Friday, May 24, 2024

The Vorgebirgstrauben Cucumber

For some reason, I tend to grow a lot of cucumber varieties with long names. The Vorgebirgstrauben, or ‘Vorge’ for short is no exception. I really enjoyed this unique German pickling cucumber.



I really like when a cucumber variety like 'Vorge' has defining characteristics that set them apart form other cultivars. With conspicuous black spines and stubby dimpled fruit that is darker on the stem side than the ends, it is unlikely that the Vorge would not be mistaken for any other cucumber variety in the garden. 





As advertised, the Vorgebirgstrauben cucumber possessed dense flesh and was very productive. These characteristics make it ideal as a pickling cucumber. Though the flavor wasn’t bad, I definitely prefer slicing cucumbers to be at least free of spines, if not dimples.

Friday, May 17, 2024

The Tokiwa Cucumber

For me, the Tokiwa was a very good long Japanese-style cucumber. Apparently very disease resistant, most east Asian cucumber varieties are also very tolerant of the heat. One Japanese variety I previously grew, Yomato, did extremely well and was very productive despite being grown in Tucson in late July and early August. Likewise, Tokiwa took the heat of the garden very well.





Though my plants grew well, I believe the Tokiwa cucumbers would have done much better than they did if I had given it more space. I would definitely grow this variety in full sun and trellis the vine so that the fruit can have ample room to spread and so that the hanging fruit can grow straighter.




Above anything else that impressed me about the Tokiwa cucumber was the texture. The first bite took be by surprise as the fruit had a outer crispness and an inner tender texture that I really enjoyed.

Friday, May 10, 2024

The Tasty Tanja Cucumber

As it goes with standard cucumbers, the Tanja was definitely this season’s favorites.









Despite being a bit curved for a standard cucumber, it was quite tasty. The fact that I have to say that a curved cucumber can still taste good is quite absurd. While I will not outright state that curved cucumbers taste better, it is interesting to note that many standard cucumber varieties have been so intensely bred with the ability to ship and specific length, width and weight requirements that, judging by flavor, palatablity is one of the last concerns of a breeder working on any fruit that is destined for the produce department of a grocery store.











With all that said, Tanja was both delicious and productive. Like a Beit Alpha or Lebanese-type, because of its thin skin the fruit of the Tanja does not require peeling. Despite not being perfect in other ways, the Tanja cucumber’s positive traits more than outweigh the fact that it doesn’t look like a perfect cucumber. If you don’t care for curved fruit and you would still like to try the Tanja, I would just plan to trellis the vine.

Friday, May 3, 2024

Thoughts about the Straight Eight Cucumber

Included with other standard cucumbers that I grew in my garden this year was the Straight Eight.




Ferry Morse lists Straight Eight as an All-American Selection Winner from 1935. According to their catalogue, it is an "heirloom variety and highly popular garden plant, Straight Eight Cucumber, a Cucumis sativus cultivar, sometimes called the standard or stubby cucumber, is grown as a fruit vegetable. Likely the most recognized variety with home gardeners, Straight Eight sets deep green cylindrical fruits that are about 8 inches long and 2 inches wide. This dual-purpose cucumber can be eaten fresh or canned.”




I found Straight Eight to be exactly as advertised – suitable for either eating or picking. It was standard – not too long, but slightly stubby. I really like the slight striping with the fruit though. It definitely gives the Straight Eight a much greater eye appeal than a standard dark green cucumber.



The variety did well for me in my fertile healthy soil. The vines grew well as did the fruit. In the end, I shared them with some coworkers at the school I work at.

Friday, April 26, 2024

The Poinsett 76 Cucumber:

While I have grown a lot of American style slicer cucumbers in the past, I really enjoyed growing the Poinsett 76 this year. Given the fact that there was a lot of competition for light, the fruit produced quickly and, compared to the other varieties I grew, was quite productive.







The Poinsett was apparently developed by Henry M. Munger and released by Clemson and Cornell to be resistant to a host of diseases. The fruit and the plant looked very good throughout the time that I grew them and I generally really enjoyed the process of growing the fruit.






I found the flavor of the fruit to be very good for an American slicer. Though noticeably shorter than a Marketmore 76, I found the taste and texture to be superior to the Marketmore.






Overall, I thought it was both fun and worthwhile trying out the Poinsett 76. For those who are looking for a favorable heirloom American slicer, this is definitely one worth trying out.