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Kitchen Gardening

Container Cucumber Report

How well did three different kinds of cucumbers grow in one patio container? Here are the results of the great cucumber experiment of 2012.

  • Three container-grown cucumbers include (from left to right) bright green 'Thai Mai Sai', smooth green 'Manny' and the unusually long 'Japanese Soyu'. 
    Photo/Illustration: Jodi Torpey
  • A trellis helps make the most of available space for growing cucumbers in a container.
    Photo/Illustration: Jodi Torpey

In June I wrote about planting and growing cucumbers in a large container on my patio garden. I planted three different varieties in the container, added a tall trellis and watched the vines grow and form fruit in a just over two months.

I’d be hard pressed to say which one of the three cucumbers is my favorite because each one offers something special. 

‘Manny’ is a crisp and smooth-skinned cucumber that maintains a slim, straight shape and grows to about 6 inches. Harris Seeds sent a packet of about 10 seeds for me to try in my garden and I’m so glad they did. I really like the thin skin on this organic cucumber, because it means peeling is optional. ‘Manny’ is juicy with a sweet taste, making it a perfect sliced addition to salads and sandwiches or simply cutting into spears for a snack. ‘Manny’ was ready to pick and enjoy before the other two cucumber varieties. 

The ‘Thai Mai Sai’ cucumber seeds are from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I came across these seeds during a seed swap at the National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, Calif., last September. This heirloom cucumber variety gets its name from Mai Sai, a town in northern Thailand. I like this cucumber because it looks just like a good old-fashioned cuke with its rounded shape and smooth, stripey light-green skin. The fruit leans a bit toward the bitter side, so I try to pick these before they grow too large. ‘Thai Mai Sai’ makes a good pickling cucumber.

The most unusual cucumber of the trio is the ‘Japanese Soyu Burpless’ from Botanical Interests. This Asian heirloom variety grows to more than 16 inches long, is a little spiny and has fairly deep ridges. I’ve really enjoyed this cucumber because of its sweet delicate taste and attractive appearance when sliced. Most of these cukes have grown perfectly straight on the trellis and others have curled, adding to their interest. 

Planting and growing three different cucumber varieties in one patio container was an enjoyable experiment because it offered such a nice assortment of fruit. Because the container sits off the ground, I could do the planting standing up. This system also makes it much easier to harvest the fruit than in a conventional garden setting.

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