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.

Friday, April 19, 2024

The not so Long Green Cucumber

One of the problems that I have been noticing when growing cucumber varieties is that many of them have been changed over times – most likely through consolidation of what were heirloom varieties through seed companies working to cut corners. As with the “Bushy” cucumber, the Long Green doesn’t fully live up to its name.











While it the cucumbers that I grew from this variety were green, they were definitely not long. I’m not exactly sure what the situation is with this cultivar, but I am likely not going to undergo the work required to bring this variety back. I have so many other cultivars that I am working to save, that this particular one may end up becoming a variety of the past. For now, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to grow what some seed companies might call a not-so-long “Long Green” cucumber.

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.