Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Tale of Two Cucumbers

It was the best of cucumbers, it was the worst of cucumbers...if Charles Dickens were to write a garden novel he might start it this way. Instead you just have me and my lowly experiences.

I have tried many different cucumbers over the years. I started off with some of the older heirloom varieties thinking they would be vastly superior. Well in this case the heirlooms were pretty dismal and the hybrids were very superior ("surely the best of times", says Dr. McCoy to Captain Kirk on his birthday). So much so that you can get three times the yield from the best cucumbers. One of my favorite varieties for this area of Minnesota is General Lee. It is a great slicing cucumber that is sweet and crunchy.

We are trying a new cucumber this year, one of the mini-cucumber varieties, that are picked about 2/3 of the size of the regular cucumbers. They are very thin-skinned, seedless, sweet and crunchy. They are parthenocarpic (don't need to be pollinated) and genocious (all female flowers) for much higher yields.

You need to plant several times a season for a continuous supply. We are planting the fall cucumbers now in the space vacated by harvested carrots, beets, garlic and onions. We also planted some fall broccoli this week. Yea! for fall gardening.

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