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How To Save Cucumber Seeds

It is that time of the year now that gardeners ought to start saving seeds for next years garden. Saving seeds obviously saves you money, since you won't need to buy them again next year. But there are a couple of other good reasons to save your seeds. First, it is better for the environment. Anything that needs to be packaged and sent to you will add an ecological burden. Even if that burden is small, why not avoid it when possible? Second, you can choose seeds from plants that grew well in your garden. Growing conditions vary from yard to yard and choosing seeds that grow well in your particular yard makes sense. Some seeds can be just scooped out and dried on waxed paper; others do better with a fermentation process. Cucumbers fall in the latter category.

You certainly can just scrape out the seeds and dry them as is. But cucumber seeds are prone to diseases when saved in that manner. Fermentation preserves them much better. Choose your seeds from your best cucumber, preferably one that matured quickly and was on a strong plant. The cucumber needs to be very ripe, allow the one you are saving seeds from the ripen to a deep yellow or orange color. It will be very bitter at this point, so you will only want to use it for the seeds. Fill a one quart mason jar halfway with filtered water. Chlorine will kill the seeds, so it is important that the water be filtered. Scoop the seeds into the jar. Put the lid on and shake. Put the jar into a dark cabinet for seven days, shaking once a day. By the end of the seven days, the good seeds will have fallen to the bottom of the jar. All the undesirable seeds and cucumber parts will be at the top. Pour off the top and then put the good seeds into a fine mesh strainer. Rinse well with filtered water. Let dry on the strainer for one day. Transfer to a piece of waxed paper and spread the seeds out so that they are not touching each other. Let dry for seven days then put into a paper envelope until you are ready to plant them in the spring.

I will warn you that the fermented cucumber seeds smell quite bad. I'm not sure why; this doesn't happen with tomato seeds. I allow the drying process to take place in my garage so I won't smell them. Once they are dry, the smell goes away.

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Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.