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Cucumbers grow as a vine. They are an easy crop to grow through summer and can be grown from seed or seedling started as soils warm in spring. Cucumbers are part of the cucurbit family so are related to other summer vegetables such as pumpkins and squash.
Traditional cucumbers such as Lebanese cucumber produce long, dark-green fruit that is picked from when it is 10cm long. Burpless is a long green cucumber with a thin skin sold as low acid. Fruit can reach 40cm long. Apple cucumbers are round with creamy-white skin. Pickling cucumbers are called gherkins and are picked small (5-10cm in length). An ideal choice for pots is the patio cucumber sold as Cucumber Patio Snack, which is a small fruiting cucumber. Try a couple of different varieties to keep the vegie patch and table interesting. They are the perfect ingredient to throw into summer salsa, essential in tzatziki dip or simply slice fresh for an old-fashion cucumber sandwich for a high summer tea.
Cucumbers are 90 per cent water, which is why they feel cool and are low in fat and calories. They are also a good source of vitamins B and C. Most of the nutritional and health benefits lie in the skin, so eat the skin along with the cool white flesh.