Friday, April 12, 2024

The Tasty Çengelköy Cucumber

I really enjoyed growing the Çengelköy cucumber this last season. It was mild, slightly sweet, thin-skinned and quite good. Somewhat like the Beit Alpha, the Çengelköy has a wonderful flavor and, according to citizens of the Turkish town, it is a perfect breakfast cucumber.









The Çengelköy fruit grew on medium-length vines and produced a nice crop of fruit. I prefer to pick them before they get too big, but not quite as small as some of those pictured.









Honestly, I was primarily wanting to grow the Çengelköy to see how the fruit would turn out and I was not disappointed. I really enjoyed the smooth-textured mild cucumber, even if it is not a regular staple in my breakfast

Friday, April 5, 2024

The Not So “Bushy” Cucumber

When one thinks of the word ‘bushy’ they may think of a plant that is shorter or more compact. At least that is what I think of if someone says the word ‘bushy’ to me. However, that was not my experience with the Bushy Cucumber.








While not a cucumber variety that wants to take over the world, like the Yamato or the Gagon, Bushy is not exactly the most compact either. Perhaps the best way to describe the Bushy cucumber variety I grew was ‘semi-compact’.









Is the length of the vines of my Bushy cucumber because the original Bushy has always been this sprawling? Is it because growers just didn’t maintain the plant and cull the longer-vined plants out of the population? Or is this just one of the many casualties of the seed cultivar consolidation?









What’s seed cultivar consolidation? It is when seed companies run out of some of their seed varieties and substitute them with others. Then, if no other company or supplier keeps the seed variety going, the out-of-stock variety is no longer commercially available. Then within several years, the cultivar no longer exists. While this was a big problem decades ago, supply and demand issues as well as inflation and a desire for greater profit margin make it much more common.








In any case, Bushy was a good pickling variety with mildly short internodes. Very productive, but perhaps not as ‘bushy’ as one would expect.

Friday, March 29, 2024

The Bush Crop Cucumber

One of my very favorite regular cucumber varieties that I grew this last year was the Bush Crop. An extremely compact variety, I would even call this variety a ‘dwarf’ cucumber, but I hesitate to call it a ‘bush’ cucumber.

While most of the agricultural industry would characterize short varieties as ‘bush’, they are not always like a bush. A bush vining plant would produce a lot of vines from a central stem, so that the fruit generally set in the crown of the plant. However, I have not seen this in any regular Cucumis sativus cultivar. Instead, what makes Bush Crop like a bush is the short internodes between the fruit and leaves. These short internodes make the vines very compact. Similar to a dwarf tomato plant, the fruit and vines of this cultivar are all cramped onto a plant that is much more compact than a regular cucumber vine.

Though, in my opinion, the fruit would be best for pickling, the flavor is generally good. I would say that those who would like to grow cucumbers in a very small garden space would do well with Bush Crop. That being said, I don’t recommend growing any fruiting plant in a container that is under five gallons, unless the gardener lives in a relatively cool temperate and not-too-moist climate. This is because pots are easily heated up by the sun and very few vegetables do well with warm or hot soil.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Bono Cucumber in the Raised Bed

I decided to try out the Bono because it was a hard-to-find cucumber variety. The fruit grew very well, without any issues. The primary concern that the vines encountered while growing was insufficient light due to nearby plants that were growing next to the Bono. This delayed fruiting only slightly, and by the end of the season, the Bono was doing just as well as all the other varieties near it.










I would say that the vine length is moderately small, meaning that the Bono is a little on the compact side, but not as compact as bush pickling varieties. Bono is a tasty Swiss slicing cucumber variety that is quite productive.












Bono cucumbers are crispy, juicy and consistently shaped – making them more suitable for market growing than some other open-pollinated varieties. Even when left to sprawl, the white-spined fruit will produce 4-5 inch relatively straight fruit. Though this is generally considered a slicing cucumber, the fruit would work great for pickling.