Greta’s Organic Gardens
Greta’s Organic Gardens is an organic seed company based in Gloucester Ontario. They grow plants for their uniqueness in taste, appearance, color, and shape. They’ve found the best of these qualities in old-fashioned plants and organic gardening seeds. They have grown and tested many old-fashioned varieties, and have many great-tasting vegetables on offer. Some of these plant types are quickly being replaced by hybrid and genetically altered varieties. By growing these older varieties yourself, you’ll help preserve our vegetable heritage.
White wonder cucumbers are Ivory-white at slicing stage (ivory-yellow when past maturity) and excellent for eating or for pickling. They’re highly productive, even in hot weather.
Sow cucumber seed directly into the garden bed. Plant the seeds 2/3” deep. There are several planting methods:
- Sow seeds 20” apart and in rows 1 yard apart.
- Sow several seeds in shallow craters spaced 20” apart.
- Sow seeds so that they’re grown on mounds of dirt about 8” tall, and 6 feet apart. Plant a handful of seeds per hill, and later thin the sprouts to 3 plants per hill.
This vegetable needs a lot of water, on a regular basis, so make sure you keep a careful eye on the moisture level of the ground. You may see the leaves droop during the heat of the day. If the ground is not dry, it is just a temporary affect from the extreme heat and the plant will likely recover when the temperature cools for the evening. There are optimum times to pick fruit, depending on the cucumber variety and climate, but a good rule of thumb is that, if you can easily brush off the tiny spines on the cucumber fruit, it’s ripe and ready to be picked.
Seed Saving Tips
Cucumbers will easily cross-pollinate. In small gardens, hand-pollination and flower closing can be employed. Seeds should be saved from at least six cucumbers from six different plants. Planting all cucumbers close together should help minimise pollination pollution, as should only planting one variety per season. Select fruit from plants which show the most resistance to insect attack.
Cucumbers have both male and female flowers on the same plant. Female flowers can be identified as there is a small-looking cucumber (the ovary) at the base of the flower. When flowers appear ready to open, close them gently with a rubber band. The next day, remove the rubber band from a male flower and tear off the petals until you can access the pollen. Transfer pollen from the male flower of one plant to the female flower on another using a paint brush. Re-close the female flower and tie string around the base to remind youself that the plant has been pollinated. Repeat as flowers are ready.
Cucumbers raised for seed cannot be eaten as they are left to mature on the plant past the point of edibility. Fruit should be left to ripen at least five weeks after eating stage until it is large and has turned a golden colour with leathery skin. Harvest fruit, but store in cool, dry place for several weeks to finish ripening.
Slice fruit lengthwise and scrape seeds out with spoon. Place seeds in a jar and cover with sufficient water such that all seeds float just clear of bottom, and cover jar with plastic wrap leaving only a tiny hole through which air can pass. Allow seeds and jelly-like liquid to ferment in the jar at room temperature for 1 or 2 days, swirling the jar daily to mix contents. A fungus film is fine. Seeds are ready when their jelly coating is gone. Discard any floating seeds, and decant water until just about to pour out good seeds. Refill jar several times with water and decant to remove most muck. Pour out seeds into a strainer and rinse. Place seeds on newspaper or paper towel to dry. Seeds are dry enough if they snap cleanly when bent.
Store seed somewhere cool and dry in an airtight jar, paper bag or plastic bag if seed is fully dry. Seed should give good germination for five years. Remember to label with the variety and date.
For more information, visit http://www.seeds-organic.com/