Americans tend to harvest cucumbers too late - they tend to be more
tasty and tender when picked at about 4 inches long. Especially if you
are _not_ growing one of the usual tough-skinned supermarket varieties.
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I believe cucumbers are ripe when they turn yellow! But most people pick
them before then. For pickling I believe around 4" and under are best, for
slicing up to around 8" or more depending on variety as long as the seeds
aren't filled out.
It can be unpleasant to be consuming grown seeds. imho
Just try them at all sizes and you will figure which you like.
I grew Summer Dance cukes(long Japanese style from Pinetree Garden Seeds)
this year and am very pleased with them and will grow them again next year.
Would like to try Diva sometime...
Grow them vertically for best use of space.
Cukes are nicer young, I think, and can be picked whenever
you feel they are large enough.
In my experience, cukes always eventually get some virus
disease (or something like that), yellow and then die.
I don't worry about it much - we've always had lots and lots
of cukes before they eventually die out all together.
And - in my experience - by the time they die out
completely, it's almost time for the first killing frost
anyway. (Northeastern USA, various locations.)
I think the easiest way to keep the cukes coming would be to
start seeds at different times, and replace the older
(diseased) ones with younger vines.
I'm going to try spraying mine with compost tea this year.
I've got some compost that is nearly ready, a five gallon pail, mesh bags
used for filtering lumps out of paint and will stop off at the pet supply
store tomorrow for a small aquarium pump, some airline hose and an aeration
stone to keep things aerobic for a few days.
I've been reading that spraying leaves with compost tea will place a barrier
between the leaf surface and pathogens.
Over the course of a week last year I lost my beans and cantaloupes to
fungal infections. It looked like powdery mildew, but I haven't claimed to
know everything about everything since the wedding. ;-)
Worth a try, anyways.
Zone 5b (Detroit, MI)
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