This summer I have just started harvesting cucumbers from my kitchen garden. I planted the seeds in late spring straight into the raised bed outdoors. After last year’s experience of giving away cucumbers almost daily, I decided to grow only a few plants this year. Lesson learnt!
All my raised beds have a net over them, especially in spring when the seedlings are little. This is to protect them from squirrels, birds and the odd visit from a fox! A few weeks on and the cucumber plants were climbing the home made maze of strings and the race was on to see which one was in the lead.
Well, perhaps not quite but with the summer warmth setting in, they were growing so rapidly that it almost seems they were competing with each other. Then there were its characteristic dainty little yellow flowers with the bees visiting everyday.
And in what felt like no time at all, there were little cucumbers forming … so exciting! If you have never grown cucumbers before, do give it a try as it is not difficult at all.
It was not only the cucumber that was heading for the kitchen but also the onions and tomatoes this summer.
My daughter, inspired by the fresh cucumber, onions and tomatoes from the garden decided to make gazpacho, a cold raw soup with just the pepper being shop bought. All whizzed in a few moments and lunch was ready, just a slice of bread to mop it all up … fresh and zingy flavours! Quick and easy with no cooking involved, perfect for cooling down on a hot summer’s day.
With more cucumbers making their way to my kitchen this summer, I have made a batch of pickles with sliced homegrown chillies to give them a little kick. I first made them last year and they were so tasty and crunchy that we found them a real joy eating them in winter. If you’d like to make these pickles, have a look at my easy Cucumber Pickling Recipe. Must say this is one great and tasty way of preserving your summer cucumbers!
So whether you like fresh slices in your salad or sandwich, whizzed in gazpacho or pickled away for winter months, cucumbers are very easy to grow and a must try for any new gardener!