George says: Mind your p's and cues
I love cucumber, and I'm happy to eat it in any form - pickled, raw, sliced into yoghurt with mint to make raita or tzatziki, or added to a gin and tonic along with a slice of lemon.
I've never grown cucumbers, as I've always believed you need a greenhouse to do it successfully. So I was very interested to read George's advice on how to grow them outside. Here it is:
Growing cucumbers outside can be a challenge as you need warm sunny weather over a period of time.
1 To get started, select a large tub with a diameter of at least 18 inches (45cms), then fill with 50% John Innes No 3 and 50% general compost. Then take three 6ft (180cm) bamboo canes, make a wigwam shape and tie at the top. Put the wigwam into the pot, and find a position where the plants can get full sun.
2 You are now ready to plant three cucumbers, and I would suggest the miniature species, Mini Munch F1, which is self pollinating. In addition, because it's a smaller type, the weight factor will be reduced.
3 Plant at the end of May and cover the wigwam with a fleece. This helps to keep in warmth during the night.
4 Once the plants start to grow, they will grow quickly, and you will need to tie into the canes on a regular basis.
5 You will need substantial amounts of water, especially if the weather is hot and the cucumbers are forming. You may be lucky by this time to have a number of cucumbers.
6 When the cucumbers begin forming, give the plants a feed twice a week with a high nitrogen liquid fertilizer. This will keep the plants well nourished and continuing to produce cucumbers.
7 You may experience yellow leaves at the base. These can be removed but be sure that the rest of the plant’s leaves are a lush green. Any signs of yellowing on the main bearing sections should ring alarm bells – you are either over-watering, or there is a deficiency in nutrients.
8 If we are lucky to get a warm July/August you will certainly be giving away cucumbers. Enjoy the experience of growing your own cucumbers!
It's thought that cucumbers are native to India, and they have been in cultivation for 3,000 years. They are a member of the gourd family, and although they have a high water content, they also contain phytonutrients which can help the body regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.