The perfect plant: Long English cucumbers easy to grow Jim Hole, Edmonton Journal
The perfect plant: Long English cucumbers easy to grow
I love Greek salads, but I’ve ruined a few by tossing in cucumbers with tough skins and big, chewy seeds.
Fortunately, making a tender Greek salad instead — with fresh, homegrown cucumbers — is simple. Now, I just include a few English long cucumbers in my garden each year.
English long cucumbers are excellent outdoors in pots, but not widely used in gardens because many gardeners still adhere to the myth that the thin-skinned, seedless cucumbers are only suitable for growing within the confines of a cosy greenhouse.
But they actually grow well outside — weather permitting, of course — and it’s rare not to have a great crop by late July.
Cucumbers are indigenous to both the Old World and the new, and are members of the cucurbitacea family that includes squash, pumpkins and melons.
English long cucumbers are simply the result of extensive breeding work to eliminate the undesirable characteristics that many cucumber varieties possess: tough skin, tough seeds, and often, bitter fruit.
From a reproductive perspective, cucumbers have interesting sex lives. Some varieties have male and female flowers that are separate — but on the same plant — while other varieties produce a blend of entirely male or entirely female plants. English long cucumbers really have no sex lives at all and are classified as parthenocarpic, which means that they develop fruit without any pollination and are thus seedless. You might notice some rudimentary seeds in an English long cucumber fruit, but these are simply the beginnings of what would have been seeds had the seeds been pollinated.
I think most would agree that the best feature of English long cucumbers is the fact that they are seedless. But having a nice, thin skin that doesn’t require peeling is a close second.
I also find the rich-green, broad leaves and viney growth to be rather attractive and English long cucumbers look great on a trellis, even without any fruit.
Another great feature of English long cucumbers is their lack of bitterness. Other cucumbers inherently contain naturally occurring, bitter-tasting chemicals called cucurbitacins, but the English long cucumbers rarely have even a trace of these compounds.
DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: EASY
English long cucumbers are no more difficult to grow than any other cucumber variety, but they do require a sturdy, tall trellis. They will sprawl across the ground without support, but leaving the long fruit sitting makes it more prone to rotting and curling up like a snake.
Training the cucumber to climb up a trellis is simple. I just weave the new leaves through the structure and that works just fine. Tying the main stem to the trellis with soft ties also works well. Either way, it’s important to train and support the cucumbers every few days because they tend to grow wild very quickly.
In the greenhouse, we grow thousands of English long cucumbers and would expect to harvest about 20 to 25, 30-centimetre-long fruit per plant over a 12-week period. In my garden, I grow four plants that begin production now and continue for about an eight-week stretch, with each plant producing about a dozen large fruit.
Believe me, there are times in August when jumbo Greek salads are my entire meal!
English long cucumbers are rarely attacked by insect or disease pests, but they are heavy feeders. I apply Nature’s Source fertilizer at least once a week and always blend in Sea Soil (composted fish waste and pine bark) with my potting soil to provide a few extra nutrients.
HOW PERFECT IS IT?
My Greek salad routine at this time of year is to head out to the garden and grab one tomato, one onion and one English Long cucumber, head to the kitchen, chop and throw the vegetables and black olives into a bowl with oil and feta cheese and eat. It is one of the simplest things to make and loaded with fresh ingredients from the garden.
The salad days of summer just wouldn’t be the same for me without a few homegrown, English long cucumbers a mere hop, skip and jump away from the kitchen.
taken from http://www.edmontonjournal.com/perfect+plant+Long+English+cucumbers+easy+grow/
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa