best Plants. Saving cucumber seeds ensures you have the same plant for next season. However, some people use this method every year so they don’t have to save seeds or plant a garden. 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. 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. If you save seeds from a hybrid, the next generation reverts to the various parents. Seeds from biennial crops such as carrots or beets are harder to save since the plants need two growing seasons to set seed. If you are looking to expand your garden next year, saving seeds is the most cost-effective action you can take. For successful seed saving, you must assure seed purity. 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. You can save 100+ seeds from a single cucumber ready to grow again next year. Place a tiny bit of warm water in a bucket, then place all of the seeds in there as well. Once all (or at least the majority of) your seeds have sunk, add additional water to the container to clean them. (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! Rinse the good seeds a few more times, then strain them and place them on paper towels to dry. 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. Saving seed from one year to plant the next is an age-old tradition. 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). Bring it inside, then cut it lengthwise to reveal its inner seeds. And if you harvest and save your own cucumber’s seed, be aware of the fruit’s parentage. Currently she is homesteading in northern Romania, amidst charming haystacks, with her husband and homeschooled daughter. 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. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series. The population size for maintaining a variety is a recommended range that seed savers should use when routinely growing a crop to save seeds. Once the fruit is done, melon and watermelon seeds simply need to be washed, dried and stored for next year. Once you have mastered the act of saving your cucumber seeds, why not move onto tomatoes. Though squashes and squashes can. Professional seed savers recommend separating cucumber varieties by at least half a mile when planting in order to prevent crossing. Mark 1 or 2 early good fruits on each plant to leave for seed, and then pick and eat later fruits. The good news is, a monster zucchini full of mature seeds can still be eaten, cored and stuffed. Many viruses, including the prevalent mosaic virus, can be seed borne. 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. Take cucumbers, for example. Set the bowl aside and leave it in a warm space – to allow fermentation to begin. Once properly dried, seeds can also be sealed in airtight containers and stored in … They should stay on the vines until the vines are dead. It’s actually a pretty cool idea. Once approximately three days have passed, you'll notice that some of the seeds have begun to sink to the bottom of the container. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. Cucumbers, on the other hand, require a … Follow on Instagram and sign up for their newsletter for more inspirations on living a sustainable life. After the coating is removed, rinse seeds and spread them out on wax paper. 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. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Stir the mixture daily. All of your seed saving expertise will be in vain if you try to save hybrid seeds. 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. Squashes and cucumbers cannot cross pollinate. Some seeds are easier to save than others. Place seeds on a paper towel or screen until they are thoroughly dry. This can take anywhere from 1 to 3 days, and will smell like a gently fermenting cucumber salad. Step 5 – Strain the seeds, helping to remove any remaining viscous seed cover. Tomatoes, peppers, beans and peas are good choices for seed saving. Some cucumber seed packages come with up to 10 seeds in them – an entire cucumber could have as many as 100 seeds! The first step is to choose your best-looking tomatoes. 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. That includes all the heirlooms. It may sound like extra work but the results can be extremely rewarding and save you money in the process. The cucumber must also stay on the vine until it is past an edible stage. 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. 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. You can use this same process to save seeds from tomatoes and cucumbers as well. Allow the seeds to completely dry out for a week or longer depending on size. Once you have your garden planted, you’ll want to be sure not to accidentally eat all of your seed crops! Never save seeds from a diseased plant. It would be nice if it was as simple as scooping them out, washing and drying them off. They will enlarge and turn yellow. But you won't know this from the seed package. Cucumbers and cucumbers too. Hybrid plants are created by cross-breeding select “parent plants” with desirable characteristics. Remember you should only save seeds from open-pollinated (OP) tomatoes. 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. Bring them inside and store them in a dry spot out of direct sunlight until the cucumber softens. A Couple Points to Consider. Once you learn how to properly save seeds, you can share them freely and spread the knowledge too. Step 4 – Set the bowl aside and leave it in a warm space – to allow fermentation to begin. Any debris or unviable seeds will again float to the top, making them easy to skim off and discard. Here's how. 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. Harvest the overgrown cucumber and cut it in half lengthwise. Wet seeds, such as tomato and cucumber seeds, often need to be fermented to remove pulp and germination-inhibiting substances. 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. Why did I save them without fermentation? Leave the seeds in there for a total of three days. 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. 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. Leave them in the water until the pulp separates from each individual seed. Allow the seeds and pulp to mold for a few days, and then wash off and dry the seeds like above. The same holds true for almost any other trait. Shake seeds into … 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. 3. Leave them in the water until the pulp separates from each individual seed. When you happen upon a cucumber, yellowing and past its prime, take it as a learning opportunity. Once completely dry, your seeds can be stored in envelopes or a glass jar with a clear label specifying the date and variety. Stir the contents at least once a day. 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. When cross-pollination occurs, know that the old wives’ tale is simply not true. 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. First, pick the cucumber from the vine using either your hand or a pair of gardening sheers if the vine is too thick. The seeds will need to ferment to remove the outer coating on the seeds. 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. How to Save Seeds for Next Year Step 3: Don’t Eat Everything! (By comparison, a cucumber or zucchini must go long past ripeness, ... Mr. Greene advised, save its seed, in case supply is short. This puts you at risk of spreading the virus to next year’s plants through this year’s seeds. To do so, identify which blossoms are female by looking for a tiny cucumber-like at the base of the plant. 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. 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