Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Audio Play Icon Headphones Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon
Garden Lifestyle

How to Grow the Flavor of the Year

Cucumbers have been around for more than 3,000 years, and they’re finally getting the recognition they deserve.

The bright flavor of cucumbers earned the fruit its 2017 Flavor of the Year title.
Photo/Illustration: Jodi Torpey

Cucumbers have always been a popular fruit. Their high water content and cooling properties have long been valued for helping with hydration, relieving stomach upset and taking the sting from insect bites.

Whether made into pickles or used to flavor healthy drinks, cucumbers are now in the spotlight as the 2017 Flavor of the Year. Firmenich, the world’s largest privately owned fragrance and flavor company, selected cucumbers for the same reasons vegetable gardeners plant and grow them in their gardens – the light, fresh and green flavor.

Fortunately, cucumbers are an easy-to-grow garden plant that’s as beautiful as it is delicious. Whether you have a large garden space or a small container garden, there’s a cucumber for you. Cukes range in size from the familiar hybrid slicers to the short, blocky lime green picklers.

As a vining plant, cucumbers will need a tall trellis, except for bush types that can grow on a shorter trellis in a large container.

The following gardening tips will help you get the most from your cucumber crop:

  • Select a full sun location where cucumbers haven’t grown in the last several years.
  • Amend the soil to a loamy, slightly sandy soil that’s rich in organic matter.
  • Set up a tall trellis (5-6 feet tall) unless growing bush-type varieties.
  • Plant seeds after the danger of frost has passed and when the soil has warmed to 70 degrees.
  • Keep soil moist, but not soggy and don’t let soil dry out.
  • Water at soil level and try to keep leaves from getting wet.
  • Train vines to grow up the trellis by gently tying or using clips.
  • Keep seedlings safe with row cover cloth or plant collars.
  • Fertilize at planting with a balanced fertilizer; mulch after plants grow several inches tall. Fertilize again after plants bloom and every few weeks through the season.
  • Harvest fruits early and often to keep plants productive. Cut cucumbers from their vines when they’re still young and firm.

Make the most of the cucumber flavor by eating the fruits raw in salads, juicing them, stirring them into smoothies, chopping and adding them to plain yogurt, pickling, and fermenting them. The key is to enjoy all the home-grown cucumber flavor before the summer ends.

View Comments

Comments

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest

Magazine Cover

Take your passion for plants to the next level

Subscribe today and save up to 44%

"As a recently identified gardening nut I have tried all the magazines and this one is head and shoulders above the pack."

Video

View All

We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, become a member today.

Get complete site access to decades of expert advice, regional content, and more, plus the print magazine.

Start your FREE trial