Maybe it’s something to do with the submarine shape: cucumbers and zucchini over run our gardens this time of year. ‘Fess up, Ann. Was that you close to midnight last week frantically turning a bunch of cucumbers into pickles? Or looking up cucumber dip recipes?
One of the most prolific cucumbers in Ann’s garden wasn’t even invited. The cucumber’s home garden was across the alley and down the street, and this summer it appeared in Ann’s yard. Didn’t yo’ mama teach you any manners, cucumber?
AgriLife Extension horticulturists Sam Cotner and Jerry Parsons tell us how to create cucumber nirvana in our gardens: work amended soil into rows 4-6” high and at least 36” apart for good drainage. Plant 3-4 cucumber seeds on top of the row every 12-14 inches. Thin the cucumbers soon after they emerge. Cucumber vines can reach 6-8 feet or more.
In large gardens, cucumbers can trail on the ground, but in small gardens train cucumbers on a fence, trellis or wire cage. (If using a trellis or cage plant 3-4 seeds in hills 4-6” high around the edge of the container.) Soak the plants weekly if it doesn’t rain; use drip irrigation or water in the morning or early afternoon being careful not to get water on the foliage.
Farmers markets often carry the little pickling cucumbers that grow 3-4” long and keep their crunch when pickled. They can also be used fresh in salads. Suggested varieties include Carolina, Liberty, Saladin and County Fair 87. Slicing cucumbers reach 6-8 inches long and are ideal for fresh vegetable trays and salads. Varieties include Sweet Slice, Burpless, Dasher II, and Slicemaster. Cucumbers for a fall garden can be planted August 1-15.
Wait a minute….there’s the doorbell. Image that, a basket of CUCUMBERS! Could that be from you, Ann?