Growing rare and delicious heritage cucumbers

Growing cucumbers both outside and in a greenhouse or polytunnel requires a little effort for a very large crop


Getting started

Cucumbers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  Modern hybrid types produce all female flowers, the seed is extremely expensive and you cannot save it; which is why I grow traditional open-pollinated varieties which can be grown both inside and outside.  However, to get good crops the plants need to be very well fed and watered and allowed to grow up canes and along wires to ensue the best crops.

I like to sow seed of my favourite Syrian cucumber early in April in my propagator set at 22 degrees centigrade, although a sunny windowsill is fine – two or three on their edge into seed compost in 75mm or 100mm pots.  As the seedlings emerge select the strongest to grow on, removing the rest.  Once you have four true leaves the seedlings can grow on in a sunny position indoors or a greenhouse.

growing on and harvesting

Once the plants are about 20cms high they should be ready to plant into their permanent positions.  If growing indoor varieties they should be planted 60cms apart and tied to canes that are the height of the greenhouse.  I then run wires at 30cm intervals across the canes so that I can tie in the side shoots of the plants as they grow.

Once the first flowers appear I feed weekly with comfrey or an organic liquid fertiliser.  Being a short, Lebanese type these cucumbers are at their tastiest when they are about 12cms long.  So delicious I pick and eat just like apple, straight from the vine.


Seed Detective Twitter

More planting out of crops for ⁦@HeritageSeedsUK⁩ using a pinch of excellent ⁦@CarbonGold⁩ in the planting hole. Morden Yellow is an ex-commercial Canadian cultivar no longer in production. Looking forward to see just how delicious they are and to save loads of seed.


The first pods of ⁦@HeritageSeedsUK⁩ dwarf pea Tom Thumb. Gorgeous in a pot and even better consumed

A trugfull of treats for a spring supper. Durham Early cabbage, Syrian Small broad beans and Douce Provence peas all grown from my home-saved seed. I cannot claim the asparagus which I bought as crowns. Too delicious to do anything more than steam and eat with a little butter 😋

Perfect weather for planting out @HeritageSeedsUK runner bean SIMM’s Corsair which I am growing out for seed for the library. Now time needed to encourage those leaders to twine 😋😋


⁦@RealFarmED⁩ ⁦@wrffc21⁩ offers of land for people seeking to start regenerative enterprises are up on the web. Interested in a new life on the land in Monmouthshire and the Brecon Beacons. Know people who are? For Land Seekers - Our Food 1200

Great to hear @DanSaladinoUK praise @HeritageSeedsUK work conserving rare and endangered British veggies in his session at @RealFarmED this afternoon