Cucumbers are a deliciously refreshing vegetable that goes great in salads, gazpachos, and just by themselves.
Cucumbers belong to the Cucurbitaceae family and are separated into two categories: slicing and pickling. Slicing variants can reach a length of 12 inches and are best eaten raw on sandwiches or salads. Pickling varieties are usually much shorter, measuring up to six inches in length.
However, you’ll find a plethora of diverse cucumber varieties ideal for your growing needs under the umbrella of these two basic cucumber types.
Some may be smooth or prickly, have a lot of seeds or very few, and be more vining or bushy in their habitat. Knowing a little bit about the many cucumber kinds can assist you in determining which is best for you.
Cucumber plants, whether they are slicing or pickling cucumber kinds, have the same requirements. Cucumbers grow best in the broad sun and healthy, well-draining soil. These warm-season vegetables should be planted after all threat of frost has gone, and soil temperatures are at least 60-70 degrees F in your location (15-21 C.).
Typically, seeds are sown in hills, with 4-5 seeds put at a depth of one inch (2.5 cm.). Cucumber hills should be set 3-5 feet apart in rows (91cm-1.5m). Vining cucumber varieties should be spaced 4-5 feet (1-1.5m) apart, whereas bush cucumber varieties should be spaced 3 feet (91 cm) apart between hills and rows. Thin the hill to only a few plants after the plants develop a couple of leaves.
Cucumbers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with names that often correspond to the region of the world where they are grown.
Slicing Cucumber Varieties
Slicing types are mostly grown for fresh consumption. They usually have smooth skin and sensitive flesh.
This heirloom variety produces dark green, six to eight-inch fruits with a slight taper on the stem end that are prolific producers.
Ashley, a vining cultivar, was developed for the southern fresh food market in 1956 at the South Carolina Truck Experimental Station near Charleston. It sounds like a mix of ‘Puerto Rico 40’ and ‘Marketer.’
Fruits mature in 65 days, and this cultivar is resistant to downy mildew, making it a good choice for producers in hot, humid climates.
Bush Champion produces an abundance of eight to eleven-inch fruit on compact bushes. In just 60 days, this hybrid bush variety produces straight, crisp, vivid green cucumbers. This Burpee unique is resistant to mosaic virus and is ideal for container gardening or raised bed gardening.
Early Pride is a hybrid cultivar with dark green, straight fruits ranging in length from eight to nine inches. Plants developed by Burpee are resistant to powdery mildew and the mosaic virus. Vines climb a trellis or frame vigorously and provide a large yield. These burpless cucumbers have a mild flavor and are ready to pick in 55 days.
Burpless varieties are frequently thin-skinned, seedless, and devoid of cucurbitacin, the bitter taste ingredient. This hybrid vining type produces thin fruits up to 12 inches long, but they are best plucked when they are eight or ten inches long. This type is resistant to downy mildew and mosaic virus, with thin, dark green skin and mild flesh with no sense of bitterness.
Staking or trellising is required for long vines. Regular harvesting will help the vines produce more fruit and be ready to harvest in 50 days.
Dasher II is a disease-resistant hybrid cultivar with a dark green color.
In 55-60 days, vigorous vines yield thin, eight-inch white-spined fruit. Straight, uniform fruits with great resistance to scab and moderate resistance to mosaic virus, leaf spot, and powdery mildew are best planted on a fence or trellis for easy harvest.
Marketer is a sweet, mild-flavored open-pollinated cultivar.
It’s perfect for hot, humid Southern climes, having won the All-America Selections medal in the edibles area in 1943. On robust vines, dark green, smooth, slender fruits grow eight to nine inches long and are ready to pick after 55 days. It’s a mix of Straight Eight and Vaughan. It was initially introduced in 1942.
Diva is a hybrid cultivar that produces semi-glossy, thin-skinned fruits that are six to eight inches long and won the All-America Selections award in 2002. Diva has a sweet, mild flavor and is mostly seedless. In 58 days, high yields on robust vines are ready to harvest. Scab resistance and tolerance for downy and powdery mildew are both present in this cultivar.
Ideally, you should pluck this cucumber when it’s approximately the size of a tennis ball or a fist. As the name suggests, these cucumbers are shaped like a lemon and have thin, marbled yellow skin. Lemon cucumbers are best eaten raw or sliced in a salad because of their light, mild flavor and crisp texture. These cucumbers can also be hollowed out and used as iced teacups or a small bowl for gazpacho or salsa.
Fanfare is a hybrid cultivar that produces slim, consistent fruits with outstanding texture and flavor that are eight to nine inches long. Semi-determinate vines with a height of two to two and a half feet generate significant yields in just 63 days. This All-America Selections winner (1994) has rich green skin and sweet flesh, making it ideal for container growth on the patio.
It was first created in 1976. These fragile 8-inch fruits have crisp white meat and a dark green exterior. Leaf spot, powdery and downy mildew, and anthracnose resistance are all included in this hybrid cultivar. Vigorous, strong vines provide an abundance of burpless, mild cucumbers perfect for slicing or sandwiches.
In just 65 days, Spacemaster, an open-pollinated compact bush cultivar, produces six to eight-inch light green fruits. The crisp, non-bitter cucumbers are ideal for container growth and may be used for slicing or picked early for pickling. Mosaic virus and scab resistance is high, whereas downy and powdery mildew resistance is modest.
Long Green Improved
Long Green Improved is a cultivar with straight, dark green fruits ranging in size from 10 to 12 inches. It is a prolific heirloom. First presented in 1842, this cultivar was derived from an even earlier variety, Long Green Turkey, which dates back to 1778. Staking is required for vigorous, robust vines to produce straight; uniform fruits mature in 65 days. This cultivar is great for slicing as well as pickling.
Marketmore 76 is a well-known heirloom variety with outstanding disease resistance. Fruits are eight to nine inches long, dark green, slender, and thick-skinned, and mature in 67 days. The Marketmore variety was first released in 1968, and it was later marketed as a strong, open-pollinated cultivar in 1976. This variety has a small seed cavity and a crunchy crunch, making it ideal for both slicing and pickling. This is a consistent producer in warmer areas, resistant to powdery and downy mildew, leaf spot, mosaic virus, and scab.
Muncher is an open-pollinated cultivar with medium-sized fruit that can reach nine inches in length. Immature fruit can be plucked at four to five inches for pickling and is ideal for slicing. In just 65 days, vigorous vines produce heavy quantities of light green, smooth, burpless cucumbers that are mild and delicious.
Salad Shrub is a tiny hybrid bush cultivar that grows well in containers. In 57 days, dark green eight-inch fruits will be ready to harvest. It is resistant to mosaic virus, downy mildew, scab, and leaf spot.
Straight Eight is a 65-day heirloom cultivar that yields eight-inch light green fruits with fine-grained flesh and excellent flavor. The long, robust, trailing vines will benefit from trellising or assistance.
Sweet Success is a seedless variety that yields seedless, thin-skinned fruit with a mild, sweet flavor that grows 12 to 14 inches long.
It thrives on robust vines and takes only 54 days to harvest. Sweet Success should be anchored or planted on a trellis. Mosaic virus, scab, powdery mildew, and leaf spot resistance are all present in this variety.
Sugar Crunch is a petite hybrid cultivar that yields a lot of crisp, crunchy fruit with smooth, light green skin. They’re best chosen when they are four to five inches long and have a sweet, mild flavor. They can also be used for pickling. It takes 57 days for the fruits to ripen.
This heirloom cultivar, sometimes known as Burpless Tendergreen, yields mild, burpless cucumbers with dark green skin and thin skin. Tendergreen Burpless is best collected at eight inches or less and is ideal for slicing or pickling. Plants grow quickly and are resistant to powdery mildew and downy mildew. You can harvest them after 55 days.
Sweet Slice is a hybrid cultivar that produces ten to twelve-inch crisp, soft fruits with thin, dark green skin and a sweet, mild flavor with no bitterness. Sweet Slice yields burpless cucumbers that need to be peeled and is ready to harvest in 55-62 days.
It’s a high-yielding open-pollinated variety that yields crisp, crunchy 12-inch narrow cucumbers. The flavor is light, almost sweet, with no touch of harshness. Trellising is required for vigorous plants to produce uniformly straight fruit. Plants are ready to harvest in 60 days and continue to produce for a long time.
Pickling Cucumber Varieties
Pickling cucumbers are smaller and contain more spines, as well as drier flesh and lower water content. Some kinds are dual-purpose, meaning they may be used for slicing as well as pickling.
Burpee Pickler is a hybrid cultivar that produces high harvests of black-spined, medium green, three to five-inch fruits with blunt tops on long, robust vines. Fruits are ready to harvest in 53 days and are mosaic virus resistant.
Boston Pickling is a heritage cultivar that may be used for pickling as well as slicing. On robust vines, three to six-inch-long bright green fruits with crisp flesh develop. Wood and Sons were the first to introduce this variety in 1880. After 55 days, cucumbers are ready to harvest.
The North Carolina Agriculture Research Station produced Calypso, a hybrid cultivar. It produces large quantities of three-inch, hard fruit with a diameter of an inch. Dark green cucumbers with few white spines mature in 52 days and are excellent for pickling as well as eating sliced. Powdery mildew, mosaic virus, and anthracnose resistance are all present.
Bush Pickle is a hybrid cultivar that grows well in containers or in small areas. It grows in a compact, bushy form and bears a huge quantity of light green, four to five-inch fruits. After 50 days, the sweet and soft fruits are ready to harvest.
Homemade Pickle is a cultivar that has been passed down down the generations. This strong bush cultivar, sometimes known as Southern Homemade Pickles, provides a profusion of five to six-inch fruits. This cultivar is excellent for pickling and fresh eating because of its crisp texture and sweet flavor. Harvest when the pickles are young for baby sweet pickles, and allow 55-60 days for them to mature.
Carolina is a compact vining variety with medium green fruits that are three to four inches long. It is a hybrid cultivar. In just 55 days, these disease-resistant plants produce excellent harvests.
Parisian pickling is a French heirloom cultivar that was first advertised in seed catalogs in the United States in 1892. Three to six-inch fruits grow on semi-vining plants and are widely used in commercial production in Europe in the late nineteenth century. Parisian pickling is disease-resistant and may be grown in containers or raised bed gardens. It takes 55 days to harvest.
Fancipak is a hybrid cultivar that yields consistent, tender-skinned fruit with a blocky shape. The maturing fruit is protected from sunscald by medium to big vines with dense foliage, making it a good choice for growing in hotter areas. In around 54 days, medium green four-inch cukes will be ready to harvest. Mosaic virus, downy and powdery mildew, scab, and anthracnose are all resistant to resilient plants.
Little Leaf H-19
Three to five-inch fruits grow On compact multi-branching vines.
The hybrid cultivar Little Leaf H-19 was developed at the University of Arkansas in 1991. The leaves are smaller than those seen on most cultivars, making harvesting easier, and the plants may be cultivated in containers or in tiny spaces gardens. This type is resistant to mosaic virus, powdery and downy mildew, and scab, making it ideal for pickling and fresh eating.
Burpee developed Picklebush, a hybrid cultivar with compact vines and a bushy growth habit. The 4.5-inch white-spined fruit has a traditional pickle appearance: green with pale stripes. Powdery mildew and mosaic virus are not a problem for the plants. This type is great for growing in pots or tiny gardens, and it produces a lot of fruit in 52 days.
This cultivar, also known as National Pickle or National Association Pickling, was developed for the National Pickle Packers Association in 1924 at the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station. Vigorous medium-length vines produce large quantities of six-inch crispy, tender-skinned cucumbers. Baby gherkins as small as two inches can be picked for pickling, while larger fruits are great for slicing. The plants are mosaic virus resistant and ready to harvest in 55 days.
Pick a Bushel
Pick a Bushel is a semi-bush hybrid cultivar that yields a lot of tasty, crisp fruits with light green skin. Pick a Bushel is a great choice for northern farmers, as the fruits are ready to harvest in 50 days. The tiny vines are ideal for small area gardening or container cultivation, and the fruits are best gathered when they are between three and six inches long.
Supremo is a Burpee-only hybrid cultivar with bushy vines that are quite compact and abundant three to four-inch dark green striped fruits. Plants are disease-resistant and ready to pluck after 52 days, making them ideal for container cultivation.
Before being picked, this small cucumber just has to develop to be around 3-6 inches long. Kirby’s have rough skin that is usually a mix of green and yellow blotches and is small and hefty. Because they have such a crispy feel. Kirby cucumbers scream out to be pickled.
These little cucumbers will be ready to pick after only 2 or 3 inches of growth. Gherkins are stubby and short, having rough skin that is a light green color. Gherkins can be eaten raw, but they’re more typically pickled and served on a relish tray or as a garnish for a Bloody Mary.
You can better choose which cucumber variety to cultivate in your garden now that you’ve learned about some of the most popular cucumber kinds.