Saving Cucumber Seed.

Amino_X(z7b AR)August 23, 2006


I'm planning to save some seed this year from my Boston Pickler Cucumbers but don't know how to ferment the seed. I've tried Googling and found a number of conflicting ways which did little more than confuse me.

I also live in an apartment complex so I need a method that minimizes the smell.

Any suggestions will be most welcome. :)

Best Wishes


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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Amino-x, I ferment cucumbers almost exactly the same way as tomato seed, for the same reason. You need to destroy the gel sack that surrounds the seed, with its growth inhibitors.

Allow your ripe cucumbers to cure for several weeks; this improves seed vigor. Cut the cukes lengthwise & scoop out the seeds, keeping any juice with the seeds. Then add water if necessary, enough to cover the seeds (not to exceed the volume of the seeds & pulp). If you have enough juice, water may be unnecessary.

Ferment the mixture as you would tomatoes, 1-3 days. Sorry, it will probably smell... but if the weather is still warm enough (above 70 degrees) you should be able to ferment them outside, perhaps in a garage, patio, or garbage area. Or hidden in a covered grill?

Stir a couple times a day, and examine the seeds; when the gel sacks are gone, the seeds are done. Most of the good seeds should be at the bottom of the container at this point.

Immediately pour the mixture into a tall container, add water, and stir to break up any debris still clinging to the seeds. Slowly pour off most of the water, with the pulp & bad seeds (you should see a lot of empty gel sacks). Refill & repeat until seeds are clean; then pour through a strainer. Wick off excess moisture by setting the strainer on a towel for several minutes, then pour the seeds out onto a plate or tray to dry, preferably under a fan. Stir the seeds frequently, especially for the first day.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 1:08AM
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Amino_X(z7b AR)

Thanks Zeed :)

You say let the ripe cucumber cure for several weeks. What do you mean by several? Two? Three? I'm sorry for being so dense. :)

And do you just leave it sitting out on the counter? or do you need to put it in something like a mason jar to cure? (to catch any juice that might ooze out while it's curing).

Best Wishes

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 1:24AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Ripe cucumbers should easily be able to store at room temperature for a month or more without rotting. Just be sure to clean them thoroughly, and cull the cukes for any that are damaged or diseased.

The cukes are still alive, and need to breathe; if placed on a hard surface, they may rot at the point of contact (same goes for squash). I place mine in a single layer on cardboard, several layers of newspaper, or a towel.

As for how long to cure... Suzanne Ashworth in "Seed to Seed" recommends two weeks. I generally go longer than that, perhaps 3 or 4; there is generally more juice within the cuke then, so less water is needed for the fermentation process.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 1:58AM
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Amino_X(z7b AR)

Cool, thanks Zeed :) I'll sure give that a try :)

Best Wishes

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 12:05AM
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Amino_X(z7b AR)

Okay, new question, how long am I supposed to leave the cucumber on the vine before picking it?

I'm kinda worried about it falling off as it's growing at about the 6 foot level (so I had to look up to take it's picture). It's already turned "Basketball" orange and is headed towards "Pumpkin" orange. I have another that looks just like this one and three more that are slightly smaller in length.

They're all Boston Pickler variety and there are no other varieties nearby.

Best Wishes

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 8:25AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

I've just been leaving mine outside for several weeks already in the mature coloration like the photo. Do they still need to age indoors too? I have quite a few cukes ripening for seed.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 3:47PM
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I have a couple ripening for seed. After about 1.5 weeks, one is starting to go moldy. Do I cut it open now or leave it for the full two weeks?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 5:59AM
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"Okay, new question, how long am I supposed to leave the cucumber on the vine before picking it?",

I would pick them once the get oversize and turn a orange, which is usually 3 -5 weeks after normal picking stage. Then take off the vine to age indoors for 2-5 weeks.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 12:04PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Because cuke seeds are treated like tomato seeds, check out the link at on another way to get tomato seeds. It doesn't use fermenting and thus takes the guesswork out.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 12:31PM
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