Cucumbers

Cucumbers, by nature, are a cooling emollient. They are the perfect accompaniment for a summer meal; delicious when prepared as a simple pickle, eaten raw in salads, or used with a vegetable dip in pita bread. Cucumber slices floated in water (with ice) is delicious and refreshing, especially after a warm day outside. Put them on your eyes after a hot day in the garden!

Cucumbers require warm soil to sprout seeds and warmth for pollination. Use Loam Builder to amend soil or plant in Sloat Organic Potting Soil if growing in a large container or barrel. Adding Agricultural lime will help prevent blossom end rot. Each vine needs at least 25 sq. ft (5′ x 5′), but you can use a fence, trellis, or large tomato cage to conserve space. Cucumbers will vine naturally by tendrils if provided with a climbing support. Even irrigation is the key. Hit or miss watering results in bitter fruit.

There are long smooth, green, slicing cucumbers; numerous small pickling cucumbers; and roundish, yellow, mild-flavored lemon cucumbers. Novelties include Asian varieties (long, slim, very mild), Armenian cucumber (actually a long, curving, pale green, ribbed melon with the taste of cucumber). Whatever the type you choose, pick often to keep the plants productive. The longer they are on the vine, the seedier they become.