Many of us have probably heard of the name “Chinese Cucumber.” However, I don’t think everyone knows what this vegetable is, and indeed, even fewer have tried to grow it. But this crop is worth a look, so that we will look at it in this article.
SO, WHAT IS THE MAGIC OF THE CHINESE CUCUMBER?
Despite the obvious resemblance to the usual cucumber from its name and appearance, the Chinese cucumber is not a variety of our regular cucumber but a variant thereof. It differs from its vegetable partner in size, taste, and some biological characteristics, but it generally has the same agricultural technology and belongs to the same genus – pumpkin.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CHINESE CUCUMBER
Once you encounter the Chinese cucumber, you will no longer mistake it for a cucumber. Its fruits range in length from 13-30 inches (35-80 cm) or more! It tastes sweeter and even fresher than regular cucumbers, and depending on the variety, can taste like watermelon or melon. Chinese cucumbers have lovely skin without bitterness and thick, waxy flesh without any hollow spaces. Collected tiny seeds were in a narrow chamber located in the center. The vast majority of flowers on the plant are female and in bunches. Yields are high, up to 66 lb (30 kg) per bush under good care.
Best culture yields can be obtained in a greenhouse, but the practice has shown that this cucumber also does quite well in the open field in the south and more northern areas. A good feature is the early maturity of our available varieties – from germination to removal of the first fruits takes only 25-35 days. But the main thing is that the average family does not need to grow a whole bed, just 3-4 plants is enough because, from one cucumber, you can get a complete cucumber salad for 3-4 people!
Chinese cucumbers’ undisputed advantages are their high yield, stability, longevity (until frost), resistance to most “cucumber” diseases, self-pollination, excellent marketable appearance, and shade tolerance.
But this variety also has its “drawbacks.” The first of these problems is poor storability. Although Chinese cucumbers are beautiful and delicious, they should be eaten the same day they are picked. Otherwise, they will become soft after only one day. The second is that some varieties are only suitable for salads. The third is the low germination rate of the seeds. Fourth, mandatory vertical garter (fruits grow into ugly hooks if the stem is not gartered).
HOW TO GROW CHINESE CUCUMBERS
In general, all the rules for growing Chinese cucumbers coincide with the requirements of our usual seed cucumber varieties. However, since they are mostly single-stemmed, about 10 feet (3 m) tall, and have few (if any) side shoots, they can grow more densely than common cucumbers.
CHINESE CUCUMBER VARIETIES
Most Chinese cucumber varieties have been brought over from China, but there are also domestic varieties. Which one to choose depends on each individual.
A variety bred specifically for growing in greenhouses. Seedlings begin to set 30-40 days after being planted in the ground. The fruit is bright green and grows to 20-23 inches (50-60 cm) with a slightly curved shape. There are rare large tubercles on the epidermis. The flesh is juicy and slightly sweet with no bitterness. The large fruit is suitable for salads. Cucumbers are 5-6 inches (13-15 cm) long, tasty, and can be pickled. However, when growing Chinese snakes industrially, it is not cost-effective to remove the small fruits.
This hybrid is a medium to the early maturing variety that begins to set fruit 50-55 days from the time of sprouting shoots. Seed germination is erratic, but the plant is tough and vigorous. The shape of the fruit is uniformly cylindrical. The rind is smooth and dark green. Cucumbers grow to 18-20 inches (46-50 cm) and have a uniform cylindrical shape.
This variety is unpretentious and heats tolerant. It can withstand temperatures up to 104 °F (40°C). There are differences in active and rapid seed germination. It occurs 5 days after sowing. The fruit is dark green with thin skin. Dense, juicy flesh and almost no seeds. Also, the cucumbers are good in salads and homemade dishes.
It’s an early-maturing hybrid variety characterized by long-term fruiting. The fruit is long and thin with juicy flesh. The rind has small and frequent tubercles. The variety is suitable for canning. Alligator is a bee-pollinated variety, so it is recommended that scented flowers be planted near the greenhouse to attract bees.
It’s a medium-season variety with vigorous shrub growth. The fruits are dark green with large tubercles. They grow to 21 inches (55 cm) long. At the end of maturity, the average weight is 200-250 g. Emerald Stream has a long fruiting period. It does not need sunlight, so it is ideal for growing in plastic greenhouses. This variety yields 44-55 lb (20-25 kg) of cucumbers in a single bush.
We would love to have your feedback on Chinese cucumbers in the comments. Thank you so much.