Tuesday, 24 July 2012
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.