Cucumbers are rewarding plants to grow with beautiful climbing vines and long bountiful harvests. Gardeners may seek out smaller cucumber varieties for several reasons. It could be to maximize the available growing space, reach an earlier harvest date, or some may prefer smaller-sized cucumbers. So many gardeners want to know what some types of small cucumber varieties?
Cucumber varieties are often categorized as slicing, pickling, and heirlooms, so this article is also sectioned this way. Gardeners looking for small cucumber varieties should first consider their intentions for the cucumber harvest and then decide on one or multiple small variety types to grow.
Read on to learn more about small cucumber varieties.
Small Slicing Cucumber Varieties
Slicing cucumbers are just as they sound, those best sliced up fresh into salads, on sandwiches, or for a snack. Slicing cucumbers are smoother than pickling varieties with a thicker, crunchier skin and soft, tender flesh. All of the cucumber varieties shared in this section are harvestable from 50 to 60 days and have an extended harvest period.
Mini Munch cucumbers live up to their name as they are harvested at a small length of 3 to 4 inches. Mini Munchers are a vinier variety that grows successfully in garden plots and containers but on trellises. They are cold-weather tolerant and known to be resistant to disease.
Mini Munch cucumbers are one of few cucumber varieties that are seedless at harvest. They are soft-skinned and juicy on the inside and great as a healthy lunch side or afternoon snack.
While Salad Bush cucumbers are a larger cucumber at harvest (typically around 8 inches long), the plants remain compact and bushy, making them ideal for small gardens or container gardening. Salad Bush cucumbers are not very cold tolerant, but they are known for being highly resistant to disease.
Salad Bush cucumbers are flavorful with a smooth, dark green skin and soft, juicy inside. As the name of the variety implies, these cucumbers are magnificent when sliced onto a salad mix.
Spacemaster cucumbers do indeed maximize growing space. They are a bushier variety that grows well in smaller areas, including containers. Some gardeners have even noted success growing this variety in hanging pots because the plant is so compact. Spacemaster cucumbers are fairly disease resistant, although not as much so as previously discussed varieties. They are not cold tolerant.
Spacemaster cucumbers are crispy and flavorful, not bitter. If harvested early, they can be used for pickling in addition to eating fresh.
Lebanese cucumbers, also sometimes referred to as Persian cucumbers, are best when harvested smaller, around 6 inches in length. Although the cucumbers are fairly short and thin, the plant’s vines can grow incredibly long and, without a trellis, take over a small garden.
This is not an ideal variety for container gardening, but if there is available space in a garden plot or bed, they can be maintained well with a trellis system and not space invasive. Lebanese cucumbers are moderately disease resistant and not tolerant to cold temperatures.
Lebanese cucumbers are best harvested before reaching full maturity, which helps to enhance their sweet flavor. While they can grow to 9 and 12 inches long, much of that amazing flavor will be lost if harvested larger than 6 inches. Lebanese cucumbers have a dark green crispy skin with soft fleshy inside that only enhances its sweet flavor when harvested appropriately.
Small Pickling Cucumber Varieties
Generally, the best cucumbers for pickling are shorter and fatter, with spines on the skin that add to the crunchiness of the pickle.
The following small cucumber varieties are ideal for pickling due to those characteristics. As with those in the slicing section, all of the cucumber varieties in this section will begin harvest between 50 and 60 days and are expected to have a lengthy and bountiful harvest season.
Little Leaf H-19
Little Leaf H-19 cucumbers are compact plant that easily branches and vines onto a trellis. It can grow well in garden plots and containers, and with smaller leaves than wide cucumber varieties, it can be easier to identify harvest-ready cucumbers. They are resistant to diseases and can tolerate some cold temperatures. Pest deterrents may be necessary to keep the plant healthy through harvest, depending on one’s growing location.
Little Leaf H-19 cucumbers are bright green, spiny, and grow to between 3 and 5 inches in length. They have a fresh, crisp flavor when eaten fresh and are ideal for pickling.
Many have had a taste of a jar of Sweet Gherkin pickles, and Gherkin cucumbers are the variety from which those amazing pickles are derived. Gherkin cucumber seeds were first developed in Europe and are small in plant and fruit size.
It is a bushier variety with some short vines, but Gherkins are fairly compact and can grow well in the earth or a container. Gherkin cucumbers are somewhat disease resistant and can benefit from organic insecticides in some growing locations. They are not cold tolerant.
Typically, Sweet Gherkin cucumbers are harvested when they are 2 and 3 inches long. Letting them grow any bigger than this range can affect the crisp, sweet flavor for which they are known.
Carolina cucumbers are a hybrid pickling variety first developed in South Carolina. Carolina cucumbers are compact but vining and will grow best trellised in a garden bed, plot, or large container.
Carolina cucumbers are highly resistant to disease and somewhat resistant to pests. Some pest mitigation may still be necessary, depending on one’s growing location. This variety does not tolerate cold temperatures well.
Carolina cucumbers are best harvested for pickling around 3 inches long but can be left on the vine up to 7 inches in length if intended to eat them fresh. They are bright green in color, spiny and juicy.
Picklebush cucumbers are a fairly small and bushy vine-based plant, but vines won’t extend beyond 2 feet. It’s a hybrid developed by the well-known seed company Burpee. These plants are ideal for small garden plots and containers due to their compact size. They are moderately disease and pest resistant and do not tolerate cold well.
Picklebush cucumbers are deep green with white and paler green stripes. They are at ideal flavor when harvested between 3 to 4 inches in length. They are not as spiny as some pickle varieties but still have enough spines to create a nice pickle crunch.
Small Heirloom Cucumber Varieties
Heirloom plant varieties are undeveloped seeds that existed before modern agriculture. Many common, modern garden plant seeds are derived from genetic hybrids designed by seed companies to produce higher productivity and disease-resistant plants.
Heirloom plant varieties are often more flavorful and carry on historical garden culture but can be more susceptible to pests and diseases. This section shares two unique small heirloom cucumber varieties, but there are many more.
Lemon cucumbers are round and pale yellow-green, sometimes resulting in them being mistaken for a fruit. Although Lemon cucumbers are only about the size of a baseball, the plant can be quite large and needs room for its vines to grow.
It will be happiest in a garden plot or bed with trellising to save ground space. Lemon cucumbers can be susceptible to diseases such as powdery mildew and pests such as aphids and squash beetles. Taking action to mitigate these annoyances can prolong the health and harvest of the plant.
Lemon cucumbers are crispy and sweet with a slightly lemony flavor. They are ideal in a light salad or as a drink garnish. Lemon cucumbers take 65 days to reach harvest maturity but will continue into a long harvest period if protected from pests and disease.
Apple cucumbers resemble a green apple in shape and color when mature. Similar to Lemon cucumbers, the Apple cucumber variety will grow best in an open plot or garden bed with trellising to support its vines and save garden space. Apple cucumbers are susceptible to disease and pests and may require some efforts to prevent these adversaries.
While Apple cucumbers can taste crisp and sweet, they can easily turn bitter if not watered appropriately or over-ripened. Apple cucumber plants take around 70 days to reach their first harvest.
Final Tips On Growing Cucumbers
As you explore which cucumber varieties are best for your garden, remember to keep in mind your goals for your cucumber harvest and your local climate and growing space.
Most areas have local gardening guides that share high-performing plant varieties specific to where you live. Also, it is always beneficial to reference the plant hardiness zone guide to ensure you are planting at the appropriate time for your geographic region to ensure happy and healthy cucumbers.
Hi there, my name is Allie and welcome to my blog; GareningWithAllie!
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