I love cucumbers, but this spring was the first time that I decided to try to grow some myself. Because of the limited space available in my raised bed, I thought that this viney fruit deserved some space to grow so I only planted one plant to try it out.
Well, I planted a small starter plant called” Dwarf Bush Cucumber. As it turned out I need not worry about not having enough space. This little plant is in fact, a little plant! It has remained small and compact with small vines that curl like a pretzel and the little cucumber blossoms are popping out all along these vines and the cute little “cukes”, no bigger than 6 inches long or less have followed right behind.
They have that sweet and clean smell that I like so much about cucumbers. The vine and the cucumbers are rather “spinney “ so brush them firmly with a garden glove to eliminate that potential “ouch-ee” from the spines. The insides are quite firm with minimal seeds and medium moisture.
So far, they seem impervious to insect damage and compared to my summer squash plant which has now traveled to my neighbor’s yard, these little guys stay well contained within a 3 to 4 foot radius so they would probably grow well in a pot on the patio.
I will definately try these cucumbers again next year, and I will plant more now that I know that these dwarf “cukes” are so well behaved. Slice and eat off the vine, in a salad or try this yummy recipe for chilled cucumber soup courtesy of Paul Parent. Enjoy them it’s a short season!
Chilled Cucumber Soup
1 pound small pickling cucumbers peeled, (sliced the long way and seeded,
then cut into ½ inch slices)
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ cups plain yogurt
1 green onion (chopped)
1 garlic clove (minced)
4 ½ teaspoons snipped fresh dill
In a colander set over a bowl, toss the cucumber and sea salt let it stand for 15 minutes. Squeeze and pat dry with a dish towel.
Place the cucumbers, yogurt, onions, and garlic in a food processor, cover and process until smooth. Stir in the chopped Dill. Serve in “chilled bowls” and garnish with more Dill and onion.
Try serving the chilled soup with a chicken salad, tuna salad or shrimp salad on a bed of lettuce and a glass of ice tea. Makes a great lunch on a hot summer day.