Did You Know?

Cucumbers are vining plants in the same family as melons and squashes. This family, called Cucurbitaceae, has one of the highest percentage of species in which the plant (fruit) is used for human foods. Yum!

 

Growing

Cucumber plants should be transplanted or seeded into the ground no earlier than two weeks after the last frost date. They prefer warmer night time temperatures but also cooler days (think 60's-80's). Cucumbers can sunburn when planted in direct sun especially in Sonoma County microclimates that tend to see hotter summer temps. Planting wise, they are comparable in light and temperature preferences to tomatoes, thriving in partial filtered sun planted well after the last frost date.


Maintenence

Most cucumber varieties you encounter will be vining plants, but bush cucumber varieties do exist. We prefer vining plants because they are easy to manipulate and train with trellis support, keeping the fruits off the ground, and leaving more real estate in your garden bed.  Trellising is recommended for vining types; gridded metal or wood panels will provide adequate support for your cucumber plants and they typically do not need much training to attach. Find out more about trellising including "how to", here

Your cucumber appreciates consistent watering. They do not like to be over or underwatered.  Cucumbers are susceptible to powdery mildew, blossom drop in high temperatures, and deformed fruit if under pollinated. 

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Types and Varieties

  • Pickling: Commercially made pickles are made from specially bred varieties that are uniform in size and shape. The fruits tend to be shorter, thicker and irregularly shaped with bumpy or spiny skin.
  • Slicing: Slicing cucumbers are usually the largest in size with the thickest skins harvested around 7-8". This lends well to storing and shipping. English slicing varieties are thinner skinned but often wrapped and stored in plastic to prevent desiccation.
  • Burpless: Burpless varieties are varieties that are purported to contain none or less of the compound, cucurbitacin, which causes the bitter taste and increases gas in some.  This includes many of your market favorites: Persian cucumbers, Armenian cucumbers, and even lemon cucumbers. 
 Lemon Cucumber:  most heat tolerant. Produces round yellow plum sized fruit

Lemon Cucumber:  most heat tolerant. Produces round yellow plum sized fruit

Armenian Cucumber: Long, sometimes curled  Fruits that can reach 2 feet long. Skin stays thin and sweet. Great for slicing and pickling as well.

Persian Cucumber: Small Thin Skinned Fruit less than six inches in length. Seedless, Sweet and Petite, Who Could ask for more?

Japanese Cucumber: Thin Skinned, Seedless and Sweet like Persian varieties, only longer.

Pickling Cucumber: Irregular shaped, but consistent  size and diameter. Thicker skinned often spiny or bumpy.

"Slicing" Cucumber: American Style Slicers have thicker waxed Skin that is often removed before eating. English Slicing Varieites are thinner skinned.