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Friday, February 18, 2011

A seed variety to try

By Jennifer

What ARE those?

That's the question I got all summer when I shared these prickly yellow orbs from my garden with family and neighbors.
So let's slice one open, shall we?
What do you think now?

If you guessed cucumber, you're right on the money. "Lemon cucumber" to be exact, an heirloom variety dating back to the 1800s -- and we prize heirlooms here at Backyard Farming!
A lover of all things lemon-flavored, I plucked this seed packet from the store display just for the name. Even though I soon learned lemon has nothing to do with the cucumber's flavor, just its size and color, I will definitely plant it again this season. It is easy to grow and produces crisp, crisp, crisp flesh in abundance.

The cucumbers start pale green and mature to their namesake yellow when full size, about 3 to 4 inches. The picture of my bowl full of them represents one picking, and all this from one plant! I grew the plant on a trellis. At first I'd get a handful of cukes per harvest, then as summer continued I could get this many cucumbers at once, about every two weeks. 

A cucumber variety this prolific is perfect for pickling, and that's just what I did. I picked up a bread and butter pickle mix from the canning aisle at my grocery store, and it was a breeze. The package directions were to slice, combine mix with vinegar and sugar, heat, then can. No peeling required in that recipe. If you venture into pickling this summer, have all your ingredients and supplies on hand, THEN head to the garden. Cucumbers can lose their freshness quickly, so for best results make pickles as soon after harvest as possible.

Follow your recipe precisely.

As eager (practically stir-crazy!) as I am to start my garden again this year, I actually appreciate the season of evalulation and planning that winter offers. I'd love to learn from all of you. So tell us, what are some of your favorite seed varieties? 

Give me something else that will make people say, "What ARE those?" I get a kick out of that.



Try lemon squash.

Anonymous said...

we grew lemon cucs for the first time last summer and loved them. The skin is tender and perfect for eating right from the vine. And they kept coming and coming all season long. I'll definitely be planting these again!

Kids and Canning Jars said...

Would you be willing to share some of your seeds? I would be willing to send money for shipping in an envelope.
Very cool! Thank you for the pictures.

Jennifer said...

@Kids and Canning Jars -- absolutely! I pulled out my seed packet and laughed to see that it was actually packed for 2007. But they obviously sprouted last year. (I must have bought them on clearance somewhere -- definitely my style.) They've been stored, wrapped, in my fridge. Email me your address telling me how many you'd like and I'll get them to you. No need for shipping. jlkhatch@yahoo.com

Boho Farm and Home said...

I have heard of these but never tried them. Thank you for the suggestion--I am in the middle of seeding the summer garden right now and always like to try one new heirloom variety.:)
Caroline at the Boho Farm

Astrid in Bristling Acres said...

Ha! I guessed correctly!

I've grown those two years in a row. Love them! I had trouble with them last year so I'll be trying something else this summer.

I'm a big fan of anything that does well in my garden. LOL! Heirloom varieties as well as hybrids (sometimes the heirlooms don't do as well).

teekaroo said...

I tried a new summer squash last year, One ball. They are yellow and round and produce early and prolifically. My husband has requested them again this year.
I'll have to try lemon cucumbers. Not sure I have room for them this year though.

JaNae said...

I picked up a lemon cucumber plant on a whim at a nursery last year (I had to fill the spot where my poor pumpkins had been) it was late in the season but so worth the wait- they are delicious and I can't wait to plant them again.
you should try the eggplant Rosa Bianca. they are the most beautiful little white & purple orbs. they have the sweetest little bell shaped flowers & it produced like crazy. here's a link to a photo of mine:

Diana (Di) said...

We love the color and shape of the lemon cucumber, but I made a note to myself: do not plant more than one this year! ;) We couldn't give enough away.

Mrs. Farmer said...


I love to pickle! Where can I get these seeds? I have never seen them before, and I practically LIVE for shock value... LOL

marisa said...

Mrs. Farmer,

Here is a link to the seeds from seed savers exchange:


Mrs. Farmer said...

Thank you so much! If they work out and I end up using them for my blog, I will definitely credit you! (With your permission, of course!)