Cucumber Varieties: Discover the different types of cucumber plants

There are essentially two types of cucumber plants, those that are eaten fresh (sliced cucumbers) and those that are grown to be pickled. However, under the umbrella of these two common types of cucumbers, you will find many different varieties adapted to your growing needs. Some may be smooth or thorny, some may have a lot of seeds or very few, and some may be more vinous in the habitat or shrubbery. By learning a little more about the different varieties of cucumbers, you will be able to choose the one that suits you best.

Growth requirements for common cucumber types

Whether you grow sliced or pickled cucumber varieties, both types of cucumber plants have the same requirements. Cucumbers grow in fertile, well-drained soil exposed to the sun. These warm season vegetables should be planted after any danger of frost has passed in your area and the soil temperature is at least 60-70 degrees F. (15-21 C.).
The seeds are usually planted on hills, with 4 to 5 of them planted to a depth of one inch. Cucumber hills should be spaced 3 to 5 feet apart in rows of 4 to 5 feet for cucumber vine types or shrub varieties with 3 feet between hills and rows. When the plants have a pair of leaves, thin the hill until there are only a few plants left.
If you want to make a jump in your cucumber crop, start planting indoors 2 to 3 weeks before the planting date. Transplant seedlings when they have at least two leaves, but make sure to harden them first.

Types of cucumbers

Pickled cucumbers are generally shorter than sliced cucumbers, 3-4 cm
long with thin skins and thorns. They often have a striated skin with dark green to light green gradations at the end of flowering. They are usually ready for harvest before their cutting premiums, but their harvest is shorter, about 7 to 10 days.
Sliced cucumbers produce longer fruits, about 7-8 cm, and have a thicker skin than the cured varieties. Most of the time, their skin is uniformly dark green, although some cultivars have a mottled color. They bear fruit later than pickled cucumbers, but they bear fruit longer, for about 4-6 weeks. The cucumbers you see in stores are usually of this type. They are sometimes called sliced American cucumbers, their thicker skin makes them easier to carry and their lack of thorns makes them more attractive to many consumers.
Some people add a third classification of cucumbers, cocktail cucumbers . As you may have guessed, these are small fruits with thin skins that are sometimes called «cocktail cucumbers» because they are easily eaten in a few crunchy bites.

Cucumber varieties

Among the varieties to be sliced and marinated, you will find cultivars without thorns, thin-skinned and even without openings.
Cucumbers without burps have been chosen because of their inability to cause gas build-up, which can be extremely uncomfortable for some people. Cucumbers that promote gasification in some people are high in cucurbits, the bitter compounds found in all cucurbits, and cucumbers are no exception. Seedless and thin-skinned varieties appear to contain less cucurbitacin than their counterparts and are therefore often referred to as «burp-free».
There are many varieties of cucumbers, often named after the region of the world where they are most often grown.

  • One of the most common types of cucumber is the English or European cucumber . These cucumbers are almost seedless, thin-skinned, boneless and long (1 to 2 feet long). They are marketed as «seedless» cucumbers and have a mild flavor compared to many other types. Because they are grown in warm houses, they also tend to be more expensive.
  • The Armenian cucumber , also called snake cucumber or snake cucumber, has a very long and twisted fruit with a thin dark green skin and light green stripes along the fruit – which turns yellow and aromatic as it ripens and has a sweet taste.
  • Kyuri, or Japanese cucumber , is thin, dark green, with small pieces and thin skin. They are crunchy and sweet with small seeds. I grew them last year and I highly recommend them. They were the most delicious cucumbers I’ve ever eaten and they’ve been bearing fruit for weeks. This variety grows best when grown on a trellis or otherwise in an upright position. Japanese cucumbers are also «burp-free» varieties.
  • Kirby cucumbers are mainly purchased in the form of commercially sold pickles. These cucumbers are usually unwaxed and crispy, with thin skin and tiny, insignificant seeds.
  • The lemon cucumber is, as its name suggests, the size of a light-skinned lemon. As this variety ripens, the skin turns golden yellow with a sweet and crunchy fruit.
  • Persian (Sfran) cucumbers are similar to American cucumbers for slicing but a little shorter and more compact. These cucumbers are juicy and crunchy. Persian cucumbers are strong enough to withstand heat and are wonderful when mixed with a deep fryer.

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