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Pickling Cucumbers

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String Theory for Cucumbers
If you have plenty of space in your garden it’s fine to let cucumbers sprawl on the ground. But in today’s small, often shaded yards, gardeners must make the most of every sunny foot of row. That’s where trellising comes in. A cucumber support need not be an elaborate structure. A simple but sturdy frame will do fine, with strings dangling from an overhead bar. Tie the bottom end of each string to a cuke plant in a loose knot, then wind the vine around the string as it grows. Train to one stem, by pruning out all side shoots up to 3’, then letting one fruit form at each leaf node. When the vine reaches the top, train it over the bar, then allow two stems to come down. You’ll get a huge harvest from just one row. Use string that is at least 2-ply, so it won’t break. If it’s untreated, you can put all the vines on the compost pile at summer’s end, strings and all.

Warmth-loving Cucumbers may be grown as transplants, sown indoors 2 weeks before the last frost date, or direct-sown well after all threat of frost has passed and when the soil has warmed up to 50°F. Harvest with a sharp blade regularly to promote abundant production before seed cavities swell when small and thin-skinned. Cucumbers’ vines creep stealthily, take care to avoid garden traffic jams. It is successfully trellised vertically thanks to prolific spiraling tendrils. Some varieties are parthenocarpic and seedless, meaning pollination is unnecessary, while most have seeds and require pollination for flower and fruit development. About 90% water, Cucumbers are rich in Vitamin C, beta-carotene and manganese, and yield antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. We love Renny Darling’s Cucumber and Chive Soup with Lemon and Dill and our Asian-inspired Refreshing Cucumber Salad. It’s fun to slice off the ends and hollow them out as little cups for cold Cucumber soup.

Average seed life: 3 years

#2125 Parisienne Cornichon de Bourbonne Cucumbers: 50-60 days
Cornichon is French for tiny, crisp pickles made from gherkin cucumbers. A glass of Sancerre, fresh baguettes, pate and our tart cornichons will transport your picnic to the French countryside! A French heirloom variety dating back to the late 1800s, Parisienne Cornichon de Bourbonne was used extensively in France as the premier pickling cornichon. It produces loads of gherkin or cornichon-sized, dark green, small-spined, seedless, crunchy-sweet cucumbers. Harvest fully developed, no more than 2” long and the width of a child’s finger. Here's how to make your own cornichons: lightly rinse the little cucumbers. Rub skins with a kitchen towel. Pack into a sterilized glass jar with one tablespoon kosher salt, 15 to 20 tiny, peeled silverskin onions, one very hot pepper, a few peppercorns and fresh tarragon. Fill jar with white wine vinegar. They’ll be ready in a week and keep for months in the fridge. (OP.)

Packet of 25 Seeds / $3.55

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#2140 Moringa Pickling Cucumbers: 40-50 days
Finally, a pickler with a difference. Moringa is cleverly bred to yield a bounteous crop of fruits which stay slim, uniform and crisp. They hold their quality well on the vine and lend themselves to repeated small harvests over a long period. These cukes are absolutely non-bitter and are ideally harvested at 4” to 6” long and 1” in diameter. Moringa is also nice for quick salads: sliced thinly and sprinkled with vinegar, salt and a pinch of sugar. Note: Moringa needs another variety growing nearby for pollination. (OP.)

Packet of 25 Seeds / $3.45

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#2170 Alibi Pickling Cucumbers: 45-55 days
Alibi has been bred to produce smooth fruit from the tiny, pinkie finger stage to full maturity at 4" long and 1 1/2" wide. Alibi is a dependable performer year in and out~a uniform and a top-yielding variety that produces gherkin-sized fruits on disease-resistant, compact vines. A dual use variety, it is actually known as one of the best pickling cukes available today. (F1.)

Packet of 35 Seeds / $3.35

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