Belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family of plants, same as melons and squash, cucumbers originated in parts of Middle East and Western Asia, but particularly in India. The elongated, water-rich, and light-on-the-palette vegetable is an effective way of getting rid of internal heat, flushing out toxins, while still sufficiently hydrating to prevent dehydration. Also, low on calories, cucumbers are rich in Vitamin A, C, K, folate, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and many other nutrients and minerals. Being a potent source of antioxidants, cucumbers impart enough nourishment for the skin to look healthy and can also reduce puffiness around eyes, and treat swelling and sunburns too. Also with anti-inflammation and anti-cancer properties, there is no possible excuse one can come up with, to not eat them. In fact, people looking to maintain or reduce weight should have these on a daily basis with their meals.
Cucumbers are popularly consumed raw in salads, sandwiches, smoothies, and cold soups. Just wash, peel, and you are good to go. But if you are bored with the regular way of eating cucumbers, then try pickling them.
Growing guide for Cucumber Summer Seeds
Cucumbers are seeded or transplanted outdoors not earlier than 2 weeks after the last frost date.
For an early crop, sow cucumber seeds indoors, approximately 3 weeks before you transplant them.
Improve clay soil by adding organic matter. Make certain that soil is moist and well-drained, not waterlogged.
Mix in compost and/or aged manure before planting to a depth of 2 inches and work into the soil 6 to 8 inches deep. Sow seeds in rows, 1 inch deep and 6 to 10 inches asunder.
If you are transplanting seedlings, plant them 12 inches apart. A trellis might be a safe idea if you want the vine to climb, or if you have limited space.
When seedlings emerge, begin to water frequently, and increase to a gallon per week after fruit forms.
Pests that can attack this crop: Cucumber Beetles, Whiteflies, Bacterial Wilt, Anthracnose, Mosaic Viruses. The above mentioned pests might affect the plant leaving a honeydew substance behind that turns leaves pale yellow or might result in larvaes that leave holes in roots and stems below soil line. Adult pests chew leaves and may spread wilt and mosaic diseases.
Ideally, soil should be neutral or slightly alkaline with a pH of 7.0. Light, sandy soils are preferred as they get warm quickly.
Select a site full of sunlight.
The soil must be at least 65ºF for germination with a bottom heat of about 70ºF (21ºC).
how to harvest
Harvest dills at 4 to 6 inches long and pickles at 2 inches long for pickles. The large burpless cucumbers can be up to 10 inches long and some types still bigger.
Cucumbers are best picked before their seeds become hard and are eaten when immature. Do not let them get brown.
A cucumber is of the highest quality when it is uniformly green, steady and snappy.
Any cucumbers left on the vine for too long will get tough skins and lower plant productivity.
At the peak of harvest season, pick cucumbers every couple of days.
Keep them picked. If you don’t, as plants mature, they will cease growing.
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap to keep moisture away.
They will last for a week to 10 days when stored properly in the refrigerator.