The Shed

The Shed
The Shed

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

OLD YELLER PART III - SAVING CUCUMBER SEEDS IS EASY!!

When last we saw our cucumber seeds they were merrily fermenting in an old crock pot.* So advanced was the mushification process when we finally removed the seeds from the cucumber that it took barely 60 hours for the seeds to separate from their "matrix" and sink to the bottom of the pot.

SEPARATION BY FERMENTATION

When the seeds are all on the bottom of the fermentation container, it is time to remove them for drying. First scoop off the glop on the top of the container.

RINSING OFF THE REMAINING GLOP

Then place them in a kitchen strainer, just as this seed saver has done, and rinse thoroughly. It takes but a short time to clear the seeds of all remaining mush. We prefer to do this outdoors with a hose but there is no real reason you cannot do it indoors in a sink if you prefer.

ALMOST ANY CONTAINER CAN BE USED FOR DRYING
Seeds can be dried on almost anything, paper or china plates, cookie tins, or as this person is doing with a cut out bottom from a plastic carton. (We generally avoid plastic, but that's just us.)

We like maximum air circulation and so we opt for fine mesh window screens elevated a bit so air circulates freely from all directions.  A single layer of seeds is always best and it is good to very gently move the seeds a few times during the early drying process to be sure that they are not adhering to one another or to the screen.

THESE APPEAR TO BE PUMPKIN SEEDS BUT THE PRINCIPLE IS THE SAME. 

This seems to be a purpose built drying screen and the seeds are from some variety of winter squash but the idea is the same. Air flow + single layer of seeds = a well saved supply for next years garden. 

Always allow two and better, three weeks for complete drying before placing them in the envelope or jar or whatever you prefer to store seeds in. Always mark that envelope, by the way. You may think you will remember what is inside, or what year it is from but errors can always happen. A moment with a pen is well spent.

That's it for Old Yeller, the overripe cuke. We'll not hear from him again until next spring, when we start a few pots inside for early garden transfer and later on when we direct seed a few more. And of course we will tell you all about the process in posts here at the shed.

Thank you for stopping!

OLD YELLER, HIS LEGEND LIVES ON 

PS: Resist the temptation to expose the seeds to a broiler, microwave, hair dryer, Congress or any other artificial source of hot air. Far safer to allow them to dry at room temperature, out of direct light.

*Q: WHAT IS AUNT AGNES GROWING IN THE OLD (UPPER) GARDEN WHERE SHE THINKS NO ONE EVER GOES?

A. OLD CROCK POT, OF COURSE. 

2 comments:

Glory Lennon said...

Great tips, Mister.

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Perfect, Mac. This is a foolproof process, I know it works because we've been there, done that--with excellent results.
Baking pumpkin seeds lightly sprinkled with salt makes a fine snack, but no, they won't grow.
Don't forget tomato seeds, squash, pumpkin, tomatillo, beans, and others!