Thursday, 11 September 2014

I cannot grow cucumbers!

Posted by Rosie


A bitter cucumber?

Now I know what you are thinking - but that is a picture of cucumber.  Yes.  You are right, it is. And it is a cucumber on our polytunnel at Eco-Gites of Lenault.  Maybe I therefore need to expand the title a bit to "I cannot grow non-bitter cucumbers!"  Every year I try and every year one of two things happens (and sometimes both).

Thing 1 :- I plant cucumber seedlings, they grow, they produce fruit and the fruit tastes bitter.
Thing 2 :- I plant cucumber seedlings and they shrivel up and die.





However I can grow ROUND cucumbers know as either Crystal Apple or Crystal Lemon.  I can even grow these from seed!  In fact I can grow these so well that we soon become inundated with them!  No worries.  If we can't eat them all the pigs love them.

Plentiful round cucumbers

These are today's haul and we  have been picking them for weeks. This crop are in fact a little over-ripe being a touch too large and yellow. Ideally they should be the very pale green colour you can see on some of them and a bit smaller, around the size of a tennis ball.  They will still be fine to eat if you don't mind have quite a few pips in them but I suspect these will make for a porcine breakfast tomorrow.

Luckily we all like cucumbers and this summer I came up with the simplest of cucumber salad recipes:


Cucumber, Apple and Sultana Salad



Ingredients


Approx 2 round cucumbers, peeled and cut into cubes (or the equivalent of green cucumbers)
1 apple, cored and cut into cubes
A handful of sultanas
Salad cream


Method


Mix together the first 3 ingredients.
Add salad cream to coat.

Now I know mayonnaise took over from the great British tradition that was salad cream and that sales were so low a few years back that Heinz almost stopped making it.  I know many families no longer keep a bottle in the fridge but I really do recommend salad cream for this recipe over mayonnaise. It just works!

Whilst cucumber harvests are rather dependent on their shape, a couple of other harvests are looking very good.

I have actually managed to get some of my peppers to turn red this year and the orange peppers came off a plant I picked up reduced in price very late in the season. We are yet to taste them so are hoping they taste as good as they look. 


Traffic light peppers

After a disastrous apple harvest there is one tree fruit that is looking fabulous - the ancient pear tree that grows up the side of our house is literally dripping with huge fruits. I will need to pick these very soon and possibly before they are fully ripe as I am worried that if we get any windy weather their swinging weight will break the branches and/or they'll crash into the window and bruise themselves!  They are not the best pears for eating raw but bottled in syrup or pan fried with butter and brown sugar they are meltingly sweet and delicious.

Pears galore

I now have to decide whether to try cucumbers for just one more year ... because that could be the year I succeed ... or should I simply stick to the round ones and grow something else to replace the long ones?  What do you think I should do?  And do you have you got a vegetable you simply cannot grow?  Cucumbers perhaps!


I am linking up with Annie's weekly gardening blog linky over at Manneskjur.  Do pop over for some more gardening blogs and what, I am sure, will be some fabulous garden pictures from Annie herself.

Manneskjur

18 comments :

  1. I've had no success with cucumbers either and didn't bother with them at all this year. The round varieties do look interesting however.

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    1. I think this may be my last year (for a while anyway!) of growing green cucumbers!

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  2. Shame about the cucumbers :( The round ones look interesting though. Pan fried pears sound amazing!

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    1. Pan friend pears ARE amazing but make sure you use hard pears for thebest results.

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  3. wow! i had never even seen or heard of round cucumbers. learned something first thing this morning :)

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  4. Nice idea to use them in a salad! Would they work in relish too? I've never had any joy at all with cucumbers, so I'm impressed :)

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    1. Yes - I reckon relish would work, especially if you picked them young.

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  5. I've never heard of round cucumbers. I'd keep on growing those and ditch the ordinary ones.

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  6. mmmmmmmmmmm . . . what a delicious post!

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    1. Thank you Doris - hope you get to try the salad.

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  7. Oooh I haven't seen round cucumbers before, we have been lucky the last two years with our cucumbers but not so lucky with our tomatoes x #HDYGG

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    1. I need your cucumber growing tips, Kirsty ... or we need to sway cucs for toms!

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  8. Now I am hankering salad cream sandwiches! Damn you Rosie!

    Seriously thought, I take salad cream over mayo any day of the week. Those round cucumbers are cool, I didn't know there was even such a thing - educating me yet again!

    Thanks for joining in again - pan fry a pear and eat it for me!

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    1. I should be picking the pears in the coming week so I will certainly eat one in your honour, Annie. And yes, salad cream sandwiches, I used to eat those too. Pure heaven!

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  9. How strange about your cucumbers! I wonder what causes them to go bitter?

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