A Bitter Cucumber to Swallow

Jalepenos and tomatoes they are huge and bushy now

So far, the container garden at Our Little House is flourishing.

The jalapeno peppers are dark green and still growing.

Unfortunately, for the pack rats, they are history, taken care of with our rat zappers. We have a big rabbit hopping around the yard, we see it because the dogs chase it every morning when they leave the house, but it hasn’t bothered the tomato plants. I do put up the large dog gate on the party deck, which probably helps.

Dale started calling the tomato plants our tomato “trees.”

They are huge, look very healthy (with the exception of the one that succumbed to the rat invasion) and all have many green tomatoes.

I picked the first four cherry tomatoes this week and ate them as soon as I got them off of the vine, I couldn’t even wait until I got in the house.

“Shouldn’t you at least wash those off?” Dale asked.

I shrugged. Since I don’t use pesticides and it didn’t kill me eating tomatoes still warm from the sun when I was a kid, I doubted it would kill me now. But if it did, what a way to go!

We do have problems with the cucumbers, or “cukes” as my parents used to call them.

I was excited to pick the first two off of the vine last weekend. I got them inside and started peeling and cutting them up for our salad.

Typically, I couldn’t wait for a bite and ugh, bitter.

I’ve tasted some bitter cucumbers, but these were inedible. Disappointed, I had to throw them into the woods for the critters.

I looked online and found that this could be from several things:

  • Poor soil – Not sure, I used a new organic soil this year.
  • Stress- There have been times when I’ve soaked the cucumbers in the morning and they are wilted in the extremely hot afternoons we’ve been having, so I water them again.
  • Poor drainage- The large container does have holes in the bottom.

The article suggested that we use “burpless” next time. I believe I used “burpees” this year.

All in the container gardening learning process. Good thing there is always the farmer’s market.

Have you successfully raised good container garden cucumbers? What’s your secret? How is your garden faring this year?

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28 Responses

  1. Interesting to see that you grow your garden in pots. I like that idea. I’ve always wanted to gorw my own chile peppers, gives me hope that your jalapenos are doing well.

  2. sarah henry says:

    Last year we grew these absurdly large cucs and I have absolutely no idea why they did so well.

  3. I’m not a big fan of cucumbers, so I don’t grow them, but I wonder if it’s an issue with inconsistent moisture? Sometimes it’s hard to maintain proper moisture in containers.

    (Pictures of the growing plants, please!)

  4. Heather L. says:

    My cucumbers aren’t growing very well. They probably don’t know how to swim – it’s been raining like crazy, but I have some amazing baby bok choi plants. Maybe your next batch of cucumbers will be better.

  5. No help from me. I’m a major cucumber failure here. Last year, I had just a single teeny-tiny one at the end of our short growing season.

  6. Alexandra says:

    Last year a friend gave me some cucumber plants. I put them into the garden and was amazed at the crop. I’ve been wanting to replicate but have not yet found any organic cuke plants. I try to buy seeds from non-GMO seed companies. Monsanto is in the process of buying them all up, or trying to.

  7. Sheryl says:

    sorry about your cukes ,,,how disappointing! Some critter will enjoy them.

  8. Jane Boursaw says:

    Cucumbers are a tough one for us here in the north woods. I’m not sure why, but they’re difficult to grow and end up with a good-tasting cuke. Then there’s the time we planted them too close to the squash and we ended up with some sort of hybrid veggie.

    I love that you’re container gardening. I have some empty containers in my flower garden, and think I’ll toss something edible in there.

  9. Steven says:

    If the next ones you pick taste the same, you should start over. It could be the plants. I always grow the straight eight. They dont seem to change flavor based on their size. I grow them in window planter boxes, and put three plants per box. I place them on a table and then put a few small potted peppers around them. Then I snake the plants around the table until they refuse to stay on the top, then let them go crazy. The peppers seem to kill the interest of the squirrels putting their nuts in the cucumbers dirt. The eights have always been fun to grow, good luck.

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks for the tips, Steven. I will certainly start over if the next ones tastes the same. So terrible, though, as the plants are beautiful!

  10. Olivia says:

    Why do I torture myself reading about people picking stuff out of their gardens when I am still running a woodstove . . . *sigh*

    I have grown cukes successfully in a garden but have never tried containing them. I can only echo Lindsay: cukes have to be picked early. There’s a fine line between unripe and overripe with them. Other than that, I have no idea.

    We are SUPPOSED to be coming into some fine weather so I hope to get out into my garden this weekend. I have seeds in the ground but not much coming up yet. The contained herbs are doing well, I have 2 flats of herbs and flowers to go in containers, tomato and pepper plants arriving this weekend and melons under the grow lights. I have decided to have a garden of whimsy this year and not stress about what does or does not grow. I just want to have fun with it for a change. Summer is too short in my part of the world to stress about things. I’d rather go to the beach!

    • Kerri says:

      Oh, my, Olivia, Well, at least there was a winter somewhere! Our winter and spring were so mild that everything is about a month ahead of schedule here. And the bugs, very bad. So, there are some benefits to it still being cold there. Hope your weather does come in soon though, June is way too late to be sitting in front of the woodstove!

  11. Lindsay says:

    We are growing straight 8’s and lemon cucumbers in containers this year as well, although they are a ways off from producing anything as we started them from seeds. This is our first year trying it. I’m hoping they do alright! The year before I noticed the cucumbers would get a little bitter if we left them on the vine too long…but I doubt that’s the case here. After we got rid of 2 packrats we have not had anymore problems with critters and most of our tomatoes that had been snapped off have recovered nicely. One has even developed 3 stalks. Now the only creatures my garden has to fear are my lab, who stepped into my carrot bin last week and squished some of my seedlings….and my 2 year old who decided to pull my cantaloupe plant right out of the soil when I wasn’t looking. Ah well, having a garden is an adventure : )

    • Kerri says:

      Glad you got rid of your packrats, too, Lindsay, nasty things. They can live in the woods, but there’s a fight when they start coming up to the house! I wondered if I might have left them on the vine too long. I’m going to pick the next ones earlier and see. Hope you can get every person and every critter to stay out of your garden!

  12. Merr says:

    What Irene said it so true! I am glad you are having success with other “crops” but sad about your cukes.

  13. I’ve never tried to grow cucumbers. I am impressed that you are harvesting already!

  14. Irene says:

    It’s so hard to nurture something and then throw it out. I feel for you!