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Articles about Vegetable Crops for the Garden

  Advantages of Container Vegetable Gardens
  Best Vegetable Crops for Containers
  Brandywine Tomatoes - Get the Most From This Heirloom Variety
  Choosing a Site For Your Home Vegetable Garden
  Container Vegetable Gardening Tips
  Container Vegetable Gardens
  Double Your Crops
  Getting Children Interested in Growing Vegetables
  Grow Your Own Salad
  Growing Tomatoes in Pots
  Growing Vegetable Plants Becomes More Than Just A Hobby
  How to Grow a Vegetable Garden
  Indoor Container Vegetable Gardening Ideas
  Indoor Vegetable Gardening How to Tips
  Learning About Indoor Container Vegetable Gardening
  List of vegetable crops by difficulty
  Mushroom Growing in Odd Unused Spaces
  Non Hybrid Seeds For Survival Gardening
  Organic Container Gardening - Simple and Easy Ways to Grow Vegetables and Flowers in Pots
  Organic Vegetable Cultivation Table
  Over Wintering Chilli Pepper Plants
  pH preferences of food crops
  Planning your Container Crops
  Planting Tomatoes Upside Down
  Potato Container Garden Tips
  Preparing a Vegetable Garden
  Review: Food4Wealth by Jonathan White
  Vegetable Container Garden Tips
  Vegetable Crops in alphabetical order by name
  Why I Recommend Vegetable Container Gardening
  Why Vegetable Container Gardening is Getting More Popular Today Than Ever
  How to grow organic Asparagus
  How to grow organic Aubergines
  How to grow organic Beetroot
  How to grow organic Broad beans
  How to grow organic Broccoli
  How to grow organic Brussels sprouts
  How to grow organic Cabbage
  How to grow organic Calabrese
  How to grow organic Carrot
  How to grow organic Cauliflower
  How to grow organic Celeriac
  How to grow organic Celery
  How to grow organic Celtuce
  How to grow organic Chinese broccoli
  How to grow organic Chinese cabbage
  How to grow organic Chicory
  How to grow organic Corn
  How to grow organic Cucumbers and Gherkins
  How to grow organic Endive
  How to grow organic Florence fennel
  How to grow organic French beans
  How to grow organic Garlic
  How to grow organic Globe artichokes
  How to grow organic Jerusalem artichokes
  How to grow organic Kale and borecole
  How to grow organic Kohl rabi
  How to grow organic Komatsuna
  How to grow organic Land cress
  How to grow organic Leaf beet
  How to grow organic Leeks
  How to grow organic Lettuce
  How to grow organic Mizuna
  How to grow organic Mustard greens
  How to grow organic New Zealand spinach
  How to grow organic Onions
  How to grow organic Parsnips and Hamburg Parsley
  How to grow organic Peas
  How to grow organic Peppers (hot and sweet)
  How to grow organic Potatoes
  How to grow organic Radishes
  How to grow organic Rocket
  How to grow organic Runner beans
  How to grow organic Salad onions
  How to grow organic Salsify, Scorzonera and Scolymus
  How to grow organic Seakale
  How to grow organic Shallots
  How to grow organic Spinach
  How to grow organic Squash
  How to grow organic Swede
  How to grow organic Texsel greens
  How to grow organic Tomatoes
  How to grow organic Turnips




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Organic Gardening:


How to grow organic Cucumbers and Gherkins


by

Gherkins
Gherkins are really just a dwarf type of cucumber

Cucumbers and Gherkins

Cucumis sativus

Family: Cucurbitaceae (Group 5)

Outdoor cucumbers are also known as ridge cucumbers because they were originally grown on ridges to ensure good drainage. The traditional varieties of ridge cucumber are shorter than supermarket cucumbers with rougher skin. Newer varieties have been developed which are longer and smoother, particularly Japanese hybrids which can reach 30cm (12") or more in length.

Unlike greenhouse cucumbers, outdoor types must usually be pollinated, although a few all-female types have been developed in recent years.

Site/soil

Cucumbers need a sunny, sheltered site, but will tolerate light shade in summer. The soil itself should be acid to neutral, very fertile and moisture retaining, and rich in organic matter. Like other members of the Family, the best way to prepare the soil is to incorporate large quantities of organic matter. The crop can also be grown in 25cm (10") pots or growbags. In the UK, it's necessary to provide protection for outdoor crops in the form of a cloche in the early stages.

Preparation

Dig a hole 30cm (12") deep by 45cm (18") across, fill with well rotted compost or manure, and cover with 15-20cm (6-8") of soil to make a raised mound.

Recommended cultivars

Burpee hybrid - 23cm (9") cucumbers, reliable and prolific
Bush champion F1 - virus resistant good for grow bags
Paska F1 - 25cm (10") cucumbers, all female, resistant to powdery mildew
Jazzer F1 - 23cm (9") cucumbers, disease resistant, all female
Burpless Tasty Green - Japanese variety, 23cm (9") cucumbers
Tokyo Slicer - prolific Japanese variety
Venlo pickling - gherkin
Conda - gherkin

Cultivation

Can be grown flat or preferably with support, eg. trellis, wire netting or cane tripods.

Sow in pots or modules to minimise root disturbance in gentle heat in April. Seeds will not germinate at temperatures below 73ª F (23ª C). Sow on their sides 2-2.5cm (¾-1") deep. Transplant between the end of May and early June after hardening off. Protect with a cloche or horticultural fleece if possible in the early stages.

Alternatively, sow 2-3 seeds per station direct in mid to end May, depending on what area you live in, under individual cloches. [Note: Some say to use jam jars, but I advise against using them, as I found that often the soil sticks to the rim of the jar, so that when you lift it off, the seedling is rudely torn from the soil - not the desired result at all!]

Planting distances: climbers 45cm (18") apart, trailers 60-75cm (24-30").

Cucumbers need plenty of water, especially when fruiting. Pinch out climbers when they reach the top of their support. Do not remove male flowers, as no fruit will form without pollination.

Harvest

The fruits should be ready to cut from July to September. Keep picking to ensure further production. Gherkins can be picked small for pickling or left to grow larger for use as cucumbers.

Pests and diseases

Aphids are the most serious outdoor pests and may transmit virus diseases. Leave for the predators or spray with derris or soft soap. French marigolds will discourage them.

Cucumber mosaic virus causes mottling of the leaves and hard bumps on the fruit. Remove and burn affected plants.

Powdery mildew may occur in dry summers, or crowded plantings. Cut off affected leaves and water well; increase aeration if possible.

Root rots are occasionally a problem. Rotation and careful watering are the best preventive measures.





Article ©2004 Frann Leach. All rights reserved.

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