Japanese Climbing Cucumbers
Seed Count: Approx. 20 seeds
Days to Maturity: 55-65 Days
Description: The Japanese climbing cucumber is an early producing variety of 9 inch long, crisp, slightly tart, and tender cucumbers. This variety is great for pickling, when picked between 3-5 inches, but also makes for an excellent slicer that tastes delicious in salads. It is an extremely prolific variety, and will keep producing all summer long, as long as you keep the cucumbers picked. They have strong tendrils, making this variety great for training up a trellis or fence. However, they can still be grown on the ground, making it an excellent choice for home and market growers because of its versatility. This heirloom variety was first listed by J.M. Thornton & Company in 1894.
How To Grow
Sowing: Cucumbers don’t take well to transplanting, so either start them early in peat pots or sow them directly. When 2 or 3 leaves appear on each plant, cut off all but the strongest plant with a scissors. Since they love to climb, providing a trellis will save space in your garden, and produce straighter cucumbers that are easier to pick. Planting several radishes with cucumbers seems to repel damaging cucumber beetles, but they don't like being planted near potatoes or aromatic herbs.
Growing: Cucumbers have a shallow root system, mulches help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. Keep plants well watered; they need 1-2 inches of water per week. Avoid wetting leaves to prevent mildew issues. Also, watch out for cucumber beetles, and remove them immediately to prevent too much damage. Try not to move the vines too much because they get easily injured. Other companion plants for cucumbers include bush beans, peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes.
Harvesting: Like most vegetables, cucumbers are tender and tastiest when harvested young before their seeds are fully developed. Slicing cucumbers are generally ready for harvest when about 6-8 inches long; pickling cucumbers at 3 -5 inches in about 55 days from seeding. To avoid damage, cut fruit from the vine rather than pull. Don't allow the fruits to become overripe on the vine as this signals to the plant that the seed development process is nearly complete, and it will shut down. Keep mature cucumbers picked to encourage further production. During hot weather cucumbers grow very fast, you may need to harvest every day. Harvest the cucumber fruits early in the morning before the sun hits them for the best flavor and texture. Cucumbers store very well in the fridge. Allow the them to mature past the eating stage for seed saving. It will be very soft and the skin will turn either white, brown, yellow, green, or orange, depending on the variety. This may take up to 5 weeks. Remove the cucumbers from the vine and allow them to cure in a dry, cool place for another two weeks. Cut open the cukes and scoop out the seeds into a bowl; add an equal amount of water and let ferment for 36 hours. Remove the water and debris, and spread out the good seeds on a flat surface to dry for about two weeks. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 8 years.