Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Introducing 'Socrates'


Not the philosopher but the cucumber. I have never had much joy when it comes to growing cucumbers, usually managing a paltry few cues each year late on in the season. This year though looks as if it going to be different.

I sowed three varieties in  April - 'Crystal Apple', the usual 'Burpless Green' and the new to me 'Socrates'. I have ended up with one plant of each. 'Crystal Apple' is growing outdoors - somewhere along the way its label got lost. Initially there was an id problem - I thought it was some sort of squash but it has turned out to be a cucumber. Planted out in June it has not really flourished but finally there is a small lemon golf ball sized cucumber forming.

The other two plants have been planted into containers, which are living in the community greenhouse at the allotment. Normally I grow my tomatoes and cucumbers in lean to at the allotment, which is accessed via the shed. However a blackbird took up residence in the spring and decided that she liked the feel of the place enough to nest there. I did not have the heart to disturb her and her young, so ended up taking my plants into the community greenhouse, where they seem to have flourished so far, especially 'Socrates', which you can see in the above photo.

I was tempted to try this variety after reading this post in Graham Rice's excellent 'Transatlantic Gardener' blog. Not only is it high yielding but it produces mini cues, which as this household's only cucumber fan is the ideal scenario. I picked the first one at the end of June but then quite a gap until the last few days. They must have responded to the increased temperatures and have swollen overnight. I picked one at the weekend and another one came home with me yesterday.There are at least half a dozen waiting in the wings which will need picking in the next few days. I detect a surplus coming on and am off to investigate recipes other than chilled cucumber soup and cucumber raita. Do please share if you know of any.

Update - 26/07/11 - another two picked yesterday. Meanwhile one of my allotment neighbours has told me that pickled cucumbers are delicious in the middle of winter.

15 comments:

  1. Hi Anna, Mmm I'm not doing quite so well on the cucumber front. My crystal lemon has finally given up. The slugs got it, chewing at the stem so only the tiniest of slivers of stem was left. It clung on for several weeks but it wasn't enough to sustain it. I was generously given 2 other cucumber plants but I have no idea what variety they are. They've struggled too but have started to produce fruit. They are rather scary looking things covered in spines so will need peeling. Crystal lemon was the one I wanted but still I'll be happy to have at least grown some. Will be interested to see what you think of CL.

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    1. Oh what a shame that the molluscs have devoured your cues WW. Glad to hear that you have some replacement plants - it's a pain having to peel them but you never know what delicious taste might lie lurking beneath those spines. I grew 'Crystal Lemon' last year and liked the taste. Just wished that they were bigger:)

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  2. Your cucumbers look really great, I can see that you're going to enjoy them. They are one of the fruit/veg that I don't grow as they don't agree with my digestion, have tried the burpless ones but still suffer for hours!

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    1. Thanks Pauline. Sorry to read that you are not able to include cucumbers on your menu. They seem to trouble a lot of folk including himself, which is why a mini variety is ideal for me to grow.

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  3. They look great Anna. I have yet to try the delights of growing cucumber, but may well give your mini ones a go next year.

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    1. Thank you:) Hope they do well for you if you try them in the future,

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  4. A surplus of Socrates. Who'd a thunk? :) I'm glad the temps are rising for you. Hopefully this means the rain is taking a hiatus.

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    1. I think that the cooler weather has been to Socrates's liking Grace. The rain has taken a brief hiatus but it's returning next week :(

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  5. I am very taken with the idea of a cucumber called Socrates. We have only ever grown Burpless Green with a range of results from total glut to total death. Socrates would surely have been more measured.

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    1. I like the name too Elizabeth - definitely one up on 'Burpless Green':) Have never managed total glut with the latter - usually veer towards the total death end of the scale and end up with less cues than I could count on one hand. Socrates has been a welcome discovery - just hope that it's not a one off!

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  6. Oo I will make a note of that variety. My eldest is the only cucumber consumer and I have the usual Burplass which is just about to produce its first crop in the cold frame. Also have Lemon Crystal or Crystal Lemon (I cant remember which) in the greenhous which is flowering and hopefully will fruit soon.

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  7. They look great Anna. My usual variety is 'Marketmore' which does well outside. I've grown 'Crystal Lemon' before which is great too - has smaller fruit which usually does 1 salad at a time for NAH and I.

    My cucumber production has definitely slowed owing to the awful weather this year. However I was delighted to find my first 2 fruit forming when I peeped under the leaves on Friday :)

    Thanks for joining this month's Salad Days!

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  8. Lovely. We always grow Burpless, and they are doing really well in our greenhouse this year, Socrates sounds like another good variety though, especially for pickling for winter salads...

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  9. My single Crystal Lemon plant is still sulking but at least it's alive. I prefer small cucumbers so always grow them in the greenhouse. Yours are more advanced than mine - still waiting for my first one but they are so worth it , much better than bought ones.

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  10. Your cucumber pic looks great, always rewarding when a new variety preforms so well. Pickled cucumbers sound pretty good too !

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.