10 COOL CU­CUM­BERS

NZ Gardener - - 2018 Gardener Of The Year -

1 TOP CROPPER: ‘ IZNIK’

This F1 hy­brid costs $1 per seed but is worth ev­ery cent when you con­sider that you’ll pay at least 50c each for these cock­tail sausage-sized snack cu­cum­bers at the su­per­mar­ket. Pro­lific fruiters, they bear up to a dozen seed­less 10cm long cu­cum­bers at any one time, and they keep on com­ing all sum­mer long. Train the vines over trel­lis or a teepee for easy har­vest­ing. Note: I didn’t wa­ter my cu­cum­ber trial bed, so the shapes of the fruit on this page is a de­pic­tion of what cu­cum­bers can look like un­der av­er­age home gar­den con­di­tions! Bul­bous bot­toms form when very heavy rain fol­lows a pe­riod of dry weather. From Kings Seeds, Eg­mont Seeds, or as pot­ted grafted plants in gar­den cen­tres.

2 ‘ SALT AND PEP­PER’

Billed as a mildew-re­sis­tant white pick­ling cu­cum­ber, I was taken aback to find these but­tery fruit at the back of my trial bed. As a rule, golden cu­cum­bers are over­ripe (with the ex­cep­tion of ’Lemon‘). To save your own seed, leave cu­cum­bers on the vine un­til they are sun­shine-yel­low.

3 ‘ LE­BANESE’

Why would you grow tough-skinned ‘Tele­graphs’ when ‘Le­banese’ cu­cum­bers can be eaten skin and all? This is my go-to va­ri­ety for cu­cum­ber sand­wiches. Kings Seeds, Eg­mont Seeds, Yates Seeds.

4 ‘ POONA KHEERA’

Did you know cu­cum­bers are na­tive to In­dia? This un­usual heir­loom is both heat-re­sis­tant out­doors and fridge-tol­er­ant in­doors, thanks to its rough brown skin which stops the flesh los­ing wa­ter and soft­en­ing post-har­vest. With thick white flesh around a small seed cav­ity, it’s ideal in sal­ads or as sticks for dips. Kings Seeds.

5 ‘ GREEN AP­PLE’

This Kiwi heir­loom is so much nicer than ‘Crys­tal Ap­ple’, my least favourite va­ri­ety of all time! If your ap­ple cu­cum­bers are hor­ri­bly bit­ter, cut off their tops or peel the skins as that’s where the cu­cur­bitacins are con­cen­trated. Koanga Seeds.

6 ‘ HOME­MADE PICK­LES’

Vig­or­ous, heavy-yield­ing gherkins for pick­ling. Pick when 5-8cm long to pack into jars whole. 'Eu­reka' (Eg­mont Seeds) is an­other great gherkin. Kings Seeds.

7 ‘ TASTY QUEEN’

For fans of long cu­cum­bers, this has heaps of slen­der, 20cm, bur­p­less fruit. Ideal to train up strings in a glasshouse. Kings Seeds, Eg­mont Seeds, Yates Seeds.

8 ‘ ORI­EN­TAL SOO YOH’

These twisted sis­ters, with their dis­tinc­tive coiled shape and ribbed skins, were among first to set fruit. Good flavour and flesh con­sis­tency. Kings Seeds.

9 ‘ DIVA’

A fem­i­nist cu­cum­ber! This F1 hy­brid is sweet, seed­less, fast to fruit, mildewre­sis­tant and 100 per cent a lady. ‘Diva’ is gy­necious (ev­ery flower is a fe­male) and partheno­carpic, so she doesn’t need a bloke – or pol­li­nat­ing bees – to get on with the job. Hugely pro­duc­tive. Kings Seeds.

10 ‘ SPACEMASTER’

Grow­ing cu­cum­bers in pots? This com­pact va­ri­ety from Kings Seeds has 15-20cm long fruit and was one of the most pro­duc­tive in my trial, de­spite only just climb­ing to the top of its 1m string sup­port. Also worth grow­ing in con­tain­ers are ‘Pa­tio Snacker‘, from Eg­mont Seeds, and ‘Bushcrop‘, in the McGre­gor‘s range.

‘IZNIK’

‘SALT AND PEP­PER’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.