Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Tale of Two Cucumbers

Okay, so I'm not talking about two cucumbers exactly, but rather two varieties of cucumbers.

The old heirloom Lemon Cucumbers are very slow to grow and mature compared to nearly any variety of long, green, slicing cucumbers.  Most years I grow the two varieties, because my daughter and I are both crazy about the lemon cucumbers and tend to munch them as if they were apples.  With a little salt sprinkled on them?  Mmmm, good!  Refreshing and with their own special crunch.

Last year I neglected to put in any of the lemon cucs because by the time they mature, we're up to our gills in slicing cucs, and I thought we just didn't need both varieties.

Dear daughter was disappointed when she found out there were to be no lemon cucs last season (and frankly, I missed them, too) so I planted my usual bed of slicing cucs and another bed of lemon cucs this year.  

I always plant my cucs in a raised bed so I can put a cold frame over the top of them.  Otherwise, they might not mature until who-knows-when because of the coolness of the first part of our summers up here.  Warm weather loving crops need all the help they can get.

So the seeds sprouted and the cucs in both beds started to grow.  But the bed that I thought was slicing cucs was way behind the bed I thought was the lemon cucs.  Hrumpf.  I decided that some dummy (that would be me) had somehow switched the labeling of the beds in my garden book.

But now, strange as it seems, the way ahead bed, which I thought had to be the slicing cucs IS lemon cucs!  The little round, yellow fruits have started to form and are, indeed, way ahead of the slicing cucs.


Lemon cucs going crazy in their bed.


Slicing cucs looking like they might need a shot of steroids or at least a pep pill.

This is the first year I've ever experienced lemon cucs being so far ahead of the slicing cucs, and I'm wondering why it's happened.  As usual, both varieties were planted on  the same day, under a cold frame, both cold frames were opened and closed (or not) each day at the same time.

Oh, well.  I'm not knocking my rocketing along lemon cucumbers.  Perhaps some things just need to be taken at face value, appreciated and not over-analyzed.

12 comments:

Tami said...

Just today I picked the first of our cucs, so you are not behind. We are! SM says they're not bitter (yeah) Considering how hot it's been that's a miracle!

I planted a seed save that I thought was cantaloupe. Turns out they were lemon squash. Lemon cuc's, lemon squash. Lemons everywhere!

Nancy po said...

I love lemon cukes, none ripe yet :( Still waiting!

Mama Pea said...

Tami - Good thing you didn't get a lemon cantaloupe! (Actually, that might not have been so bad.) :o)

Mama Pea said...

Nancy po - I'll keep my fingers crossed for yours, please keep your fingers crossed for mine!

Anonymous said...

I love cucumbers but hubby does not. I usually only plant one variety (Asian or Armenian). Have never tried lemon cukes. Do they pickle well? This year I planted an Asian style (they are less seedy and crispier than other cukes and you can eat the skin). I couldn't bear to thin the five plants that germinated - they were so healthy. Now I've got to figure out what to do with the crop that is coming. These cukes can reach at least 12 inches in length!!

Michelle said...

My cucumber are taking forever this year to grow.

2 Tramps said...

Picked our first cuke today - a Marketmore. We planted lemon cukes but they are slow - just a few tiny cukes started to form. The early extreme heat here has been tough on the garden. And we dipped into the 30's this past week a couple of nights. Crazy!

Mama Pea said...

Anonymous - I've never pickled the lemon cucs but I don't see why they wouldn't work for that. The only cucs I pickle are varieties specifically meant for making pickles. The slicing cucs and lemon cucs get eaten fresh . . . or given away as you know how many you can have at a given time!

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - I think we'd be better off if we stopped trying to figure out the whys and wherefors of our gardens, don't you? Each year is different . . . and seems all the more so each year!

Mama Pea said...

2 Tramps - I think it's a wonder anything our gardens survive with all the wild weather fluctuations we've all been having! Night time temps in the 30s in July is NOT right. :o(

Susan said...

I love the lemon cukes but have never had much success. I've just put in the regular kind and they are going gangbusters! You are so right about the weather fluctuations - I am sleeping with my down blanket on and it's JULY! Good gawd.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - We still have our down comforter on the bed . . . and it felt mighty good last night as we were down in the 40s again. 'Course, both windows were open, but still . . .