Cucumbers have been cultivated in Asia for thousands of years.
They were probably introduced to southern Europe by the Romans in the ninth or tenth century and England in the fourteenth century.
The English and French brought them to the Americas during the sixteenth century.
Cultivated as early as three thousand years ago in India and also in ancient areas that are now Turkey and Bulgaria.
From India to Greece To Italy and then onto China wherever it was carried it soon gained popularity.
It has been mentioned in the bible as being freely available to the enslaved Israelites who later when free cultivated them for themselves.
Tiberius the Roman emperor had them on his table everyday summer and winter.
They devised and used a greenhouse system just for that purpose. On warm days they would wheel them out on carts into the sun or on cooler days they were kept in houses glazed with oiled clothes called specularia.
The Romans used them to treat bad eyesight, scorpion bites and to chase mice.
Roman women would wear them around their waist in hopes of becoming pregnant.
The U S consumes nearly three billion pounds of this marvelous fruit a year and is the worlds fifth largest producer behind China, Turkey, Russia, and Iran.
The fruits are popular for eating fresh and preserving as pickles.
They are sensitive to frost and need at least eight hours of sun a day. Most varieties only require only 55 to 60 days from planting to picking they will grow in most areas of the country as long as the receive an adequate amount of water either from rain or watering.
Cucumbers are popular for eating fresh and preserving as pickles.
The fruits range in size from lemon shaped and colored to ones as long as a yard.
Some of the cultivars are seedless and disease resistant.
Others are no longer bitter and are easier on your stomach. These are called burpless and require no peeling making them more nutritious since most of the vegetable's vitamin A and C, along with most of the minerals are located in the skin.
Some of the newer bush types are more compact and require less space.
Higher yields can be had with gynoecious cultivars that only produce female flowers and therefore more fruit. If you grow gynoecious varieties remember to plant a few of the specially marked male seeds. Know where you plant them and make sure you don't thin them by mistake. These plants will bear male flowers, which is needed to produce pollen necessary for fertilization to produce fruit. One or two male plants are all that are needed for all the female flowers.
Seed catalogs often divide the cultivars into slicing types, used for salads and cooking, or the smaller faster growing kinds used mostly for pickling.
Some are called "dual purpose" meaning they can be harvested small for pickling or left to grow larger for slicing.
Sometimes you'll see the terms used white-spined or black-spined the spines being little thorn like stickers that protrude from the young fruit. When white-spined ones are overripe they are a creamy white while black-spined ones turn yellow to orange.
Higher yields are produced when planted in fertile clay soils rich with humus that is well drained because the plants hate to stand in water.
Never plant too early because the plants need warm soil. Plant three to four weeks after the last frost this can also help with beetle problems because they sometimes will have emerged found no crops and moved on.
I dug a trench about twelve inches deep covered the bottom with about three inches of well rotted horse manure then backfilled the trench giving me a raised bed about six inches above ground. My trench was beside a south facing six foot chain link fence which I trained my plants to climb. The fruit is off the ground and easy to see and pick.
Garden Companions For Cucumbers
You can make good use of your garden space by inter-planting some great companions are: