How to save cucumber seeds?

Asked September 13, 2019, 7:39 PM EDT

I attempted to save cucumber seeds last year. Basically used same procedure I used successfully with tomatoes. Last Spring the cuke seeds failed to germinate. I have read many versions of saving cuke seeds. Let them turn yellow on the vine well past ripeness. Let them age an additional two weeks in cool dark place! Can you recommend a proven procedure? This particular cucumber yielded a great crop this year and did not have any of the local cucumber diseases in our community garden. It took a while longer to start bearing but after that it was great.

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

Hi- if the desirable cultivar is open-pollinated it is possible to save the seeds and have them "come true" next year. Seed saved from hybrid cultivars will not come true.

Saving seed in a community garden presents challenges because many people are growing the same crops at roughly the same time so that cross-pollination between cultivars of the same species (or even different species in the case of peppers) will occur with some frequency. Bees and other insects will move pollen between male and female flowers from different cultivars.

Bagging and hand-pollinating flowers is the only practical way of saving your cucumber seed in a community garden:

You can test saved and stored seed by spreading 20 seeds out on a moist paper towel. Roll it up and insert into a perforated plastic bag. Count germinated seed after 5-7 days. Germination should be >50%