Thursday 15 August 2019

Cucumbers galore!

Regular readers know that in the absence of a greenhouse, I grow outdoor cucumbers. This year they are doing very well indeed.

Outdoor cucumbers tend to be firmer than their cossetted indoor cousins, and usually have thick prickly skins that need to be removed before eating. You can get long-fruited and fairly smooth-skinned varieties (like "Marketmore"), but the ones that do best outdoors are short fat spiky ones like the "Delikate B" and "Vorgebirgstrauben" varieties I am growing this year.

"Delikate B"

I have 3 plants of "Delikate B".  Here they are, growing up their 6-foot Hazel poles:

They are very prolific. At present I'm picking on average one fruit per plant per day.

Just when you think you have picked the lot, you notice another cluster of little fruit!

I also have 4 plants of "Vorgebirgstrauben", which is a variety recommended for pickling. With a name like that you will have guessed that it comes from Germany. I bought my seeds in the Lidl supermarket. We don't like the continental / American-style pickled cucumbers, but my wife Jane is very fond of the tiny ones known as "Cornichons", which are very immature fruits picked when they are only an inch or two long - and then pickled of course. My plants have pumped out a steady stream of these things, and they have duly ended up being pickled, like this...

Jane has been experimenting with different types of vinegar for these. The jar on the Right is filled with traditional ready-made spiced Pickling Vinegar, which is quite brown, whereas for the jar on the Left she has used white pickling vinegar. The recently-added cucumbers are quite a bright green colour, but they soon fade to a dull grey-green (which I think looks rather unappetising). Apparently they are crisp and tasty, but they are just not the sort of thing I like. I prefer the fully-grown cucumbers served as a traditional salad ingredient.


  1. Beautiful cucumbers!
    I have 10 vines "Burpless Beauty" that are producing well. We eat some of them sliced in salads, and I am making sweet pickles using apple cider vinegar that gives them a slightly yellow look.
    Happy Gardening!
    Lea in Mississippi, USA

  2. Interesting you have a comment from the USA. Lea's cucumbers sound very good.
    I have recently been reading very confusing information on a US blog about how cucumbers need to be allowed natural pollination or not and its need to be totally avoided!
    My understanding is that all our greenhouse cucumbers in the UK are of the type that are all female or if male/female type need pollination prevented - and that all the outdoor varieties are of the kind that need pollination (natural not by you!)
    Can I assume all the wonderful cucumbers you describe are the outdoor kind which pollinate?
    When I turned to Wikipedia I was even more confused

    1. Roger, the types I'm growing both self-pollinate very successfully. I did have a variety (I think it was Diva) that was supposedly All-female but initially produced exclusively male flowers. When I complained to the seed-merchant they claimed that if an All-female plant is "under stress" it will produce male flowers. I'm confused too!

  3. You can't beat home grown cucumbers. I've tried quite a few open pollinated varieties but reckon Marketmore is the best. I've just counted what I've harvested over the last couple of days and have 14! Time to make some pickle. I slice mine slightly diagonally across the width ca 1/4" thick (and salt for several hours to reduce some of the water content, then pickle with some fairly finely chopped onion in malt vinegar/sugar/mustard seeds/powdered clove.


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