As a gardener, it is fun to play around with different seeds and methods of propagation. For instance, cucumbers are a prolific and easy-to-grow crop with many varietals. Once you have a successful crop, many gardeners save seeds for the successive year’s planting. In lieu of saving your own seeds, however, what about grocery store cucumber seeds? Can you plant a grocery store cucumber? Interestingly, there are a couple of theories on seeds from a store-bought cucumber.
Can You Plant a Grocery Store Cucumber?
The answer to using seeds from a store-bought cucumber isn’t black or white. In theory, yes, you could plant seeds from a store-bought cucumber but the likelihood of them ever fruiting is doubtful.
If you were successful in getting grocery store cucumber seeds to germinate, chances are you would not get anything resembling the cucumber you culled the seeds from. Why? Grocery store cucumbers are F1 hybrids which means they won’t “breed true.” This means they are comprised of two or more different varieties, so who knows what you might get.
More on Seeds from a Store-Bought Cucumber
As if this isn’t enough to cast doubt on the veracity of growing cucumbers from grocery store cucumber seeds, the fruit is generally harvested and sold well before it is ripe. To obtain seeds from a cucumber it needs to be fully ripe. That is, the cuke will be yellow to orange and burgeoning; practically bursting.
All that said, the idea of growing cucumbers from a purchased cucumber is possible, maybe. Don’t get your cucumber from the supermarket. Instead, buy heirloom cucumbers from a farmers’ market. These will be more likely to “breed true.”
Cut the cukes in half lengthwise to extract the seeds. Scoop them out and allow them to ferment in water for one to three days to remove the pulp from the seeds.
Once you have extracted the seeds from the pulp, plant them in full sun with fertile soil an inch (2.5 cm.) under the soil, spaced 18 to 36 inches (46-91 cm.) apart. Keep the soil moist and cross your fingers.
If the cucumber experiment works, you should see seedlings in five to ten days. If, however, you decide not to experiment and would rather grow a sure thing, purchase nursery or store-bought cucumber seeds, which can often be had for very little cost.
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Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.
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