Cucumbers!

Good day to you!

What a lovely day it is.  This morning we had a Wild Roots Committee Meeting!  We spent time talking about the garden, expansion ideas, and pursuing student group status.  It was a very productive meeting, we caught everyone up!  We have lots of great ideas and we have a lot to do!

We are so excited for the new students to come to campus to see the garden.  We need to recruit members and expand the garden!

Today I’d like to tell you a little about cucumbers.  The cucumber is a warm-season, cool-tasting, vegetable. The plant produces very well when protected and watered.  The vine plant takes up a lot of room and can be trained to grow up a trellis.  When the longer varieties are supported by a fence or trellis, they will produce straighter cucumbers.

You can start cucumbers from seed in your garden.  Plant after the final frost, and after the soil has started to warm.  This tasty veggie is a great summer plant, as it thrives in the hot weather.  You can plant for a second harvest in mid summer.  If you’d like to use transplants, those can produce extra early yields.  Transplant early as the larger plants are likely to die if the roots are exposed.

As the roots in mature plants are quite shallow, they require a lot of water.  They need ample soil moisture at all stages of life.  For the best veggies, incorporate compost before planting.

Be sure not to work with the plants, move them, or harvest them when wet.  (I’m actually not sure why this is, but it is an important tip I found!)

You can pick cucumbers whenever you desire.  They are often eaten immature, so if you prefer small ones, go for it! If you want to pickle your cucumbers, you can pick them when they are only 2 inches long.  The tastiest cucumbers are 10 inches long-ish, with a uniform green color, firm, and crisp.  Some varieties get quite a bit larger. Be sure to harvest before they turn yellow.  If, by accident, you allow the cucumbers to get too large, remove from the vine and discard.  This will allow the new cucumbers to get more energy.  The fruits grow fast, so be sure to check every day!

Fun fact: The inside of a cucumber is often 20 degrees cooler than the hot outside air, which keeps the fruit cool and refreshing.  Do not be alarmed that your home cucumbers are not shiny.  The fruit at the store will be shiny because they are coated in wax.

Unfortunately, the cucumber is not a great source of nutrients.  It is really mostly water.  The only beta carotene is in the green peel, which is often peeled!

If you want to remove some of the water content, you can soak your fruit in salt water.  This will keep your salad dressing from becoming watery.

Fun Recipe from Epicurious.com (link below)


Cucumber Salad Gourmet | December 2008

Forget fuss—the key to this recipe is leaving everything alone. Tossing cucumbers with salt and then letting them drain prevents their moisture from diluting the flavors of the finished dish. A long, unattended marination enhances the sweet-sour blend of sugar and white vinegar that makes this salad especially refreshing.

Yield: Makes 8 servings
Active Time: 20 min
Total Time: 1 1/2 hr

Ingredients:

2 seedless cucumbers (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds total)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves
2 tablespoons mild extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation:

Cut cucumbers into thin (1/16-inch) rounds with slicer. Toss with 2 teaspoons salt in a colander, then drain 30 minutes. Squeeze excess liquid from cucumbers.

Whisk together sugar, vinegar, and mustard in a large bowl, then stir in cucumbers. Marinate, chilled, at least 2 hours.

Drain cucumbers, reserving marinade, and mound on lettuce. Whisk oil into reserved marinade and drizzle over salad.

Recipe from epicurious.com

I hope you have a happy day!

Happy Gardening!

Adrienne W.

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