When are the cucumbers ready !?!? (picture)

angela12345(7b NC Mixed-Humid)July 4, 2009

I am a first time gardener and this is my first veggie. Yay!! How can you tell when the cucumbers are ready ? My husband thinks it is not ready yet because it is not green. Also, how do you harvest cucumbers ? Do you cut the stem and leave part of the stem attached to the cucumber ? Or pull it off the vine ? Or what ?

This one was thick on the ends and skinny in the middle while it was growing, but it has just in the past couple days filled out in the middle some. The top picture was about 6-19-09. The flower bloomed and was pollinated 6-22-09. The bottom 2 pictures are from yesterday 7-3-09. This variety says that they will grow 10", but it is a little bigger than that. I cannot believe it grew that much in 11 days from the time it was pollinated. WOW !




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Hi Angela,

I would say that your cucumber is past ready, but it depends on which variety you are growing. Never the less, I do not let my cukes get that big - normally I pick them when they are about 5 - 7 inches long and a dark green color.

Picking them when they are younger does two things:

1. Most cukes can become bitter and less tasty if over-ripe.

2. Picking cukes early and often will promote the plant to produce more and lengthen the growing season.

I hope this helps and good luck, the cuke plant looks very healthy and strong, so you should get a bunch of great cukes off of it.


Here is a link that might be useful: How and When To Pick Cucumbers

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 7:48AM
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Concur with tee gardener. But remember not all cultivars are dark green, some are almost white. Yours look normal for an Asian type cucumber.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 7:58AM
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angela12345(7b NC Mixed-Humid)

Thanks for the info and the link ... going out to pick it right now !! I will also keep an eye on the other cucumbers and see if that light color is normal for my cucumbers. This one is a burpless. I bought it as a 4-pack of seedlings at the farmer's market (for only $1 !!) but the little stick in it did not say what variety of burpless that it is, just says 70 days to harvest and that the cucumbers will be 10" long. Mine actually got a little longer than that and I could not believe it grew that big in only 11 days. It looked so retarded just a few days ago with the big ends and the skinny middle. (Although, I would like to have a skinny waist like that!)

I saw on another post ... "If they are allowed to hang on the vine too long they lose their culinary quality, but young harvested are fine. "
How long is *too long* on the vine ? My cucumber has grown in only 11 days from pollination to 11" long. This is not a very wide window of opportunity is it ? LOL. I do already have 7 more growing on the vine, so it's ok if this one was my "learning experience".

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 8:50AM
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I am also growing a lot of burpless varieties of cucumbers, and I had some that grew long and thin like yours. I actually didn't harvest those. If yours ends up tasting bad, then most likely that was one that was not properly pollinated and you'll get more that grow normally (i.e., dark green, thicker, more consistent in width). While most of mine are now normal, I still occasionally get one like yours, so I just remove those and a week later I'll have another 2-3 "normal" ones growing on the same plant. They drain the plant if you leave them on, it seems.

Good luck & definitely let us know how it tastes! :)

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 11:35AM
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that cukes does look ready or a little past, the plant looks very healthy you should get lots more. I did notice that the wood on your beautiful fence seems to be treated, as you are just starting out I thought I would mention that many of us feel treated wood is best not used in the garden, just something to ponder before you get too far along,,,,mmmm enjoy those of greek salads on the horizon.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 1:28PM
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iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

Cukes grow very fast. They're as bad about that as zucchini, in fact. :-D From blossom to table is less than week for most varieties if the supply of water is adequate.

I would suggest doing a cuke harvest every other or third day to make sure that you're getting them at their prime.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 2:57PM
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angela12345(7b NC Mixed-Humid)

Yay ! It was not too bitter. I ate some plain, and made some into a yummy cucumber marinated salad ala happy_fl_gardener (http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/flgard/msg0511341123949.html), and still have some cucumber leftover ... it was big ! I have some feta, so greek salad sounds like a good idea. I'll post back & let you know what the next one looks like. Good to hear other's experience with how the cukes look and how fast they grow. : )

Thanks for the info on the treated wood. As my house is on only 1/3 acre, that fence belongs to my neighbor. But it is the only sunny spot in the yard other than a small space in the front yard, and the fence is very old so hopefully everything leached out of it long ago. However, I did use 4x4's to line the bed to keep the zoysia grass from growing into it (although I am wearing a path in the grass because I go out to the garden so often, I may not have needed the 4x4's LOL). I don't know if they are treated or not. Everything else I am doing in the garden is organic (no pesticides or fertilizers) so hopefully we'll be ok.

I had no intentions of being a gardener ... my mom came to visit to go to a Yanni concert and the next morning she wanted me to go to the farmer's market with her so she could get some fresh veggies. They had little 4-packs of plants for $1 with 2 free if you bought 10. I thought "Hey, for $10 I could plant these cute little bitty plants and if they die I haven't lost much. But even if I only get 3-4 red bell peppers out of them, I have broken even."

On the way home, as I read the plant tags I realized how much SPACE these plants would take and promptly gave 2 entire 4-packs to my mom and gave 2 away out of every 4-pack to my sister-in-law, which left me with 20 plants. It took my hubby & I several hours over 2 days to dig up the zoysia sod, then many more hours the next weekend to start digging and chopping the heavy compacted clay soil in our yard. The end of that weekend was about when I discovered the square foot gardening method. Since we had already dug down, I decided to kinda improvise my "raised bed" into a "ground level bed" and fill it with 25% each my clay, compost, peat moss, and vermiculite (I had read that clay soil is very nutrient rich). That is also when we found out that a friend had a little hand-held tiller which he let us borrow to finish. Wow, it was ridiculous how much easier that was than a shovel and a hoe !!! We finally got our little plants in the ground May 19.

I have been super lucky ... the plants have been growing like crazy, no disease, hardly any pests so far, and all of the plants now have fruit/veggies growing (except the beans which I just planted 2wks ago and of course I won't know about the sweet potatoes for a while). Although, my $10 investment turned into about $110+ after buying the wood, moss, vermiculite, trellis netting, more seeds, and flowers. The compost I got for free from a horse barn's compost pile and the landscape fabric we already had a big roll of. The trellis support came with the house when we bought it ... we think the previous owners used it to stack firewood.

My little garden is a little bigger than 2 foot x 18 foot and I have since added to the plants that I originally bought and am already planning my fall garden and planning a better gardening space on our land when we build our new house in 2 years. Maybe I do have garden pests because it seems I have been bitten by the gardening bug !! Thank goodness I already knew about gardenweb from frequenting the building a home, kitchen, bath, etc forums.

A funny story about the sweet potatoes ... I had room leftover in my garden after going the vertical/square foot method, so I was trying to think of what else I would like and what else could be planted here this time of year. After much thought I decided to add sweet potatoes, 1 zucchini, and beans. The zucchini and beans were an easy trip to Home Depot for seeds, but where to get potato slips ? It was too late to start my own & I called all over town but could not find any. Finally, I searched out sweet potato farms on our local agriculture extension website and called a farm about an hour away to see if they had any plants ...
"Hi, I'm calling to see if you guys have sweet potato slips for sale?"
"Sure we do, honey, how many do you need ?"
"Ummmmm, I think about maybe 5 or 6 plants"
(at which point the lady started laughing at me on the phone)
"Honey, we sell the plants for $21 per thousand, if you only need 5 or 6, just come by the farm and I will give them to you !!"

Here is what I have growing ... we are growing for immediate consumption (no canning or freezing or whatever)
2 Cherry Tomatoes
6 Tomatoes (2 ea. Better Boy, German Johnson, Homestead)
2 Bell Pepper
2 Yellow Squash
1 Zucchini Squash
2 Cucumber
3 Cantaloupe (2 were in one square of the pack - I didnt have the heart to thin one out)
2 Watermelon
2 Eggplant
5 Sweet Potatoes
12 Bush Beans (with room for 12 more planted this week and 12 more planted in 3 more weeks)
... plus 10 dwarf Marigolds, and 4 Petunias
... and Nasturtiums around the outside of the bed

June 7

June 17

July 3

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 2:31PM
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iam3killerbs(7 NC Sandhills)

That's a cool introduction to the world of gardening. And your little garden looks great! I hope you're having a lot of fun with it.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 4:02PM
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heather38(6a E,Coast)

great story, I am so going to try the sweet potato thing! how cool was that! and how cool was she! she could have just laught and told you they don't supply gardeners, kudos to her, what a nice person.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 10:50PM
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peapod_23(5(Central OR.))

You sound like a natural. Your garden looks great.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 12:28PM
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My cukes are also very long and skinny. I have one that is about 7 inches long but only about 3/4 inch in diameter.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 3:45PM
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marial1214(Z 6 PA)

What's up with the burpless cukes this year? Mine are skinny and long, some are curly. Very funky shapes this year indeed!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 5:27PM
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angela12345(7b NC Mixed-Humid)

Haha !! Not a natural. Just very lucky so far. It's not because I am doing it right, I'm sure ! Well, I started this post on 7-15-09 but when I went to load the pictures, I found out geocities is closing up shop. It took me until today to get signed up with photobucket and the pictures uploaded. I guess eventually the pictures at the top of the thread will disappear, but they can be viewed on my new photobucket account http://s774.photobucket.com/albums/yy23/angela12345678/2009%20Garden/.

The following is exactly how I typed everything the other day ...

OK, so I am changing the title of this thread to two new parts ...
When are the EGGPLANTS ready !?!? ... and ... I am sooooo mad (garden thieves)

Question #1 - How can you tell when the eggplant are ready ? It's about 4" now from up inside the green leaves of the pod down to the end.

The tale of our first eggplant from bud to veggie ...

#2 is just a rant ... on 7-13-09 we saw our first(!) big tomato turning red ... we went to the store, bought eggs, feta cheese, vidalia onion ... we were all set to have a yummy yummy omelet for breakfast this morning. Went out there to harvest and it was gone ! Completely gone ! Not even a partially eaten remnant left. Had cereal instead. blech. We also had some of our cherry tomatoes starting to turn on a bunch of 6. Tonight they were all gone except for one that has also started to turn. Something keeps getting my tomatoes just before I pick them. I think it may be the neighbors. It's been all day and I am still not over it. (OK, I am just kidding about the neighbors ... I hope!)

And here are some updated pictures of the next few things we have harvested (first tomato, first squash, second cucumber which we pulled a little earlier this time, and a daylily that was just pretty) ...

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 5:42PM
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The cukes shown in the pics are fine. I think they are some Asian/Japanes variety. I have some of those too. They are slim, sligtly crooked like bannanas and the color is mostly very light green even white.

Cucumbers taste best when smaller. If the seeds start getting harder, they are past due.

About eggplants: Depends on the variety. There are indian eggplants that are the size of an extra large egg. Then there are common ones that can get very large. Then there are chines/Japanes that are like those slim cucumbers, about 8 to 10 inches long. You can, of course, pick them when they are smaller. Eggplants do not get very old like cukes fast. They are slow growers.
My eggplants just starting to flower and set fruits. I started them way way back, directly in the garden. They did not move much until night temps got around 70F. Eggplants are the most demanding plants when it comes to hot weather and sun, more than any garden veggies that I know of. Next are peppers then tomatoes, then basils.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 6:09PM
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