Hairy, spiky, round and knobbly cucumbers at Harlow Carr

Hairy, spiky, round and knobbly cucumbers at Harlow Carr

Published by May Norman at 2:19pm 1st August 2019.

 

 

Unusually-shaped cucumbers are flourishing at RHS Garden Harlow Carr in Harrogate this week because of the recent hot weather.

This year eighteen weird and wonderful cucumber cultivars (Cucumis sativus) are being grown at the garden for the first time – from round and hairy to long and slender, and even short and knobbly.

All are edible and while many have the familiar mild taste we know and love, some offer slightly different flavours: the creamy white fruits of cucumber ‘White Wonder’ for example have a sweet citrus flavour and crisp crunchy flesh and are the perfect addition to a gin and tonic.

Kitchen gardener Joe Lofthouse is overseeing Harlow Carr’s quirky cucumber display, which can be found in the Kitchen Garden greenhouse.

Cucumbers - Harlow Carr

The cucumbers are flourishing in the extra humidity caused by the hot weather. One cultivar – ‘Telegraph Improved’ – has produced fruit that has more than doubled in size in a single day.

In addition to the wealth of shapes, sizes, colours and textures, many of the cucumbers have fabulous names: ‘Burpless Tasty Green’, ‘Mini Munch’, ‘Chinese Slangen’ and ‘Zipangu’.

Joe says:

“The cucumbers are enjoying the hot weather and are thriving in the heat of the Glasshouse, although they have been getting a bit thirsty so we have been watering them well. Unlike the wet and horrible summers we had a few years ago, these are the perfect conditions for growing cucumbers.”

The cucumber seeds – part of the gourd (Cucurbitaceae) family - started life in a heated greenhouse at Harlow Carr in mid-March before being potted on into 2-litre pots and plunged into growbags in the unheated Kitchen Garden greenhouse in mid-May.  

The peat-free mixed compost has a top layer of coco pith to improve root development and quick start the culture and a husk chip bottom layer which helps oxygen permeate the roots. This growing method allows a higher water holding capacity which perfectly suits cucumbers.

Growing the cucumbers is an art in itself.

The plants are being fed once a week with a balanced liquid feed and watered using a spaghetti tube watering system designed to keep humidity high and yields strong. This relatively cheap system features an automatic timer which drip feeds the plants for exactly three minutes each time, three times a day. The greenhouse is also dampened down three times a day and each plant is misted to maintain the high humidity. Soft horticultural twine is being used to provide support, with some plants suspended vertically from the greenhouse rafters and others tied at a 45° angle.

Joe said:

“The angled crops are producing a better yield thanks to the increased air circulation and additional room to grow. Many cultivars are now thriving in the warm and humid conditions. Air circulating around the crops helps to reduce the risk of pests and diseases which cucumbers are particularly prone to. We’re also using a biological control to keep whitefly at bay.

"It’s safe for all plants including food crops and the fruit can be picked and eaten straight away as no harmful chemicals are used. Most of the cultivars feature all-female fruit which tends to be sweeter.“

Depending on the cultivar, a single plant can produce up to 50 cucumbers from the first fruit in mid-June through to the last harvest in October.

 

Email Icon

Sign up for exclusive news, competitions and offers.
Proper Local News updates from Stray FM

Newer article
Older article
Top articles

79 year old man in critical condition in hospital after collision at Dacre Banks

Harrogate, Craven & Wharfedale: He was hit by a cyclist in the village on Saturday morning, the man riding the bike also suffered serious injuries.

Notting Hill Carnival: Almost 100 arrests as event sees record heat

National: Almost 100 people were arrested by the end of the first day of Notting Hill Carnival, police have said.

Million hectares lost in Bolivia fires as Amazon continues to burn

World: Fires have ripped through at least a million hectares - approximately 3,800 square miles - in Bolivia.

Booths launch latest wine event

Lifestyle: With special offers and weekly wine tasting!

Rory McIlroy claims $15m prize for winning Tour Championship and FedExCup

Sport: Rory McIlroy collected the largest prize in golf history after he outplayed Brooks Koepka to be crowned FedExCup champion for the second time at The Tour Championship.

Force us to fund free TV licences and channels will close, BBC tells PM

Showbiz: The BBC should "cough up" and fund free TV licences for all over-75s, the prime minister has said.

WATCH: 43 Minutes of Queen in the 70s

70s: The band's team have put together highlights of the their early career including some iconic performances.

Private Harrogate health service putting money back into NHS

Business: Harrogate Harlow is based at Harrogate District Hospital.

WATCH: First look at Disney's Mulan live action

Harrogate, Craven & Wharfedale: In the remake of the animated movie, Mulan will try to bring honour to her family.

"It's a fantastic place": Harrogate cancer centre celebrates major milestone

Harrogate, Craven & Wharfedale: The Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre at Harrogate District Hospital is marking its five year anniversary.

Local school success in green poem competition

Education: To celebrate Stray FM's Green Month.

Yorkshire countryside voted happiest

Harrogate, Craven & Wharfedale: Relaxing in the garden and being on holiday also rated highly.

Top Party Dresses for the Festive Season

Christmas: Local Blogger, the Harrogate Girl, picks the best frocks, gowns and outfits for the big Christmas parties of 2017.

Beth Parsons leaves Stray FM

Stray FM Station News: A childhood listener who's dream came true is off to pastures new.

Delve into deliciousness at Mother Shiptons Inn

Test pages: We sent Stray FM's James Stanley to try out the new menu at Mother Shipton's Inn Knaresborough.

Which roads are closed in Harrogate Town Centre?

Harrogate, Craven & Wharfedale: Following this morning's fire, here's an update on the travel situation

UCI Road World Cycling Championships: One month to go

Harrogate, Craven & Wharfedale: Harrogate District is hosting the international cycle race

North Yorkshire districts among best places to live in UK

Harrogate, Craven & Wharfedale: Three parts of North Yorkshire have been named in the top ten places to live in the UK.

Poll

Are you looking forward to the kids going back to school?
No i'll really miss them
49.8%
Yes I can't wait
50.2%

Trending in Yorkshire

79 year old man in critical condition in hospital after collision at Dacre Banks

He was hit by a cyclist in the village on Saturday morning, the man riding the bike also suffered serious injuries.

17 year old girl dies of suspected drugs overdose at Leeds Festival

She died in the early hours of Saturday morning, a 17 year old boy's been arrested.

West Yorkshire Police officers now allowed to display arm tattoos

The force have reversed a ban, following 18 months of lobbying by the Police Federation.

People in Knaresborough urged to join Memory Walk for dementia

The event next Saturday is being organised by the Alzheimer's Society, to raise funds for their vital work.

Yorkshire man jailed for 30 years for abuse of children

A Yorkshire man has been jailed for 30 years for the horrific abuse of children.

More news...