What if I told you that there was a cucumber that you could grow almost anywhere, never gets bitter, is “burpless,” and always tastes delicious? No, really! I’m taking about the Armenian cucumber, Cucumis melo var. flexuosus. You may have seen these advertised in the seed catalogs as the “yard long cucumber.” It is actually a melon that is grown, harvested, and eaten as a cucumber.
In my part of central Texas, growing ordinary cucumbers was always a challenge. The summers come early and hot. Just when I thought that I had a decent crop of cucumbers, I’d find that they were bitter as gall and completely inedible. I tried lots of different types that were advertised as varieties that would not to get bitter, but the results were always disappointing. Then I decided to try the Armenian cucumber. What a difference.
The seeds are planted after the last frost, about an inch deep and six inches apart, in a location that receives full sun. The vines start producing fruit after about fifty days. If you provide a trellis or fence for them to climb on, the cucumbers will be nice and straight. If you let them grow on the ground, they will curl themselves up into circles and spirals. The fruits can grow to be up to three feet long, which is how they got the nickname of “yard long,” but the quality is best if you pick them at twelve inches or less.
The flavor is very mild. The flesh is firm, and a little on the dry side. The seeds are small. The entire fruit is edible; you don’t even need to peel them. These cucumbers are great when sliced fresh or made into cucumber salad. I haven’t tried making pickles from them yet, but I think they would do just fine.
This is the second year that I’ve grown the Armenian cucumbers and I’ll probably never grow any other kind. Give them a try.
Thanks to ThistleDew for participating in the [Grow] Network Writing Contest. We have over $1,500 in prizes lined up for the current writing contest, with more to come. Here is a list of the current pot of prizes:
– A 21.5 quart pressure canner from All American, a $380 value
– A Survival Still emergency water purification still, a $279 value
– 1 year of free membership in the [Grow] Network Core Community, a $240 value
– A copy of The Summer of Survival Complete Collection from Life Changes Be Ready, a $127 value
– 2 copies of the complete Home Grown Food Summit, valued at $67 each
– 3 free 3 month memberships in the [Grow] Network Core Community, valued at $60 each
– The complete 2014 Grow Your Own Food Summit interview series, a $47 value
– 4 copies of the Grow Your Own Groceries DVD video set, valued at $42 each
– A Bug Out Seed Kit from the Sustainable Seed Company, a $40 value
– 4 copies of the Alternatives To Dentists DVD video, valued at $32 each