Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Unique Cucumbers (open-pollinated heirlooms).

Here are some featured varieties for my 2011 garden. Having become bored with the normal offerings of cucumbers that most people plant year after year, I thought it was time to re-introduce some wonderful and unique heirloom varieties. The cucumbers listed here, are available at Seed Savers Exchange a non-profit organization, specializing in Open Pollinated Heirloom Seeds. http://www.seedsaver.org/  

True Lemon: This heirloom is from around 1894. Once popular in Australian markets. VERY productive. Fruits are short and plump about the size, shape, and color of a lemon. Mature fruits have a faint lemony (citrus) flavor. Very easy on the digestion for those few, who experience gastric discomfort when eating cucumbers.  
Uses: Fresh Eating, Salads, and Pickling.
Rust and drought resistant.
58-70 days.                     

Poona Kheera: A truly unique cucumber, originally from Poona India. The mature cucumber looks like a russet potato. It has a smooth skin and the fruits ripen from White to Golden-Yellow to Russet Brown. They may be eaten at any stage. Tender, crisp and delicious with good yields and disease resistance.
Uses: Fresh Eating and Salads.
Note: No info about pickling this one, and although it may be good, due to its brown color when mature, it would be rather unattractive in the jar. Perhaps pickling it when young and the color is either white or yellow. Also, no info on how well it holds up to Brining.
55 days.

Crystal Apple: These cucumbers also use to be quite popular in Australia and New Zealand. An heirloom from around 1934 with a shape of an apple when mature, hence, its name. Sweet flavored with a very tender creamy ‘off white’ skin.
Uses: Fresh Eating and Salads.
65 days

Mexican Sour Gherkin: An heirloom recently rediscovered. Vines produce abundant crops of 1-2 inch cucumbers that look like tiny watermelons. Sweet flavor followed by a contrasting sourness, as if they were pickled. This is a good one to grow on a trellis, or in trellised pots on the patio.
Uses: Fresh Eating. This is just, a delicious and fun bite size cucumber to eat.
60-70 days.

The images above are owned by and courtesy of Seed Savers Exchange. www.seedsavers.org

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