Cucumbers…the cucumis that sativus us!

The Burpee Europe team do love their cucumbers!  You only have to take a look at the array of varieties on offer through all the top UK seed companies to see just what a wide range of types you can grow. 

All cucumbers can be sown anytime from now through the end of May, but what exactly are the different characteristics on offer and which choice is best for you? 

Cucumber Growing Top Tips

Outdoor or container
For outdoor plants in the soil or a large patio container, Simon Crawford, breeder at Burpee Europe, would recommend ‘Bush Champion’ or for a gherkin ‘Goblin’. Sowing the last week of April and keeping plants frost free until planting the first week of June should provide a crop from mid-late July. Bush Champion is a slicing cucumber and has a few hairs on the fruit but these can be easily brushed off by hand and the 12cm long cucumbers can be sliced for use in salads, sandwiches or adding to cocktails

Cold greenhouse
For cold greenhouse plantings, the team recommend ‘Merlin’ or ‘Party Time’. Both varieties are ‘all-female’ and produce fruit prolifically over a long season. Try sowing now and again in about four weeks so you have a good succession of cucumbers all summer long.  Both varieties can be trained up a bamboo cane or string and will produce fruits at each leaf node where the flowers are formed.

Snack and disease resistance
‘Party Time’ is a snack cucumber, about 8-10cm in length and ‘Merlin’ is a Beit Alfa type about 12-14cm in length. Both varieties have good resistance to powdery and downy mildew.

Cucumbers How To Enjoy Them
There has been a lot of research on the health benefits of cucumbers. Despite being low in calories they are high in nutrients and contain a wide selection of vitamins and minerals.  They have been seen to boost the immune system and as they are around 95% water, are great for hydrating the body!

Enjoy cucumbers as follows…

•    Salads
•    Cucumber Boats filled with hummus or cream cheese
•    Added to smoothies
•    Added to soups, especially lovely cold summer types
•    Add to dips
•    Use as ice pops, by freezing cucumber smoothies in lolly moulds
•    Use in dressings such as a Cucumber & Dill
•    On top of homemade sushi

Cucumber Seeds Where To Buy Them 
Party Time = Simply Seed, Grow Seed, Owls Acre Seeds,  Pennard Plants, Plants of Distinction
Merlin = Marshalls, Simply Seed, Nickys Nursery, Otter Farm, Pennard Plants, Suttons, Thompson & Morgan
Goblin = Marshalls, Plants of Distinction, Nickys Nursery, Thompson & Morgan
Bush Champion = Marshalls, Suttons, Simply Seed, Dobies, Otter Farm, Nickys Nursery

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