Choosing varieties of cucumbers can be a bit overwhelming, at least until you know what characteristics are important to you. To guide you through the process and for information about the different types of garden cucumbers, see these articles in our special series “Getting to Know Cucumbers:”
Part 1: Two Basic Cucumber Decisions: Slicers Versus Picklers, and Vining Versus Bush Types
Part 2: Cucumber Characteristics and Terminology
Part 3: A Guide to Cucumber Types
Once you know what you are looking for, you will be able to choose individual cucumber varieties.
Cucumber is a warm season vegetable, but it does not like the extreme heat common in many of California’s inland valley areas. Gardeners who live in warm to hot inland valley areas should consider growing heat tolerant varieties. Gardeners living closer to the coast should grow mildew-resistant varieties.
Poinsett 76 is a favorite open-pollinated, heat-tolerant, flavorful variety that is also disease-resistant (including mildews). Marketmore is a classic favorite for its long harvest period, reliable fruit production under moderate environmental stress, and resistance to mildews. Straight Eight is a reliable and much-beloved heirloom that produces fruits with a rich cucumber flavor.
The Chinese heirloom Suyo Long is mild-flavored, burpless, early, and heat-tolerant. Fruits grow up to 15 inches and tend to curl if not grown vertically. Summer Dance is a prolific and heat-tolerant Japanese-type hybrid that is resistant to mildews.
Beit Alpha is a Middle Eastern heat-tolerant heirloom. If you’ve had trouble with heirloom cucumbers producing during hot spring weather, try the hybrid Olympic.
Homemade Pickles is a compact, vining, highly productive variety that can also be eaten fresh. Spacemaster is a heat-tolerant, prolific producer of full-sized slicing cucumbers on a compact plant with vines to 3 feet; fruits can be pickled when harvested small.
For a vigorous, productive, full-sized vining pickler, try Burpee Pickler hybrid.
Harvest starts early at 48 days for Persian Baby, a compact, prolific, parthenocarpic variety that is harvested small for fresh eating or pickling.
Lemon is a round, ball-shaped yellow heirloom that is delicious both for slicing and pickling, and is easy to digest. It tolerates less-frequent watering during cool weather and stores longer than most varieties. White Wonder is a heat-tolerant 1893 heirloom that produces unique, ivory-colored fruits for slicing or pickling.
Cucuumbers for Containers:
Salad Bush hybrid is a prolific, disease-resistant AAS winner that produces full-sized slicers on small bush plants. Fresh Pickles hybrid is an early, compact vining variety producing attractive plants and fruits suited to fresh eating or pickling. Picklebush is a productive, mildew-resistent bush hybrid pickler, with attractive white/green fruits.
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