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Cucumber Questions

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by Fourmother on July 06, 2006 09:32 AM
Hi,
I'm a newby with my very first cucumbers. I'm very confused because they are all so bitter. I thought if I picked them early they would have tender skin and small seeds. Do I need to let them ripen? But I recently read that they become bitter with age. So did I wait too late?

What I am I doing wrong? How do I know when to pick them. They are burpless BTW. Any advise will be greatly appreciated!
by cookinmom on July 06, 2006 09:40 AM
Welcome to the forum, Fourmother! [wavey]
I'm so glad you asked this question. I have given up on cucumbers because they always come out bitter, so I'm waiting with you to find out what to do!

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Real women don't have hot flashes -- we have power surges!
by badplanter on July 06, 2006 01:54 PM
well, only pick them when you are ready to use it--otherwise, it may become bitter--make sure it is actually the size of a cucumber--not any smaller. if the cucumber is laying partially on the ground, that may not be all to good---make sure mthe vine is strong, and that your not touching the leaves or the cucumber itself before you are ready to pick it--in fact try not to EVRE touch the leaves. If i think of something else, ill post it so be looking!!!

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 -  - "I don't want no more of army life, gee mom, I wanna go, but they won't let me go, gee mom, I wanna go home!" My PB!
by Longy on July 06, 2006 11:35 PM
When preparing cucumber for eating, cut off the stalk end before the blossom end. They become bitter if you cut the blossom end off first.

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The secret is the soil.
by LandOfOz on July 07, 2006 02:04 AM
It may also be that some varieties are more prone to bitterness or become bitter quickly after being picked. I usually plant National Pickling Cukes but this year tried Sumpter and ... something else. Not only are these guys slow growers and have low yields (so far) they taste bitter, even shortly after being picked. Good thing I pickle them! I've read that a a lot of people swear by cutting off the ends like Longy mentioned, especially if pickling, because it reduces some enzymes that are found primarily in the ends and cause bitterness.

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Sarah - Zone 5b/6
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by cookinmom on July 07, 2006 03:42 AM
Would y'all say, in general, that bitterness is probably due more to the variety, rather than growing conditions? If that's the case, I might try them again!
I figured it must be my dirt or the heat, but I was growing them in good soil with lots of compost. The heat I can't do anything about, but I've heard cukes like heat.
Maybe I'll try them again next year and pick a better "eating" variety.

[clappy]

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Real women don't have hot flashes -- we have power surges!
by johnCT on July 07, 2006 03:56 AM
quote:
Originally posted by cookinmom:
Would y'all say, in general, that bitterness is probably due more to the variety, rather than growing conditions?
Bitterness in cukes is usually related to lack of water. Cukes are made mostly of water and need A LOT of water at least an inch a week. Especially in well draining soil. I always planted Straight Eight cukes in past years and have had great luck with them. They are an old time open pollinated variety that you can easily save seed from. They have never been bitter for me.

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John - Zone 6
by Fourmother on July 07, 2006 06:07 AM
quote:
Originally posted by badplanter:
and that your not touching the leaves or the cucumber itself before you are ready to pick it--in fact try not to EVRE touch the leaves.
They are bitter as soon as I pick them. I've handled them a lot already because I've been training the vines to grow on a cage. So now I don't know if I choose a bad variety (whatever they had at Home Depot) or if I ruined the plants by handling them too much or both. Is there any way to salvage this or should I just pull the vines out and plant sunflowers or something else instead? [dunno] Oh, the joy of learning the hard way!
by obywan59 on July 07, 2006 07:25 AM
It is true that there are certain varieties that are less bitter. One of them is Diva from Johnny's Selected Seeds.

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Terry

May the force be with you
by MrClint on July 07, 2006 08:46 AM
Your soil pH or added amendments may not be to the liking of cukes. Try some bush types such as Spacemaster or Bush Crop in some pots. Just use a high quality potting soil and have at it. You will get at least 2-3 minimum (more if you're lucky) per vine of the tastiest, thick 8" cukes you've ever laid a lip on. Check it out!

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According to my calculations, the problem doesn't exist.
by Mitzi on July 07, 2006 06:24 PM
Touching the leaves of the cucumber plants is harmful? What's up with that, is there an easy explanation to why this occurs? I have about six Marketmore 76 Cucumber plants in my first time garden. I have occasionally moved the leaves over so I can check for babies. Any advice would be greatly appreciated...
by Danno on July 08, 2006 04:28 AM
i dont think touching the plants has anything to do with anything. I'm out nosing around curiously through all my plants every day looking for food to eat! LOL! I have NOT noticed any negative effects of this. . .

I just picked me a cuke today! He was about 6" long and maybe 2" fat and OH BOY was he sweet [Smile] What gets me though, hes a lil bit dry inside? Any thoughts on that?

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