Cucumbers are some of my FAVORITE veggies and they are oh so easy to grow! I have become quite the cuke connoisseur as, believe it or not, they all have their own distinctive flavors and nuances. Currently, the Japanese and Chinese varieties are my favorites as they REALLY have cucumbery flavor….strong, crisp, and fresh tasting….the REAL taste of summer!
Most people think that cukes need to be grown in full sun….au contraire, I find that they do MUCH better with just morning sun or just evening sun or just a bright light! If they get TOO much sun they can get burnt and bitter!
So go ahead and try a variety of them…..many can very successfully grown in big pots (trellised) and/or Garden trugs (I ADORE mine!)
(AKA Snake Melon)
Vining 4″ Pot (50-70 days) This striking Eastern European heirloom produces distinctive light green fruits best eaten when 12-18” long; tender and yummy! Botanically it is a melon but it tastes tender and crisp and like a cucumber! When trellised it will grow straight, otherwise it will curl.
Cucumber ‘Beit Alpha’
(55 days)- A VERY early variety from Israel that is burpless, crunchy, and oh-so-very productive! As it is also a parthenocarpic (doesn’t require fertilization/pollinators) variety, can also be grown in a greenhouse!
Cucumber ‘Chicago Pickling’
(55 days)- Well ya KNOW this one does well here! It has been around since 1888 and is disease resistant and highly productive!
Cucumber ‘China Jade’
(65 days)- Thought to have been around since the Han Dynasty in 266 (!!!), this one produces very long and slender burpless cukes; it is also parthenocarpic!
(60 days)- From Poland, this one is a favorite of my customers that want a versatile cuke for both pickling and fresh eating. She also is great for small spaces/containers as her vines only get to be about 18” long. She’s also Downey Mildew tolerant, and her fruit holds very well on the plant!
Vining 4″ Pot (58 days) This hybrid was the 2002 AAS winner, so ya know it’s awesome! A quintessential seedless and burpless cuke, they are best harvested at 4-8”. Ideal fresh eater/slicer! (photo courtesy Totally Tomatoes)
Cucumber ‘Dragon’s Egg’
Vining 4″ Pot Doesn’t this just SOUND like a Contrary veggie?! A unique AND yummy cuke that kids will ADORE, it is creamy white and the size of a large egg—sweet tasting and mild! An heirloom from Croatia, and VERY limited! (photo courtesy Baker Creek)
Cucumber ‘Early Fortune’
(55 days)- AKA Special Dark Green, this slicing cuke grows to about 7-8” long and only 2” in diameter. Around since about 1906, he is very dependable and rarely bitter!
Cucumber ‘Early Russian’
(55 days)- Around since about 1854, this early producer is excellent for both pickling AND fresh eating as it produces tons of fruit starting early and continuing for the whole season!
Cucumber ‘Early Spring Burpless’
Vining 4″ Pot (58 days) A delicious hybrid with 10-12” burpless, bitter-free fruits; no need to even peel! Early and a heavy yielder. (photo courtesy Totally Tomatoes)
Cucumber ‘Mexican Gherkin’
(70 days)- This absolutely adorable creature is a MUST TRY!!!! Just look at the picture—-they look like tiny little fairy watermelons, and when ripe taste zingy and lemony and like they have already been pickled! VERY addicting to eat while you are toiling away in the garden and they are VERY nutritious (ancient Aztecs made the cucamelons a big part of their diets).
Cucumber ‘Miniature White’
Bush-Like various (50 days) An EXCELLENT bush-type baby cuke, adorable and delicious! Great as a pickler or fresh eater, very productive, and can even be grown in containers! Did I mention how cute it is too?! (photo courtesy Baker Creek)
Vining Various (60 days) A Burpless tender variety that you can pickle with (pick when 4-6” long) or us as a fresh eater (pick at 6-8” long). Great producer, non-bitter! (photo courtesy Baker Creek)
I grew mine in my Veg Trug on my back patio, trellised, and my Sheltie Finnegan figured out how to oh so carefully stretch himself to reach them to pick. It was a daily struggle to get my share (good thing they produce like crazy!!!) I will ALWAYS grow these little marvels!
Cucumber ‘Poona Kheera’
(60 days)- This variety from India is sweet and mild and is very popular juiced or fresh as a treat to beat the heat! Skin turns brown as it ripens; very productive.
Vining 3.5″ Pot Geography lesson—do ya know where Sikkim is?! I didn’t, but do now; it is on the slopes of the Himalayas, between India and Tibet. This odd creature was first discovered in 1848 by Sir Joseph Hooker (you know, the English Botanist!). This one can reach several pounds in size, and is a pretty rusty red. It is great eaten raw OR cooked (yes, in Asia cukes are often stir fried….try it, ya know I will!) VERY unique and a conversation starter; as yummy as it is weird looking! (photo courtesy Baker Creek)
Cucumber ‘Snow’s Fancy Pickling’
Vining 3 1/2″ Pot (55 days) This one is actually from the Famous Snow Pickle Farm in Rockford, Illinois! (o.k., so it WAS famous in 1905!) Produces longish skinny fruits (5” x 1½”), thin fleshed and crunchy.
(60 days) This is a bush-type cuke perfect for small spaces as vines only grow to about 2-3’ long. They form sweet, thin-skinned fruits in abundance!
Cucumber ‘Suyo Long’
Vining Various (65 days) This is hands-down my absolute FAVORITE cuke EVER! Produces long skinny fruits in abundance that have a very rich taste (no blandness or bitterness!). I would advise peeling them as they have lots of spiny bumps, but you will thank me for recommending this one!