Two days later and I was ready to drain off the top half of the water, along with any floating and therefore bad seeds. Looking at the jar, there seemed to be an awful lot of debris floating just under the lid but I was relieved to see that a fair amount of seeds had sunk to the bottom. I refilled the jar with water and then put it back on the side for another couple of days.
I repeated the draining and refilling once more and I have to say that I was quite surprised by just how many seeds weren’t viable. I was beginning to think that I wouldn’t have any good seeds at all and was starting to look seriously at my remaining cucumbers, trying to decide which one would make a good replacement in terms of seeds for next year.
Today was ‘D’ day for the jar of seeds and it was with some trepidation that I reached for the jar, one last time. To my utter relief, only two more seeds were floating and a healthy 20 were sitting on the bottom of the jar, waiting to be dried. I drained the top half off first, obviously, and then strained the remainder of the water through a sieve to get at the good seeds. These were then tipped on to a piece of paper for a couple of hours to allow any remaining water to dissipate, before I popped them carefully, one by one, onto a spare plant pot saucer.
The seeds will now be allowed to dry out fully in readiness for storage over winter.
I have grown cucumbers for a few years now and have always thought that, considering how many seeds are in your average cucumber and the relatively small number of seeds to be found in a packet of cucumber seeds, the price paid for a packet was quite hefty. However, following this attempt at seed saving, I have to say that I have come to realise that the number of seeds per cucumber is immaterial. In my naivety, it never even occurred to me to question what percentage of the seed would be viable and indeed had I done so, I would probably have assumed that most, if not all, the seeds would be good.
Having only saved 20 out of the dozens in this cucumber, I think I may be tempted to harvest another batch – just to be on the safe side!