Tightly held – Cucumbers

Yes this post title is a horrendous pun – you’ll see why later…..sorry in advance.

I planted my cucumbers this week (a bit late really they can be planted out from about September onwards in Melbourne), or rather I planted a punnet of Lebanese cucumber seedlings this week that I bought at CEREs.  I have also sowed a few (just germinated) seedlings from seeds which were very helpfully labelled ‘Cucumber’ – it will be interesting to see what eventuates.  I usually grow Lebanese cucumbers for flavour, size and texture and last year they were far and away the best performing of all the crops I grew.  I had a couple of ripe cucumbers ready to pick each day from about December until late March.  A perfect amount for salads and my favourite cucumber based preserve – Bread & Butter Cucumbers.

This is how I grow them:

Yes those are black tights (hence the pun) wrapped around three tomato stakes about 30cm apart at the bottom and meeting at the top. As the cucumber plants grow I simply put the growing tip up through the tights and that is sufficient support to keep the plant upright thus saving considerable growing space.  Here is a picture of them growing from last year, apologies for the washing in the background – sometimes my peripheral vision when taking photos isn’t great….

These plants are obviously looking past their best but as I mentioned earlier they were fabulously productive.  I plant one plant at the base of each stake – so 3 in a row and that’s it.  I do feed and water cucumbers pretty regularly throughout the season, usually applying a thick layer of compost mulch after a couple of months of productivity.

This year I have planted out 5 plants – 3 here and a couple elsewhere in the garden, plus I have a few more seedlings to come.  I want plenty this year as I ran out of Bread and Butter cucumbers in about July after the kids realised they love them – a sugar and salt thing…..

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20 Responses to Tightly held – Cucumbers

  1. Oh this is brilliant Liz, but why didn’t you write this post two weeks ago before I planted my cucumber seeds, which will now probably take over half my garden. I’ll be saving this tip for next year – though I will have to get my sister to pass along some of her old stockings, they just don’t figure among my fashion accessories.

    • Liz says:

      I reckon you could probably still stake each one individually (I’m presuming here you haven’t planted them in a line) if you wanted to. Long black boots, tights and skirt is my winter time uniform so this poses no difficulties at all for me. I find its always easy to buy skirts without trying them on, a big plus when shopping with small children……….

  2. Kirsty says:

    Sexy cucumbers in tights, love it. Mine sprawled over a ladder last year. Quite the pole dancers.

  3. Diana says:

    I have not tried growing lebanese cucumber yet. Sounds good that it is prolific. Our cucumbers too just started to germinate this week.

    • Liz says:

      I really like them – they dont look quite the same uniform shape they are at the greengrocers but they were still fabulous.

  4. Mark Willis says:

    I hope yours do better than mine! Cucumbers were a washout for me this year. Next year I may have to try a different type.

    • Liz says:

      Its funny how crops seem to vary so much from one year to the next, the previous year they were hopeless for me too – marvellous what a bit of rain can do….

  5. Diana says:

    Our cucumber not uniform as well, they look so misshapen most of the time. But I think thats part of the fun of home-grown veggies.

  6. Frogdancer says:

    How do you make your bread and butter pickles? I have one son who actually DOESN’T pull the pickle out of McDonalds burgers so I think he’d eat these. (Got 4 cuke seedlings ready to put in the garden today.)

    • Liz says:

      I use an adaptation of the recipe in Stephanie Alexanders Kitchen Garden Companion. When I have enough cucumbers I will do a post on it. If you don’t have the book and can’t wait then google bread & butter cucumbers but I think they taste best when you use apple cider vinegar and add mustard seeds, chilli flakes and dill to the basic recipe.

  7. Jo says:

    Great idea! If only stockings were ammongst my SAHM uniform of jeans and
    t-shirts…

  8. elizabeth says:

    regarding those Black Opaque Tights..were they your own ..? [only my daughters wear opaque Black Tights] ..so i would have to steal a pair…what denier were they..?.[my daughters wear 90 denier’s..im guessing the thicker they are the better] do you also have to cut them up..? thanks

    • Liz says:

      I do use my own – I wear them a lot in winter. For cucumbers (I also use them as tomato ties) I tend to cut each leg into half length ways so I have four long strips. The gusset I make into tomato ties. I don’t think the denier matters too much – most of mine are only about 60. I have used ones that are only about 45 before too and they have been fine. All are pretty soft and offer support with digging into the plant too much. If you don’t have old tights, strips of old t-shirts (or any fabric really) would work well too.

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