With food shortages because of the coronavirus pandemic I finally started a garden this year and found it was very hard to find any cucumber seeds. I tried planting cucumber seeds from store bought cucumbers but they didn’t grow. I finally bought Persian cucumber seeds I found online online and they grew quickly so I want to grow the same cucumber plants next year so can I grow new plants with the seeds from the cucumbers I just grew?
To grow new cucumber plants from seeds from your own garden-grown cucumbers, the seeds have to be mature. To make sure your cucumber seeds have reached maturity just let the cucumber you want to take the seeds from grow larger and turn yellow. After it fully ripens the seeds will be mature.
Then, scoop out the seeds, rinse them thoroughly in a colander or let them sit in a bowl of water for a few days until they ‘ferment’, to remove all the gel around the seeds. Then dry the seeds for 2-3 weeks or until the seeds snap when bent in half.
Your new cucumber seeds are ready to grow, or you can store them for a few years. One note – if the cucumber plant you are harvesting the seeds from is a hybrid (cross-bred) plant, it is probably sterile and therefore not suitable for harvesting seeds or you might get some unexpected results from the cucumbers that do grow.
It’s difficult to grow new cucumber plants from seeds extracted from store bought cucumbers because those seeds weren’t allowed to mature, and store bought cukes are almost always a hybrid and/or sterile variety. Farmers harvest cucumbers before the seeds reach full maturity and harden, usually when they are 6-8 inches long, which makes them more crisp and fresh for customers.
You can easily tell the difference between seeds from store bought cucumbers and garden grown cucumber seeds. The fully ripened garden cucumbers seeds are hardened and fully shaped, while the seeds from immature store bought cucumbers are more translucent and thin. Cucumbers that are sold as “seedless” are just cucumbers that are harvested prior to maturation.