Over the past few weeks I’ve been munching cucumber with everything. Sliced discs in sandwiches, matchstick pieces in salads or diced and dipped in vinegar or fish sauce, lime and chilli for a simultaneously hot and cool side.
This year I grew four cucumber plants from seed, burpless* outdoor varieties, but with the arrival of my new greenhouse decided to split them and test their growing capabilities both under glass and in the great wide open.
I’ve always previously kept cuces outside (no other option was available) and am familiar with their British summer growing pattern: they put on a spurt when it’s hot and cower, unmoved, during the cooler days. A week ago we finally got some heat and, at last, those uncovered plants hit their first surge of the year, but a harvest is a long way off.
So my cucumber glut is down to the greenhouse. They may be outdoor varieties but they much prefer the comfort of their warm interior surroundings.
Such has been the speed of progress that I’ve been required tend to them in ways I’ve not needed before. The long central stems had their advances halted with a ruthless snip of their tips. Side shoots, running amok over the tomato plants and chillis, have each been curtailed after forming two fruit each. And I’ve fed and watered them repeatedly.
My reward has been a continuous supply of long, green cucumbers – crisp, fresh and tasty. I’m not going to bother growing them outside again but I will be on the hunt for new ways to eat them.
A few years back we recommended Twool twine as a Christmas stocking filler for green fingered friends. We recently heard from the Twool team to see if we still used it. Yes, was the answer, although my last reel had been pinched for tying labels to craft products. They kindly sent me another reel in exchange for a mention, and here it is: you can see it in the photos holding up my rampant greenhouse cucumber. It’s a natural wool product, soft, strong and sustainable and you can find out more about it at www.twool.co.uk. I think it’s ace
My greenhouse – the best thing in my garden right now – is a Palram Harmony and we wrote a review feature on how to put one up. It’s a great product so if you’re keen to enjoy the benefits of greenhouse gardening we recommend you check out the Palram range at www.palramapplications.com
*Apparently cucumbers make you burp. Burpless cucumbers prevent the embarrassment of a misplaced belch by having thinner skins and a slightly sweeter taste which, for reasons of science I’m not quite sure about, makes them easier to digest.