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- The Explorer Series
(Cucumis sativus) Cucumbers originated in India or western Asia, and have been known to gardeners for at least 3,000 years. Their diverse forms and flavors are now appreciated and used in local cuisines around the world. Warm growers, they are best sown in place after the last frost of spring. Very rich, well-drained but moist soil suits them best. Full sun exposure is usually preferred; in hot summer areas, the plants might benefit from some mid-afternoon shade. The vines run to about 5 feet in length. To save space, grow them on a trellis.
Ancash Market Cucumber
Exclusive listing with Baker Creek! Collected in Chacas, Peru by the late pepper historian Jean Andrews. This landrace traces its ancestry to cucumbers brought from Spain in the 1500s. It's also known as Pepino Criollo Chacasino or Ancashino. It has been carefully selected for its resistance to pests and mildew. Grown in the cool climate of the high Andes, this cucumber is especially suited to cooler parts of the US and will remain productive all season if grown on trellises. The cucumbers are best when harvested 6 inches long.
Aonaga Jibai Cucumber
Exceptionally sweet, tender, and above all -- hardy. Aonaga Jibai is one of our finds from a recent seed saving expedition to Japan. Known in the southern islands of Japan, the seeds have been preserved over generations by an old family in Beppu City on Kyushu Island. The long, slender 8-inch fruit is bitter free and super sweet with inconspicuous seeds, making it a perfect marketing cucumber with flavor that stands out from the rest! The1939 seed catalog of Tanaka & Co. said: “Hardiness and prolific bearing character are meritorious features of Japanese varieties of cucumber. They withstand drought, moisture and attack of fungoid disease to a remarkable degree.”
Armenian Yard-Long Cucumber
(Cucumis melo) Light green, mild tasting, deeply ribbed fruit. The elongated fruit yields uniform, easily digestible, fluted slices. They are apt to twist and coil growing on the ground, but develop nice and straight when hanging from a trellis. Fruit reaches over 24 inches long, but is best harvested at about 15 inches. This classic Armenian “cucumber” is actually a melon genetically.
Beit Alpha Cucumber
A delicious, very sweet cucumber that is usually picked small and does not need peeling as the skin is very tender. This variety is very popular in the Mediterranean, having been developed in Israel at a kibbutz farm, and it is now becoming popular with Americans because of the fruit’s fine flavor and high yields. This cuke is also burpless and has great shelf life. A parthenocarpic variety, you can grow in a greenhouse without pollinators.
Chicago Pickling Cucumber
55 days. Originally bred for the markets of the Chicago area. Released in 1888, this has been the go-to pickling cuke for generations of home gardeners and canners, and we are so pleased to offer it! The thin skins take up pickling solutions readily. Black-spined fruit can be allowed to reach 7 inches without sacrificing quality, but is often harvested much smaller. Amazingly prolific, and disease resistant, too.
China Jade Cucumber
Stunning jade-colored flesh and unmatched sweet flavor make this a superb snacking cucumber. A popular cucumber from northern China, it grows well both in the garden or in the greenhouse. The crop is believed to have been brought from western China to the east during the Han dynasty in 216. Cucumbers have long been selected and perfected in China for sweet, nutty gourmet flavor. This variety is an homage to those many years of natural breeding; the long, slender, thin-skinned fruit will develop without pollination, making a seedless and burpless cuke. In Chinese medicine the cucumber is used as a natural refrigerant in the intense heat of summer. The cooling effect is said to soothe heat-related ailments and even heat-induced bouts of anger! A favorite in our trials; we just love the flavor and gemstone-colored flesh! Try growing this variety in a greenhouse without pollinators; the result is a tender and delectable burpless fruit without seeds.
Crystal Apple Cucumber
The petite 3-inch oval fruit is a bright, creamy white, about the size of a small apple and is sweet, mild and very tender. This variety has become almost extinct in America after being introduced here from Australia around 1930 from Arthur Yates and Co., but this type of cucumber is likely to have originated in China. The small fruit is so tender you can eat it skin and all.
60 days. Here’s a gorgeous all-purpose slicing/pickling type. The plants are of bush habit, usually running no more than 18 inches or so, making them superior for small gardens, containers, or anywhere space is tight. Fruit holds well on the plants, avoiding the need for constant picking. Plants are also tolerant to downy mildew, which is so often a problem in humid summer climates. The bumpy, brightly striped exterior is particularly attractive as well. A superb new Polish variety!
Dragon's Egg Cucumber
Beautiful cream-colored fruit is about the size and shape of a large egg! Mild, bitter free and sweet tasting, this little cucumber sets massive yields in our gardens. So fun to grow, and very unique looking; great for children and all who like delicious cucumbers. We were sent this heirloom favorite by Reinhard Kraft, a German seed collector, but this heirloom originated in Croatia.
Early Fortune Cucumber
55 days. (Also called Special Dark Green) A super dependable garden cucumber, sweet and almost never bitter. Slicing-type fruit grows 7 to 8 inches long, 2 inches in diameter. Originally selected out of Davis Perfect (now believed extinct) by George Starr in Royal Oak Michigan in 1906. Upon its release it was described as “the earliest and best white spine cucumber ever offered.”
Early Russian Cucumber
This rare Bhutanese cucumber thrives in cool northern climates, but also stands up to intense heat and humidity. It was collected in 1981 at a farmstore in the Trongsa district village of Poengenang, roughly in the geographical center of Bhutan. When fruit is immature and green, it makes a great cucumber for raw eating or pickling. When mature, it resembles the more common Indian variety ‘Poona Kheera’, but is darker-skinned, much bigger (up to 20” long in our experience), but still quite tasty. The flesh of the mature fruit is reminiscent of melons (which are cousins of cucumbers, after all), and can be eaten raw, pickled, or turned into a delicious chutney. The flesh of the ripe fruit is traditionally cooked in Bhutan. For seed savers, it’s refreshing to find a cucumber that is still useful once seeds are fully ripe. Watching these giants develop on the vine is one of the joys of summer! A portion of each sale is donated to Dr. William Woys Weaver and Roughwood Seed Collection
Gele Tros or Large Dutch Yellow Cucumber
Jibai Shimoshirazu Cucumber
The sweetest cucumber we have tasted, this Japanese variety is a perfect snacking cucumber with no bitter flavor! Produces shorter, slightly thicker fruit than other Japanese varieties. Can be grown on the ground or on poles and is vigorous. Deep green fruit is about 7-8 inches long. Adapted to high temperature, humidity, and is disease and powdery mildew resistant.
Lemon Cuke Cucumber
60 days. The shape, size, and color of a lemon, but with super-sweet flavor! This cucumber was famously peddled by one snake oil salesman as a genuine cross between an orange and a green cucumber. The huckster claimed that he had plucked an orange blossom from his daughter’s bridal bouquet (orange blossoms were a popular bridal flower in those days) and used it to pollinate a cucumber plant! These “true lemon cucumber” seeds were sold at a bargain price of $1 per seed! Indeed, the lemon cucumber is a pretty convincing fake, with round, lemon-yellow fruit and a swollen blossom end, just like a real lemon. Alas, the lemon cuke is a true cucumber, a result of naturally selecting for round, yellow fruit. The lemon cucumber originated in the late 19th century and was introduced to the U.S. in 1894. The tasty fruit is low in cucurbitacin, that naturally occurring cucumber chemical that accounts for a slightly bitter taste. The flesh is citrusy and adds a real zip to salads! Fantastic for kids’ gardens. One of our all-time favorite garden crops!
Marketmore 76 Cucumber
70 days. Marketmore ‘76 is a name that is synonymous with vigor and productivity. Marketmore ‘76 is possibly one of the most recognizable heirlooms, and rightfully so, decades after its initial introduction, this delicious refreshing cuke still boasts impressive disease and pest resistance. Fruit averages 8-9 inches long, perfect for slicing. Dark green with thick protective skin, a perfect choice for market gardening as the rugged little fruit stand up well to shipping but still have the high quality of flavor and texture that grocery store cukes simply can’t match! The original Marketmore cucumber was developed at Cornell University in 1968 by Dr. Henry Munger, it was hailed as a breeding breakthrough for cucumbers. For 30 years Dr. Munger perfected the Marketmore (and many other incredible vegetable varieties). In 1976 he released a particularly vigorous open pollinated strain of Marketmore, and it remains a favorite of home and market gardeners alike! We are grateful to Dr. Munger, who in his 60 years of breeding at Cornell championed the idea of bringing more densely nutritious vegetables to the forefront of the diet in order to promote health.
Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumber
Melothria scabra) 75 days. Incredible, small cucumber-like fruit is shaped like baby watermelons. They are good added to salads or can be pickled. They have a cucumber-like taste with a touch of lemon. The ornamental vines have tiny leaves and flowers and are perfect for the cottage garden. Very unique and fun for kids. Huge yields.
Miniature White Cucumber
50 days. White-skinned, black-spined little pickling cukes. Production is high and begins very early on. Almost-bush plants that seldom run over three feet make great container plants. Delicious for fresh use as well. This strain has none of the bitterness that has unfortunately come to be associated with the white-fruited types.
55 days. From our Polish grower, who recommends ‘Monika’ for pickles. This one is parthenocarpic, which simply means it doesn’t need pollination to set fruit. This is great news to gardeners who find they lack local bee populations to pollinate regular cucumbers. It also means you can grow pickling cukes under glass. Makes a nice slicer as well.
60 days. A stellar burpless cuke, perfect for greenhouse cultivation and no pollinators necessary without insects the vines will produce seedless fruit that remain tender and tasty for longer. Very tender, dual-purpose variety makes great pickles and is excellent for fresh eating right out of the garden! Nearly spineless fruit is 6 to 8 inches long, reaching a plump 3 inches wide. Produces abundantly on strong vigorous vines. Non-bitter, burpless variety can be eaten at any stage of growth. For pickling, harvest the fruit at 4 to 6 inches long.
Natsu Fushinari Cucumber
Combining the exquisite flavor of an heirloom with the tough disease resistance synonymous with commercial types, this variety has shown exceptional resistance in powdery mildew studies, especially in high heat. In Japanese, fushi means “node” and nari means “setting fruit.” The aptly named Natsu Fushinari is a high yielder due to setting ability at every node. This Japanese variety can be grown on the ground or on poles and is an early maturing cucumber at 70 days. It has a deep green color, glossy skin, good uniformity, and fruit 8 inches long.
Poona Kheera Cucumber
60 days. The creamy, light green fruit has delicious, crisp and juicy flesh. This sweet and mild Indian variety hails from the city of Poonah, or Pune, the cultural capital of the state of Maharashtra, India. There it is popular in salads or juiced, and Pune street vendors sell these as a snack to beat the intense heat. They are simply divine when sliced and sprinkled with a bit of salt and pepper. A potato-shaped fruit with yellow skin, it turns a handsome brown as it ripens. Disease resistant and very hardy, it is one of our best varieties. Vines produce early and the yield is very heavy.
Richmond Green Apple
Super sweet fruit is crisp, like an apple! A unique heirloom from Australia, where it is still popular. The fruit is the size of a lemon but is of a beautiful lime green color. These are excellent for eating: very mild, sweet and juicy. Hard to find and really fun to grow. Excellent flavor! This is an annual favorite at the Baker Creek farm and is truly bitter free. We eat these green globes skin and all.
The best keeping variety! The historic cucumber of Sikkim. Fat, large fruit can reach several pounds in size. The ripe fruit is a unique rusty red color and is good eaten cooked or raw. In Asia, cucumbers are often stir fried and are quite tasty. This variety is grown in the Himalayas of Sikkim and Nepal. Botanist Sir Joseph Hooker first discovered it in the eastern Himalayas in 1848. He wrote of the cuke: “So abundant were the fruits, that for days together I saw gnawed fruits lying by the natives’ paths by the thousands, and every man, woman and child seemed engaged throughout the day in devouring them.”
Suyo Long Cucumber
65 days. Long, ribbed, dark green fruit can grow to 18 inches. They are very mild, sweet and burpless. One of my personal favorites for fresh eating. This productive heirloom comes from northern China and is very attractive. A parthenocarpic variety, you can grow in a greenhouse without pollinators and vines will produces masses of burpless fruits that have no seeds, making them more tender and crisp!
Telegraph Improved Cucumber
60 days. Smooth, straight, dark-green fruit grows 10 to 18 inches long. Flesh is very crisp, tender and mild; superb flavor. Very few seeds, vigorous high-yielding vines, great for greenhouse production; also good cultured outdoors. This is an excellent English heirloom variety, introduced around 1897. Incredible production, and when grown without pollination (like greenhouse production) the fruit will be seedless.
Tokiwa "Tokyo Green" Cucumber
This old Japanese variety, also known as “Tokyo Green,” came from China in the Meiji era, then became the dominant variety sold around Tokyo. The 1932 edition of the Oriental Seed Company noted: “The vines attain twice the length of common varieties.” They do well on fences and trellises, saving space in the gardens. Vines are almost mildew proof and well adapted to hot, dry summers. The small, 9-inch fruit with tender skin and few seeds make excellent pickles and set the standard for slicing cucumbers; buttery soft, supremely sweet, and never bitter.
West India Burr Gherkin
(Cucumis anguria) A super funky cucumber relative great for kids’ gardens, snacking and pickling! Believed to be native to Africa, and introduced to the Caribbean and eventually the U.S. in the 1700s. Pickled and boiled by the colonists in Jamaica and a favorite of 3rd president Thomas Jefferson (who was known to be a lover of pickled gherkins). Very beautiful long vines and hundreds of small tasty fruit. Grows well in hot, humid weather. Yields better than any other cucumber. Will not cross with traditional cucumbers.
Xylangouro Cucumber Melon
(Cucumis melo) A delicious silky textured cucumber like melon originally from the Greek island of Chios. Mild lightly honey-sweet flesh is velvety soft, a superb heat tolerant cucumber substitute. Our seeds were shared with us from the St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Monastery gardens in Roscoe, NY. We have shared seeds with this monastery garden in the past and were delighted went they sent us seeds for this large, lightly fuzzy cucumber like melon. The vines are vigorous and heat loving, producing masses of these “cukes” which are very similar to Armenian cucumber.
Yamato Extra Long Cucumber
A big variety from Japan. This long, slender variety is an excellent variety for sushi or snacking. Japanese cucumbers are among the best in the world, with sweet, nutty flavor, few seeds and thin skin. Fruit can reach up to 2 feet long; grow up a trellis for straight, uniform fruit. Plants are notably disease and pest resistant and bear an impressive abundance of high-quality fruit.