Grow your own cucumbers from seeds, there is no doubt about it, a salad just isn’t a salad without cucumber, whether sliced, diced or even lightly pickled in advance by a few hours in a
nice French vinaigrette dressing. Most people used to shop-bought cucumber have
almost forgotten how fabulous a cucumber can taste when it is brought in still
warm from the sun and eaten with a touch of salt, some nice crumbly cheese and
a piece of crusty bread. Cucumbers don’t need complicated preparation – slice,
season and eat. Delicious.
Another thing that many people don’t know is how many different
varieties of cucumber seeds there are and how amazingly easy they are to grow.
If you plant just a few seeds of any type of cucumber, either a greenhouse
variety such as Femspot or an outdoor sort (sometimes called ‘ridge’) such as
Marketmore, you will soon become the most popular person in town, because you
will have plenty to share with your friends and neighbours. Cucumber seeds grow
into plants that are usually very heavy croppers and most varieties now are
resistant to the moulds and mildews which used to be such a problem when
growing this kind of very succulent vegetable.
Cucumbers are not just for salads of course. Children often love to just
eat them like fruit and there are a couple of varieties which have this in
mind. Crystal Lemon cucumbers are great fun for a lunchbox. They don’t grow
very big and are round with yellow skins (hence the name) and the flesh is very
sweet and juicy so you can eat them just like an apple. A mini-cucumber which
has a more standard look is little Iznik, which fits fine in any packed lunch.
Both of these cucumbers will happily grow outside in warmer areas or with a
little protection if the climate is a little colder, so they are a perfect
choice for a child to grow themselves and as we all know, all children eat
their five a day far more readily if they have grown them themselves.
If you are into doing your own pickling, why not start from scratch and
grow your own gherkins. This way, you can pick them really tiny or let them get
a bit bigger and pickle them in brine. Polish dill pickles, ogórki
kiszone, take only around 20 minutes to make (although the five week
fermentation is a long time to wait if you really love them) and cost a
fraction of what you would pay in a shop. Just one packet of seeds will give
you enough fruits to put in pickles for the whole year and cost less than one