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Growing Armenian cucumbers is an excellent method to guarantee a continuous supply of cucumbers throughout the hot summer months. The Armenian cucumber is one of my garden’s most popular veggies, although it is not a cucumber. It’s a muskmelon with strong vines that produce long, thin fruits that appear and taste like cucumbers; crisp, slightly sweet, and never harsh. Armenian cucumbers are simple to cultivate, prolific, and resistant to heat. Continue reading to discover more about this one-of-a-kind veggie.
This is fantastic news for those of us who live in the desert and want cucumbers all summer. Armenian cucumbers (also known as yard-long cucumbers) were first grown in Armenia in the 15th century. They are really a ribbed type of musk melon that tastes and looks like a cucumber on the inside. They are also rich in potassium and vitamins A, C, and K. Have I persuaded you to cultivate Armenian cucumbers?
What exactly are Armenian cucumbers?
Seed businesses sell Armenian cucumber, also known as snake cucumber, yard long cucumber, and cucumber melon. They were introduced to me by my Lebanese in-laws. Armenian cucumbers, also known as metki in Lebanon, are a common produce cultivated in home gardens. The plants are robust, easy to cultivate, and thrive in the summer heat. I like them so much that I included them in my award-winning book, Veggie Garden Remix!
The most popular type in seed catalogs has light green skin, although there are also deep green and even striped variants. And the skin is so thin that there’s no need to remove it before eating. The fruits are also fuzzy, particularly when young, although the fuzz readily rubs off when cleaned. Cucumbers are harvested when they are 8 to 10 inches long, although they may grow to reach three feet long. At the end of the summer, I allow one of my fruits to develop so that I may harvest and preserve the seeds for future plantings.
The Armenian cucumber is one of my garden’s most popular veggies, although it is not a cucumber. It’s a muskmelon with strong vines that produce long, thin fruits that appear and taste like cucumbers; crisp, slightly sweet, and never harsh. Armenian cucumbers are simple to cultivate, prolific, and resistant to heat. Continue reading to discover more about this one-of-a-kind veggie.
Growing Armenian Cucumber Seeds
Armenian cucumbers may be planted directly in the garden or started indoors. Harvesting occurs approximately 70 days after planting, which is about the same length of time as cucumbers. I plant seeds in cell packs and trays under my grow lights about a month before the last anticipated spring frost, using a heating pad to speed up germination for this heat-loving crop.
Around a week following the last frost date, the seedlings are hardened off and transferred to the garden. I put them 12 to 18 inches apart at the base of a trellis or other support. I also transplanted them into my polytunnel’s Smart Pot Long Beds, planting four in each area. The seedlings will climb up the twine supports that dangle from the cross trusses in my tunnel as they develop.
To direct plant seeds in the garden, wait until the last frost date has passed and the soil temperature has reached at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 C). Before planting, cover the soil with a piece of black plastic and leave it in place for 10 to 14 days. Before planting, choose a sunny garden bed and dig in a couple of inches of compost or old manure.
You may also use granular organic fertilizer to give a gradual, consistent feed throughout the season. Plant seeds six inches apart at the base of a trellis or fence, gradually thinning to 12 to 18 inches apart. If you are not trellising the plants, sow the seeds 18 inches apart and thin to 36 inches apart after the seedlings are well-developed.
5 Gardening Tips for Growing Armenian Cucumbers
1. Armenian cucumbers grow well in hot weather.
Heat tolerance is their most important characteristic; high temperatures do not affect these plants. Before planting, enrich the soil with compost. Plant 2-3 seeds 12 to 1 inch thick, 1 foot apart, while the weather is warm (consistent days above 65 °F are ideal, and 80 °F is even better). to 1 plant per foot when seeds are 3-4 inches tall.
Although they are heat resilient, they need uniform and regular watering to avoid bitterness. Armenian cucumbers are one of just a few vegetables that may be grown in the low desert until the beginning of July.
2. Make enough room in the garden for Armenian cucumbers to grow.
- Armenian cucumbers thrive on vines and may quickly take over a garden; keep an eye out for indications of pests and illness to detect it early.
- Plants that are overcrowded are more vulnerable to pests and diseases such as powdery mildew and squash bugs.
- Plant Armenian cucumbers in a different location than you previously planted other melons, squash, or cucumbers.
- Armenian cucumbers love corn as a companion plant, and they can climb it like a trellis.
- Armenian cucumbers are best when planted on a trellis to keep them off the ground. Fruit that has been trellised will grow straighter.
3. Everything revolves around flowers.
Armenian cucumbers feature blooms that are both male and female. Male flowers will emerge initially and will continue to bloom for approximately 2 weeks; female flowers will follow around 2 weeks later. Yellow is the color of both kinds of flowers. Male flowers will blossom and, ideally, be visited by a pollinator who will transfer pollen to the female flower before withering and falling off.
Female flowers are bulbous, bloom, and grow into fruit if pollinated. Blooms are plentiful, and hand-pollination is seldom required. Plant oregano, basil, and other blooming plants close to attract bees.
4. Pick Armenian cucumbers frequently while they are young.
- Although fruits may grow to be 3 feet long in a matter of minutes, they are best harvested when they are 12-18 inches long and 2 inches in diameter.
- To extend the storage duration, pick the fruit early in the day and soak it in cold water.
- Remove the fruit off the vine; tugging may cause harm to the vine.
- Leaving fruit on the vine for an extended period of time tells the plant to halt or cease production.
- The seeds in bigger fruits are larger and more visible. The larger fruit tastes more like watermelon rind than cucumber.
5. Enjoy your garden’s bounty of Armenian cucumbers.
A few plants will produce almost as many Armenian cucumbers as you can eat. Here are a few ideas on how to enjoy them:
- There’s no need to peel fresh Armenian cucumbers since their skin is thin and delicious.
- Cucumbers may be used in salads, dips, sushi, and sandwiches, just like cucumbers.
- Pickled Armenian cucumbers are excellent.
- Grill them in veggie kabobs or puree them in smoothies.
- It pairs well with pork, seafood, mint, oregano, dill, yogurt, and feta cheese.
Vertically growing Armenian cucumber vines
There are many advantages to growing this crop vertically. For starters, it enables you to make the most of your expanding area. Ground-grown Armenian cucumber plants may take up a lot of space in the yard. Providing support lifts the vines off the ground, allowing you to make the most of your garden space. Vertical growth may, of course, help to minimize pest and disease issues. I also found that when the fruits are hanging from a trellis rather than hidden under a tangle of leaves on the ground, they are easier to see.
Armenian cucumber plants have tendrils that allow them to climb quickly. In my raised bed vegetable garden, I grow them up tunnels, trellises, and garden obelisks, and in my polytunnel, I grow them up twine. If you have a chain link fence and want some seclusion during the summer, this is the plant for you! From midsummer until frost, the vines rapidly form a temporary living screen and supply you with an abundance of delicious fruits.