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.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Timun Krai in a Grape Bin

While the origin of the plant species Cucumis melo is most often associated with Africa, there are also Cucumis melo varieties that are Asian in origin. Less domesticated than the African melos, the Cucumis melo variety conomon is often used in cooking or pickling due to its tendency to produce bitter fruit. Often referred to as an Asian pickling melon, these fruit tends to thrive in warm humid conditions much better than many African C. melo varieties. In general, conomons also have some unique traits that make them unique from other C. melos including a spiny stem and extremely short hair on the fruit























The Timun Krai is an Indonesian cucumber variety from the small village in East Java called Krai. While the Timun Krai is generally not bitter, occasionally one entire plant will produce extraordinarily bitter fruit. Only one of the plants I grew in 2023 produced bitter fruit. By tasting the immature fruit and flowers of all the plants, I was able to ensure that none of the seed that was saved came from a bitter fruit. The texture of the Timun Krai is very fine and nice and the flavor is quite good.












My experience growing the Timun Krai was generally pretty good. I am very grateful for a couple I met at the Solano Community College Agrictulture Club who let me utilize a space in their yard for planting. I had to replant due to cooler spring weather that extended until at least mid-May. I was probably only able to get the plants established in early June. Then I experienced some major losses due to slugs and snails. Eventually in mid-June, with most of the plants covered in fine netting, I was able to get a good stand of seedlings.

















The plants grew well and watching them grow was pretty fun. The small immature fruits are both interesting to look at and very fine-textured. As they grew, I observed variations in the fruit color and profile, though the majority of the vines produced nice cylindrical fruit.

















Problems arose later in the season after I had added some free city compost. Despite its beauty, the city compost did not improve plant growth. Instead, the plants began to change color and develop little spots. Eventually, these spots turned out to somehow be correlated with spider mites. Once I identified the spider mites, I vigorously sprayed the leaves. With the end of the season so close and the fruit fully set, I decided not to invest in any other natural solutions to the infestation.












After harvesting the fruit and saving them for seed, my germination was not high enough to warrant offering these seeds to anyone, so I will just have to grow them again. My general hope for the Timun Krai is that it will be a very suitable variety to grow in the Southeastern United States. I’m also interested to see how this variety does in the climate and also if it has any resistance to the pickleworm.