Celebrate the Year of the Cucumber with easy to grow varieties
Next year has been designated Year of the Cucumber by Fleuroselect, with varieties that are easy to growfor home gardeners.
Far from the long, plain green tricky exhibition varieties of old, cucumbers now come in an array of
shapes, sizes and colours, which means gardeners of any ability can give them a go.
Fleuroselect is a group of horticultural industry experts which judge new varieties and strives to protect
and promote them.
Each year, a flower and a vegetable are chosen – the flower for 2020 is that favourite late-summer
perennial, the Rudbeckia.
Many of the newer varieties are small – Mini Munch is a predominantly female flowering variety which
sets well to give large crops of succulent snack-sized cucumbers over a long harvest season, price £3.95.
Hopeline is an Asian short snack fruit of up to 8-10cm (3-4in). It's very tasty and crunchy due to the high
dry substance of the fruit flesh and has good resistance to powdery mildew. It is so compact, you can
grow it in baskets, price £4.05.
Luxury F1 is a superb heavy cropping, all female variety that produces long fruited, Dutch-type
cucumbers in unheated greenhouses. Fruits are a more traditional 14-16in/35-40cm in length. It has good
mildew resistance and a great flavour, price £4.05.
If you want to grow something more unusual, try Crystal Apple, an outdoor ridge-type cucumber. Despite
its exotic appearance, it is very easy to grow, producing prolific crops of small oval to round cucumbers
which become deeper yellow as they mature, price £2.35.
New this year is Swing F1, an all-female flowered ‘American slicer’, which produces bitter-free, high
quality medium-size fruits with a small core. High yields are crisp and juicy. It's perfect to grow in a
greenhouse, polytunnel or outdoors and has excellent powdery mildew, scab and general weather
resistance, price £2.40.
Secretary-general of Fleuroselect Sally van der Horst said: “Mr Fothergill’s has been on the organising
committee for that from the start, now through our great friend and supporter, commercial director, Tim
Fleuroselect's Home Garden Group developed a Plant of the Year campaign to promote one crop each
year in both flowers and vegetables that is suitable for hobby gardeners, starting first with the sunflower,
which was supported by a spectacular display at RHS Wisley of more than 180 varieties.
2019 is the year of the Nasturtium and the Carrot and Mr Fothergill’s has Nasturtium trials at RHS
Garden Harlow Carr in Harrogate and RHS Garden Hyde Hall as well as in Paris, Dublin, Lake
Constance and other gardens all over Europe.
For more on Mr Fothergill’s cucumbers, visit www.mr-fothergills.co.uk
M ore tips, recipes and ideas at www.mandycanyoudigit.com or on Facebook and Twitter.
JOBS TO DO THIS WEEKEND
Divide any overgrown or tired-looking clumps of alpines and herbaceous perennials, such as Crocosmia.
This will invigorate them, and improve flowering and overall shape, for next year.
Continue picking sweetcorn, beans and marrows.
Take cuttings of tender perennials, such as Pelargoniums (geraniums). If you don’t have a greenhouse, use a light windowsill to grow them on.
Bring inside tender perennials, such as Fuchsia, Gazania, Lantana and Abutilon.
Some tall late-flowering perennials, such as asters, may still need staking to stop them being blown over in the wind.
Prune late-summer flowering shrubs such as Helianthemum (rock rose) and give evergreen hedges a final trim to make sure they are in shape for winter. Start to reduce watering of house plants as light levels drop.
Ventilate conservatories during warmer days but close windows at night.