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Cucumbers aka Cucumis sativus, or cukes, are a great plant to have in your vegetable garden. For starters, they make a great salad topping or stand-alone snack, and with a little work, they transform into a delicious pickle. There are 4 main types of cucumbers: slicing cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, burpless cucumbers, and space savers. It's a good idea to have different types of cucumbers, so you can use them in their intended way. Slicing go best with sandwiches and salads, pickling is for storage, and the European varieties are great for fresh eating.
One thing to always remember is to choose disease-resistant varieties of cucumbers to have successful growing. Growers choose varieties with high yields, compact vines, and varieties resistant to cucumber mosaic virus in order to put enough cucumbers on our tables for national pickling day and other pickling celebrations. If you'd like to become a pickler or share all the fanfare in harvesting cucumbers for the summer, check out our guide below to the best varieties.
The 12 Best Cucumber Varieties
1. Burpless #26
This slicing cucumber has a dark green flesh and is not at all bitter. It's ready in about 50 days, and the more you pick off the vines, the more fruit it will provide.
2. Bush Champion
This is a hybrid bush that produces bright green cucumbers. Bush varieties are ideal for growing in a container or in a raised bed. It's also resistant to the mosaic virus.
According to Gardener's Path, "Diva is a hybrid cultivar that produces semi-glossy, thin-skinned fruits of six to eight inches long." It has a mild and sweet flavor, while being mostly seedless. Another great thing about these cucumber plants is their resistance to scab. They also tolerate powdery mildew and downy mildew.
4. Marketmore 76
This variety serves double duty for pickling and slicing. They have a thick, dark green skin. These fruits are impressive with their disease resistance, so you wont have to worry about leaf spot. Their crispy crunch makes them perfect for pickling.
5. Sweet Success
This is a thin-skinned seedless cucumber that grows best staked or on a trellis.
6. Lemon Cucumbers
These sweet cucumbers are yellow and round and actually resemble a lemon. They have minimal seeds and a thin skin, making them perfect for pickling or eating raw.
7. English Cucumbers
This cucumber is very popular in grocery stores. These cukes have a mild, almost non-existent flavor, making them the perfect addition to cocktails.
8. Persian Cucumbers
These are very similar to English cucumbers in that they look almost identical. They do come in a wider range or lengths, and some have a bumpy skin.
These are a great choice to pickle, given their small size that easily fits in a jar. In France, they are called cornichons when pickled. If you're looking for another type of small cucumber, the spacemaster cucumber is perfect for small gardens with limited space.
10. Armenian Cucumbers
These range in color from dark to light green. They have very soft cucumber seeds and don't need to be peeled before eating. Avoid using these for picking, as they'll turn mushy.
11. Kirby Cucumber
This cucumber variety is smaller than normal, only being about 6 inches long. They are crunchy with a mild flavor, and are the most popular for pickling.
12. Straight Eight Cucumber
This heirloom cucumber looks exactly like it sounds. It grows completely straight until it is about 8 inches long. They are relatively easy to grow and need to have an A-frame or trellis to grow straight. It's delicious enough to use for fresh eating and pickling.
Regardless of whether you choose a watermelon, zucchini, cucumber, or other green fruits and vegetables, these summer vining crops make the perfect addition to your garden. Grab a slicer and enjoy the fruits of your labor!