Vegetable gardeners get their inspiration from many places. Vegetable market is definitely one of those places that pushes you to grow your own food. If you grow vegetables, you will definitely go around the veggies section in the super market, just to check what all he has and also to know the price of every item you see. It gives you a measure of how much your produce is worth. The harvest from your garden need not be profitable, but it is good to know its worth. So that you can brag around ;).

One such vegetable I saw and badly wanted to grow is European cucumber. I saw this dark skinned cucumber in one of those super markets and got really interested. Why? Several reasons. They are seedless; They were crunchy and tasted good; they were expensive and guess what? They are greenhouse friendly(?).More on this later in this post, read on. So what more you need to get you start your own? Ah.. well we do need one more stuff to get started..Seeds. Where do I find the seeds for a seedless cucumber? Combed Gandhinagar area completely asking for European Cucumber.Every shop guy tried to sell me their Cucumber Malini F1,Cucumber Shalini F1, you name it. Well, sad GG came back home empty handed. Just when I thought I will give up, I found reference to Beit Alpha cucumbers in Namdhari’s. Those seeds weren’t for retail and they will only sell it in bulk. After so much discussion and convincing, I was able to get some sample seeds.

I immediately sowed the seeds and in just 4-5 days they germinated. The seeds were sown in cocopeat and then transplanted into pots with soil(red soil+cocopeat+compost+bonemeal).

1 week after sowing [15/5/2010].

beit alpha cucumber seedless seedlings

Usually I get to take couple of pictures of a plant before it starts yielding. But this one, is already heavily loaded before I could take a second “progress” picture.

11/6/2010 – Can you spot the cucumber?

1 Month old cucumber

I need to explain something that I hinted at the beginning of this post. These seedless cucumbers plants produce all-female flowers. If you recollect, in cucurbits a single plant contains separate male and female flowers. Once pollination is done, the female flower develops into a fruit. In case of this cucumber, there is no male flower. Because the plant doesn’t need one. Fruits are produced without pollination. You don’t need bees to help you with pollination neither you need to run around with paint brush trying to pollinate flowers. Unbelievable? Its true. This is called vegetative parthenocarpy. So how many flowers you see, that many cucumbers you get!. How many times, you eat a fruit and bam! you encounter a seed inside. How about popping in a fruit that you bite all the way!.

seedless cucumber

Close up

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The fruits are very consistent in their size and taste. They are quite crunchy and not a sign of bitterness. Their water content is worth mentioning. They do have tiny “seeds” that are very soft.

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The european cucumber along with Armenian cucumber(Kakri) both grown in my garden.

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The availability of the seeds is the main problem. Since this is not sold in retail, either we have to get it in bulk or find someone who sells these seeds.

That’s all for now. My next post will be about Radishes, big and small , white and red!


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