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Tracy Wandling
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Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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So what’s the deal with outrageously priced cucumber seed?!

The types I’m looking for are variously called English, European, or greenhouse cucumbers. I’m looking for information on how to save seed from these types, and if it’s possible to create an open pollinated variety, or how an open pollinated variety could even exist. I have seen Telegraph (Territorial Seeds) which claims to be open pollinated, and isn't as expensive - but if it's gynoeceious, how can I save the seeds if there are no male flowers to pollinate the female flowers?! 

The varieties I’m looking at are generally described as:

Parthenocarpic - ability to set fruit without pollination
Gynoecious - has nearly all female flowers
Hybrid - well, you know what that means . . .

So! My question is - is there an open pollinated variety I can save seed from, or is it possible to create an open pollinated variety of the ‘classic’ English cucumber? I don’t even know where to start in figuring this out . . . 

In case you want to know why I want to create an open pollinated variety - there are two reasons:

1. I have a market garden, and this type of cucumber brings in more money, and many people prefer them.

2. It irritates me that seed companies charge such outrageous prices for these varieties, and you can’t even save the seed. That’s just . . . wrong.

Any information you have to share is greatly appreciated!

Cheers
Tracy
 
David Livingston
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Location: Anjou ,France
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Firstly there is a lot to do with ....er .... sex
Cucumbers are fruits produced by female flowers so if you can breed a plant that only has female flowers this increases your yield . Thus for gardeners often with limited space who might only need one or two plants such plants are ideal , many  of these plants are what are known as F1 hybrids   (http://www.thompson-morgan.com/f1-hybrid-what-is-it a plant breeders view )
There is a company in the UK who sell seeds and show how to save them http://www.realseeds.co.uk/cucumbers.html unfortunetly I will not be getting any more seeds until next year but maybe someone in the UK can help Maybe young Mr Lofthouse knows someone
 
Judith Browning
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I grow suyo long cucumbers and have been saving seed for years.  The original seed was from Baker Creek  http://www.rareseeds.com/search/?F_Keyword=cucumber in Missouri.  I haven't looked recently but I seem to remember a good variety of open pollinated cucumbers and some appear to be the pickling type.

We love suyo long both fresh and fermented and found that they are not a good market cucumber because they don't keep well.

...and Baker Creek's prices have always seemed reasonable to me
 
r ranson
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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When you say English cucumber, you mean something like the hot house, wrapped in plastic cucumber that the general public are used to?  Not necessarily the kind they grow in England.  So it's about giving the customers what they expect.  For some reason, customers think that long thin cucumber are sweeter.

How about something like this?

Not what you are looking for, but these are very popular in the height of the summer.

Or perhaps, if you have the space, save some seeds from the grocery store cucumbers, grow a few out and see if there is something there that you can de-hybrid-ize.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I have plenty of "English" type cucumber genes running around in my cucumber patch. They grow normally, just like any other cucumber.

I really like saving seeds from hybrids, cause I like the diversity among the offspring. For those that like stability, something like Telegraph seems like a great choice. An open pollinated heirloom variety from so long ago isn't going to have funky sterility issues to cause difficulties.





 
Tracy Wandling
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Posts: 1568
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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Yes, David, I know about . . . sex. LOL!

I was super irritated by the fact that the seeds are so expensive.

And how on earth do they get seeds if there are no male flowers?! Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of being able to get cucumbers without pollination. I'm just wondering, if there is no pollination, how do they get seeds for the next crop? I know I'm missing something here. Just can't put my finger on it . . .

Judith, I have grown the suyo long, and I love them for home use, but as you said, not great for market. And that's what I'm looking for.

Joseph; Great! I will just get some seeds and start my own landrace. I would like to have some cucumbers that are attractive and recognizable by the general public, as some of them will be in the stores, and that's what they want. But for ourselves, or for the future farm stand, I will be happy to have a landrace that has more variety and interest.

Another thing to add to the list!
 
David Livingston
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Tracy
They don't get the seeds that way because I suspect they have to either cross them by hand with another type or they are an F1 and they don't care they just breed more F1 the following year
.
I don't mind as three plants cost us 3 $ and a packet if seed cost us 3$ since I am not intending to sell them it's more than enough for us as we are only two of us . If in the future I go into the biz of selling stuf maybe I will try make my own race but it's not a priority for us

David
 
Tracy Wandling
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Posts: 1568
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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Yes, I'm starting to get the picture in my head of how it works. I totally understand the F1 hybrid thing. I think it was just throwing in 'parthenocarpic' and 'gynoecious' that confused the issue for me. But, now I see that obviously they do it just like any other F1.

Yes, for a home garden a few seeds are plenty. But when 5 seeds cost $12.95! Well, that just bothers me. lol So, now I am wanting to breed an open pollinated English cucumber that will grow well outside here. I'll start with Telegraph, and a couple of other hybrids I've seen that grow well outside, and see where it takes me.
 
Lydia Feltman
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Do you know about Seed Savers Exchange? Their free catalog for the general public has several pages of cucumbers that are heirloom, non -hybred and can be saved for future plantings. If you join the Exchange you can have access to the printed and online "Yearbook' that compiles listings of members seeds that are available for as little as $4. In the printed version there are 8 pages (184 varieties) of cucumbers. Go to www.seedsavers.org to find both the public online (or printed by request) catalog and membership information.
I have listed with them for a number of years. I  ordered the "Thesaloniki" tomato from one of the members, and he also sent me free samples of other tomatoes. What a great group of people with a high ideal of sustainability through co-operation.
I loved the cucumbers I grew from Seeds of Change "Satsuki Midori" a Japanese cucumber that was never bitter. Last year I tried to find it again, but that company was not offering it any more. I did find it online and grew it again last year. Eventually I may have enough seeds to share with others on the Exchange, but I have to test them to see if the seeds are viable and come true. Cucurbits like melon, squash, and cucumber variety seeds are more difficult to save as they will inter-pollinate.
Good luck with your quest, ~Lydia
 
Tracy Wandling
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Posts: 1568
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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Thanks for the reminder, Lydia! I keep meaning to check it out, but then . . . life happens, and stuff. It's on my list for tonight's surfing!
 
Jeffrey Sullivan
Posts: 39
Location: Michigan
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As a backyard gardener I never seem to use all the seeds in a seed pack. I just ordered some seeds in even larger quantities. I was thinking there should be a way to share these seeds. I am also looking for some Parthenocarpic cucumber seed.
 
r ranson
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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Seedy Saturday season is just about to begin.  They are usually Late January through March. 

They often have seed exchange tables set up where you can bring your extra seeds and gather seeds that others have to share. 

Also, seed libraries are another good place to share and get open pollinated, regionally adapted seeds.
 
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