Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Friday, September 5, 2014

Boston Pickling Cucumber

This cucumber is not just for pickling!
Many of my market customers tentatively take my advice and try it as a slicing cucumber.  They always report to me how tasty and crisp the little cukes are.  This fast maturing, productive little cuke should be in every one's garden.  
Actually it is my favorite eating cuke.  Pick when they are about 4 inches long.  Wash the tiny spines off,  do not peel it, just slice and enjoy.  They are rarely bitter if picked when young and before any yellow begins to appear on the ends.

The Boston Pickling Cucumber is an heirloom dating back to the early settlements in Massachusetts (hence the name).  It is believed to have been brought to the American Continent by Christopher Columbus and cultivated in the new colonies under the name of cluster cucumbers.
Pickling varieties of cucumbers were grown over 4000 years ago in India.
This prolific, Heirloom, crunchy cucumber makes a great pickle,
 but pick it fresh from the vine and give it a try on your dinner plate too.

Plant seeds directly into well composted, fertile soil 1 week after your last frost date.  The soil needs to be warm in order for the seeds to germinate.  In full sun, plant in hills 3 feet apart or simply seed about every 8 inches.  I prefer hills.  This plants needs a lot of water so I plant it in a row formation with the rows at least 4 feet apart.  Cover with plastic row covers to keep the soil and seeds warm.  Remove the covers when the plants are 6 to 8 inches high.  To save room plant on a trellis, however wind and heat take their toll on the tender vines.  They need more frequent watering this way.  A good root soaking is better than spraying.  I find that letting the vines run on the ground gives better results.  When the vines have reached about 4 foot in length I chop them off with a shovel.  This encourages the vine to branch, producing more fruit.  Remember to harvest daily, or at least every 3rd day.

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