sorie6(6b ok.)July 18, 2014

Is it to late to try some more.

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My experience with cucumbers this time of year is they get bitter. I think with the hot days and nights that they just don't do well. The plants have a hard time just surviving the heat to make a good cucumber for me. Others may have better luck.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 9:03PM
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sorie6(6b ok.)

OK thanks.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 7:02AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I get great cucumber harvests at this time of year and they don't turn bitter as long as I never, ever, ever let them get too dry a single time. It is heat stresss/drought stress that seems to trigger them to become increasingly bitter, and once they start getting bitter it seems almost impossible to turn it around, so when that happens, you might as well yank out the plants. Also, there is a genetic component involved, and some varieties get bitter faster than others. Now there even are some varieties bred to have less bitterness. I generally don't grow those less-bitter varieties because I like specific varieties for disease tolerance and heavy yields for pickling, but the less-bitter varieties are great for folks who want their cukes more for fresh eating than for canning.

I used to think that we couldn't get good cucumbers here in the summer, but as time went on and I got better at paying close attention to keeping them well-watered and also picking them daily, I learned that we can indeed get great-flavored cucumbers here with that very close attention to detail during even the worst summer weather. It also is very important to choose varieties with good disease tolerance because cucumber plants have lots of disease issues.

Let me know if you want to grow pickling cucumbers, slicing cucumbers or both and I'll list some of the less-bitter varieties of whichever type you want.

I always deliberately plant pickling cucumbers late so that I can finish up the tomato canning and a lot of the pepper canning before I get all caught up in canning pickles and I do not get bitter cucumbers. Obviously, for me, the late planting helps me to manage my canning time better so I don't get too overloaded at one time, but it wouldn't be possible if I was getting bitter cucumbers. I pick cukes every morning, too, so that none of them get too big, which also seems to increase the bitterness. You can successfully grow cucumbers at this time of the year as long as you choose the right varieties, keep them well-irrigated, and pick them small. If you travel in summer and are gone a lot, it would be hard to keep cucumber plants happy and producing non-bitter cukes. If you work full-time and are away from home every day, it also would be hard to get non-bitter cukes because you aren't home enough to pick them daily and to keep them from getting too big and too bitter.

The OSU-recommended planting dates for cucumbers for a fall harvest are August 10-20. My current cucumber plants, which were planted in either late May or early June are in the back garden and are producing well. I'll likely plant fall cucumbers in the front garden's better soil since it is harder to get cucumbers up and growing this time of the year in the heat of the dog days of summer, especially since our area down here remains in Extreme Drought.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 12:10PM
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I have several plots of cukes in my garden. My first year, really. All are dying but one. I put them in various places to see how they would do... and they're not in amended soil, but one. That one is a shallow hugelkulture. It's thriving. Totally amazing.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 12:37PM
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sorie6(6b ok.)

Thanks. Dawn would you give me names of just eating. We don't can. DH is the only one that eats them.
Just thought maybe there was a small chance we could get a few.
DS lives in NWAR. and he grow Market more. He gave us 4-5 DH likes them. They are really juicy.
We are home most of the time in the summer.
Thanks again.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 2:14PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Sorie, Marketmore 76 is a fine cucumber that usually does not get bitter. (Remember that most of them will not get bitter with evenly moist soil.)

Lemon Cucumber is an old heirloom open-pollinted type that produces yellow cucumbers that don't get bitter.

Breeders have bred many hybrid cucumbers that don't get bitter under stressful conditions, and one clue to watch for is the use of the word "sweet" in the variety name. Burpee Seeds offers several of this type of slicing cucumbers including Sweet Success, Sweeter Yet, Sweet Burpless (burpless types don't get bitter) and Sugar Crunch.

Diva is another that generally does't get bitter, and neither too the Japanese types, which produce very long skinny cucumbers, like Suyo Long. Johnny's Selected Seeds carries a variety called Tasty Jade that is in this category.

Armenian cucumbers are in a class of their own. Technically, they are not cucumbers. They are long, sort of cucumber-shaped, melons. If you harvest them young, when they are 4 to 8" long (which they reach very quickly), you can use them as cucumbers. If you leave them on the vines until they are a foot long or longer, they begin to turn a sort of peachy color in the center and more resemble a melon. At that stage, I feed them to our chickens or to the deer. Armenian cukes are available in several varieties---generally one that produce pale green fruit and one that produces striped ones. I've never had a bitter Armenian cuke, small or large.

Cucumbers are easier to grow in spring, since most years there's ample moisture in spring and the temperatures are not yet hot enough to stress the plants. Being obstinant, though, I insist upon growing them from early summer through late fall merely because it fits my canning routine better. Just focus on keeping the soil evenly moist, and you shouldn't get bitter cucumbers.

If, for some reason, (with our erratic weather, anything and many things can happen to ruin a crop) you harvest a cucumber and it is bitter, you often will find the bitterness concentrated in the skin and in the ends of the cucumber. Slice off both ends and peel the cucumber, and you often can remove the bitterness and salvage the cucumbers.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 3:39PM
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sorie6(6b ok.)

Thank you.
You are so much help to all of us here. I know we don't tell you enough how much we appreciate you!
You are a wealth of information. One smart cookie! :)
Thanks again.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 9:59PM
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