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  • Dana Tutela

Harvesting Cucumbers!

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

Homegrown cucumbers

One of my favorite garden vegetables to grow is the cucumber. Technically, I think it's a fruit, but I'm not here to rock the boat! I just want to grow them and eat them! This season I planted cucumber plants from the garden center as well as seeds. The plants took off pretty quickly climbing a bamboo trellis and producing cucumbers. I always feel like an intruder checking on them during my morning rounds through the garden because there are so many bees pollinating the little yellow blossoms! I love to stand quietly next to the vines and just observe. They are incredibly busy and make so much noise!

Pollinators in cucumber blossoms

Once these little guys do their thing, cucumbers begin growing and mature fast! I like to push and pull the vines through the bamboo trellis to train them upwards. Their tendrils are strong and will grab onto anything nearby including neighboring plants. So be careful where you plant them. Mine are a bit too close to the tomato plants this season, and it's getting crowded. Thankfully, I planted the cucumbers in raised beds where I can tend to them better. I can find the mature cucumbers more easily as well.

cucumber vine harvest

Depending on the variety that I planted, the cucumber itself can be prickly so I wear a light gardening glove on one hand. Here in garden zone 8a, I have had great success with Heirloom Boston Pickling cucumbers. They grow and produce quickly. Since the bees are busier in the morning, I try to wait until late afternoon or evening to start harvesting. I pick mature cucumbers when they are almost the length of my hand or roughly 6 inches. I find that a couple twists of the cucumber while it's still on the vine makes it easier to snap it off. However, if there are more than just a few to harvest, I use tiny snippers and collect them quickly. Waiting too long leads to bigger cucumbers that have lots of seeds and less flavor. The overgrown ones are great for the chickens. The short ones go into salads or are pickled. Check out my homemade pickle recipe here! My garden basket works well to carry them back to the house and rinse. If they're prickly, I use a vegetable scrubber and scrub them smooth. Once the cucumbers are prepared, I use them right away. They do not last long in the fridge like the waxy ones from the grocery store. I believe that's a good problem to have!

jars of homemade dill pickles

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