Cucumber Varieties: Best Bets and Easy-to-Grow

Cucumber in gardenuHere are 20 top-performing cucumbers for the home garden divided into 5 popular cucumber types: (1) slicing, (2) pickling, (3) burpless, and (4) space savers for small gardens and containers,

(Keep reading to the bottom of this post for my tips for sure-fired cucumber growing success.)

Slicing Cucumbers Varieties:

Dasher II. 55-60 days. CMV, DM, PM, S. Cool, crisp flesh and great flavor. Slim dark-green fruit, 8½ inches long 2¼ inches across. Standard slicing fruit. Compact heavy yielding plants. Hybrid.

Greensleeves. 53 days. Excellent for salads and slicing. Dark-green, cylindrical fruit to 8½ inches long; uniform size, slightly tapered; small seed cavity. Good yield in home garden on vigorous vines. Responds well to touch conditions. Early maturing. Gyonecious, mostly female flowers.

Marketmore 76. 58 days. ALS, AN, CMV, DM, S. Standard slicing fruit, uniform size, long and slender. Dark green fruit, 8 to 9 inches long; white spined; has uniform dark green color gene which reduces the number of yellow bellies at harvest time. Very good in home gardens. Open-pollinated.

Marketmore 80. 61-68 days. DM, ALS, AN, CMV, DM, PM, S. Improved Marketmore 76. Bitter free even when large; for salads and slicing. Blocky, firm skinned, dark-green fruits 6 to 8 inches long, 2½ in diameter. Good cool season main crop; plant in the fall in warm-winter gardens. Open-pollinated.

Raider. 50-52 days. ALS, CMV, S. Excellent flavor; for salads and slicing. Straight, cylindrical, smooth, glossy, deep-green skin; uniform size. Vigorous, robust vines. Plant early, does well in Canada and cool northern gardens. Gyonecious, mostly female flowers Hybrid.

Slice Master Hybrid. 48-55 days. ALS, AN, DM, M, PM, S. Tasty slicing fruit. Dark-green fruit to 8½ inches. Early variety. Good yield. Mostly female flowers. Hybrid.

Straight Eight. 58 days. AAS. Great taste; excellent slicing’ also for pickling. Uniform, straight, deep-green fruit, 6 to 9 inches long 2½ inches in diameter, rounded at ends, white spined; small seed cavity. Small, vigorous, high yield vine for home garden; extended harvest. Heirloom. Open-pollinated.

Sweet Success. 55-58 days. AAS, AN, ALS, CMV, DM. PM. S. Sweet, crisp, flavor. No bitterness. Thin skin does not require peeling. Smooth, straight, medium-green fruit 12 to 14 inches long; white spined; seedless. Vigorous, high yield vine sets fruit without pollination. Best grown on stake or trellis, suitable for greenhouse cultivation. Hybrid.

Burpless Cucumber Varieties:

Burpless Hybrid. 62 days. CMV, DM, PM, S. Crisp, mild flesh, low in acid, non-bitter, easy to digest. burpless. Excellent for slicing or pickling. Straight, slender, bright-green fruit 10 to 12 inches long. Vigorous vine, high yield over a long season. Grow on trellis. Hybrid.

Orient Express. 64 days. DM. Crunchy, crisp, succulent, mild, burpless fruit; easy to digest. Peeling skin is not necessary. Slim, straight, dark-green fruits, 12 to 14 inches long, 1½ inches across. Vigorous vine; grow on trellis or fence. Hybrid.

Sweet Slice. 55-62 days. AN, CMV, DM, S, PM. Very sweet, crisp, non-bitter, burpless. Straight, cylindrical, dark-green fruit 10 to 12 inches long 2½ inches in diameter. Thin tender skin does not require peeling. Vigorous vine, good yield, over long season. Hybrid.

Space-Saver Cucumber Varieties:

Bush Champion. 60-80 days. M. Suitable for container growing. Staight, bright-green fruit 9 to 11 inches long. Short compact plant. Produces both male and female flower over a long season.

Bush Crop. 55 days. Flavorful, crisp, tender fruit. For slicing and salads. Excellent for containers and small gardens. Straight medium-green fruit 6 to 8 inches long. Dwarf, bushy plant to 3 feet tall, nearly free of runners. Very productive. Hybrid.

Bush Whopper. 55 days. For small gardens and containers. Large 8 to 12 inch fruit on dwarf, mound-shaped plants, no runners; heavy yield over long season.

Fanfare. 63 days. AAS. Disease tolerant. Great taste. Smooth, slender, green fruit 8 to 9 inches long. Uniform green no yellow bellies. Dwarf bush, high yield, early maturity, extended harvest. Hybrid.

Pot Luck. 50-58 days. CMV, S. For pots, window boxes, limited-space gardens. Straight, medium- to dark-green fruit 6½ to 7 inches long 2¼ inches in diameter, slightly tapered; white spines. Vigorous, short-vined plant; extremely productive.

Salad Bush. 57 days. AAS. CMV, DM, PM, S. Very tasty. Slicing cucumber, Uniform, smooth, dark-green fruits to 8 inches long. Dwarf plant to 24 inches tall and wide; good choice for container growing. High yield. Hybrid.

Spacemaster. 58 days. M, S. Suitable for containers. Smooth, cylindrical, dark-green fruit 7 to 8 inches long. Compact short-vined plant to 24 inches tall and wide. Very productive. Pick regularly to avoid misshapen fruit late in season. Open-pollinated.

Pickling Cucumber Varieties:

County Fair 83. 48-53 days. AN, DM, M. PM, S. Sweet, full flavor, mild, easy to digest, no bitterness Fruit to 3 inches long almost seedless if kept away from other cucumbers. Pickler for chips, spears, whole pickling. Predominately female flowers. Vigorous, strong vines for home gardens. Hybrid.

National Pickling. 53 days. M, S. Solid, crispy. Dark-green, blocky fruit to 5 to 7 inches long, 2½ inches wide; black spines. For sweet and dill pickles. Heavy yield over long season. Early harvest from vigorous vines. Hybrid.

Pickle Bush. 52 days. CMV, PM. Tasty, crisp fruit. Deep-green fruit with pale green stripes to 4½ inches long, 1½ inches across; blocky, classic pickle look. Very productive, compact vines to 2 feet long; suitable for containers.

Regal. 48-52 days. Resistant to most diseases. Long, slim shape for pickle chips, spears, whole pickles; good brining quality. Early producing high yields over long season. Gyonecious, mostly female flowers. Excellent for home gardens in all regions. Hybrid.

Saladin. 55 days. AAS, DM, CMV, PM. Crisp, tender skinned. For pickling or fresh eating; pick at any stage. Curved, bright-green fruit to about 5 inches long by 1¾ inches wide; small seeds. Good choice for greenhouse growing. Mostly female flowers. European origin. Hybrid.

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Cucumber Growing Success Tips

A big cucumber harvest requires just a bit of extra effort early in the season. Here are three must-dos for cucumbers success:

Turn away cucumber beetles when plants are young. Cucumber beetles eat plants and spread disease. Set floating row covers over seeded rows and seedling to exclude cucumber beetles early. Lift row covers when plants begin to flower.

Keep your crop off the ground. Train cucumbers up a vertical of A-frame trellis. Cucumbers are climbers; let them climb. Fruit hanging off a trellis will grow straight and be easy to pick. Start training cucumbers up when they begin to flower.

Prevent fungal disease from getting a grip on the garden. Avoid overhead irrigation; use a soaker hose or drip irrigation. Spray vines early in the day with compost tea to protect plants from fungal spores. Keep the garden free of weeds which can harbor pests and diseases.

Here are some additional cucumber growing tips:

Planting. Plant cucumbers in full sun in rich soil. Sow seeds or set out seedlings in raised hills or in rows after all danger of frost has passed in spring and the soil has warmed to at least 60°. Successive crops can follow 4 weeks later. Plant one side of the trellis early and the other side later.

Early care. Keep cucumbers evenly moist. Mulch to conserve soil moisture once the soil has warmed. Exclude cucumbers beetles from young plants with floating row covers. Cucumber beetles spread bacterial wilt and eat seedlings. This effort will pay dividends.

Choose the right variety. Choose disease-resistant varieties and choose the variety right for your needs: slicing cucumbers are for salads and sandwiches; pickling cucumbers are for storing; and European cucumbers are for fresh eating–they are tender skinned, have no seeds, and mild flavored. Double check the cucumber’s pollination requirement: gynoecious cucumber varieties produce female flowers only and require a separate male pollinator (these are usually disease resistant); parthenocarpic varieties produce only female flowers but do not require a pollinator–these are a good choice for greenhouse growing.

 

Abbreviations:

AAS=All America Selection, resists most disease.

ALS=Angular leaf spot.

AN=Anthracnose.

CMV=Cucumber mosaic virus.

DM=Downy mildew.

M=Mosaic virus.

PM=Powdery mildew.

S=Scab.