~ Seed for CUCUMBERS ~
You'll notice that we don't offer any 'greenhouse' cucumbers. Greenhouse types - the very long thin dark green ones - may look just like the ones that you buy in the supermarkets, but they're more work to grow and frankly don't taste as good. We prefer real vegetables that actually taste of something - not like the supermarket varieties.
So we offer really good, easily grown cucumbers. You can grow our varieties either inside or outdoors. We find that actually in a normal summer we get just as good results outside - perhaps because there are more insects to pollinate the flowers. But in a very cold wet summer plants under cover can do better, and they do start cropping earlier in the season.
To clear up any confusion, these are real, non-hybrid cucumbers, and they're much easier and less fussy than the hybrids. You don't need to pick the male flowers off, and they don't go bitter if you grow several types. . .basically just plant them and let them get on with it. And of course if you wait long enough, you will get seeds in your cucumbers that you can grow next year!
Start the seed off somewhere warm in a small pot from late April (mid May if you're going to grow them on outside) and plant them out once they have 3 to 4 true leaves.
~ REAL CUCUMBERS ~
The plants set many lightly striped dark green fruit , with tiny white spines that come off easily. We got an awful lot of cucumbers off this one!
Quick to set fruit, bitter-free, and Robert says it resists nearly all known cucumber diseases. (anthracnose, angular leaf spot, CMV, DM, PM, & scab!)
You can grow it indoors or out, and we think it'll be quite a few years before we find anything that can even come near it in terms of yield or reliability. We grow huge numbers outdoors here in Wales with no trouble at all.
Provide some support outdoors, under cover quite happy on the ground or can be trained up netting to save space.
Order CuWA - 10 seed £2.72
'Parisian Pickling' Cucumber
It is a very reliable, early and productive cucumber, making lots of fruit with no fuss, even outdoors in the UK. It used to be grown as a pickling cucumber (picked small as 'cornichons') - but we find it also works well letting it get bigger for use in salads.
You would of course need to peel it if you let it get huge or over-ripe (like any cucumber), but the skin is just fine to eat up to a normal size, so this a good choice if you only have room for one type of cucumber, but want pickles as well as salad.
We used lots in salad this summer.
Order CuPP - 25 seed £1.77
'Miniature White' Cucumber
These fantastic little yellow-white cucumbers are Ben's favourite. Best picked when about 2" long, and terrific in salads. They have very soft thin skin, without any bitterness, and distinctly sweet crunchy flesh.
We know a lot of people with smaller families also like this variety because they can use a whole cucumber in a salad, and not be left with half cukes in the fridge.
The vines are very compact, start to bear early, and happily climb netting, or grow on the ground. Can't be beaten!
Sweet, pretty colour. Crunchy!
Order CuMW - 15 seed £1.98
'Boothby's Blond' Cucumber
This new variety for the 2013 catalogue is an early-cropping medium-sized creamy white cucumber, which is an old family heirloom from the Boothby family in Maine. Traditionally it was used to make sweet ‘bread and butter pickles’ as well as being used as a very nice salad cucumber.
It makes sweet crisp fruit, best taken when about 4 inches long, and comes from a region with cold springs and a short growing season, so it is well adapted to setting fruit pretty quickly.
Order CuBB - 16 seed £1.98
'Early Fortune' Cucumber
An early and prolific heirloom dark green cucumber. This variety was bred around 1900 by a farmer called George Starr , who was growing a field of the cucumber ‘Davis Perfect’( which is now sadly extinct) to sell at market.
In that field he found just one much earlier and better plant that really stood out from the rest. He saved seed from that one special plant and from those he selected this new variety which he named ‘Early Fortune’.
It was then introduced commercially for small market gardeners and home gardeners by the “Jerome B. Rice Seed Co” in 1910, and has been popular ever since, as it starts to make fruit really quite early in the season.
Order CuFo 16 seed £1.98
This variety from 1927 makes very pleasing long dark green fruit that are slightly tapered from one end to the other, getting fatter as you get towards the middle.
It was bred by the “Jerome B. Rice Seed Co.” of Cambridge, New York, back in 1927, to be a ‘top class’ straight cucumber for expensive markets in New York. It was popular with small-scale market gardeners and grocers for many years, but fell out of favour with the coming of the supermarkets, now it is very rare, which is a shame.
Order CuLF 16 seed £1.98
'Tamra' Cucumber WEB SPECIAL
This superb variety was thought lost years ago, but cucumber breeder Robert Bruns heard of our search for an early, disease resistant, non-bitter, cucumber, and sent us the last few seeds he had. From those few seeds we regenerated this variety back in 2002 - & it's great!
The female flowers are formed in large numbers quite early on, without any pinching out or pruning, and soon set dark green cucumbers, almost spineless.
Everyone who has tried it loves it. But because it makes very few seeds, we simply couldn't manage to keep it in the catalogue, and a few years ago we stopped listing it.
However, someone who had got seed from us before - Alan Fryer - had been so impressed by it that when he heard we'd dropped it he got in touch . After hearing the problem, he decided to take it on as a project - and produced seed for us. Undaunted by its near-seedlessness, he has somehow managed to produce about 80 packets every year since then, and so thanks to his heroic efforts we are once again able to offer this terrific cucumber.
Please consider saving your own seed. Alan has rescued it for now, but more people need to look after this one, it would be a shame to lose it. Cucumber seedsaving is easy and there are free instructions in our 'how to save seed' link to the left of this page.
Order CuTA - 10 seed £2.68
~ Some other INTERESTING and TASTY
We know this sounds silly,
Order AcEX - 10 seed £2.45
In 2011 we finally perfected the art of sneaking up on the unopened fruit and suddenly grabbing it from behind so it can't explode. Thus, the seed is not as scarce as before, and we have reduced the price to reflect this.
Melothrie NEW SEED JUST IN
We are pleased to be able to offer another unusual cucumber relative that is simpler to grow than normal cucumbers.
Originally given to us by Bruno Ansker from France, this is a rampant scrambling vine that is just covered in hundreds and hundreds of little green & white fruit about an inch long. Very, very easy to grow and great fun.
Here you can see them growing up a bit of netting in the polytunnel of our seed grower, Melissa Holloway. They are fairly unfussy - can get to about 7 or even 8 ft high in a good summer, but they'll also grow over lower netting if that's all you have.
These little fruit taste just like a cucumber and have a nice fresh crunchy texture. They're great for pickles, stirfry, & they look really good whole in salads. Everyone who tries them thinks they're great!
We like to put out a bowl of them (whole) for nibbles at parties, and Kate has been pickling the (large) surplus for use as gherkins.
Grow outdoors in a very sunny spot, or really much better under cover (but not as hot as glasshouse cucumbers would want), so a coolish polytunnel is ideal.
Order CuMS - 12 seed £1.94Note: This is one of these plants that still need their scientific classification sorted out. Some people say it should be called Melothria scabra, others think it is better called Apodanthera pringlei. Actually, the whole classification of this branch of the cucurbits is a bit vague - and one day no doubt some specialist somewhere (with more time than us!) will get enthusiastic enough to grow them all next to each other and sort it all out.
Here is Josie, aged 2, saving cucumber seed. It's really
Let them get over-ripe, scoop out the seeds, and put in jar with water for a couple of days or so.
The good seeds sink and the bad ones float (being full
of air). Pour off the top 1/2 of the jar, losing the floating bad seed
Refill & repeat a few times until you are left with just the good heavy seed.
Then drain the good seeds through a sieve and onto a plate to dry, or onto a newspaper if the weather is cold and damp.
Then dry your seeds properly and store them safely away from heat and mice.
It is important that they haven't crossed with another variety. And of course you can only save the seed from real varieties, hybrids won't work.
Detailed seed-saving instructions are included with
and also in our freely-printable instruction sheets (which you can find in a box on the left hand side of this page)
so you can do this yourself.