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A cucumber plant makes an excellent introduction to vegetable gardening for children, and the whole family will enjoy the mild-flavored crunch cucumbers add to meals. Several fruit types are available: short, stout pickling; spiny slicking; long, thin Asian types; seedless; and a number of novelty kinds including egg-shaped, yellow, and white. Gardeners with limited space should also look for dwarf or compact varieties.

Long, sprawling vines with big foliage, may be trellised; compact varieties are bushier.

Days to Harvest
45 to 65

When to Plant
The seeds are best directly sown when danger of frost has passed and soil is warm. Can be started indoors, but fleshy roots must not be disturbed when transplanting.

Full sun

Rich topsoil, amended with plenty of compost before planting.

Succulent fruits and large leaves require a great deal of water for best performance. Mulching reduces drought stress in hot summers.

Fertilize frequently with a nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer.

Pest problems
Cucumber beetles cause many problems. Look on underside of leaves for adults and larvae; hand-pick and destroy. Squash vine borers are also problematic.

When to Harvest
Cucumbers can be harvested very shortly after fruit set. All are best harvested young and tender and before seeds develop. Harvest daily once production begins.

Cucumber-Ginger Fizzes
Dill-Pickle Chips
Smoked Mackerel, Cucumber, and Potato Salad with Mustard Dressing
Cucumber Salad with Radish and Dill

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