The Pick-a-Bushel Cucumber is a lesser-known variety that holds its own against its more famous cousins. Having an underdog status among summer vegetables, the distinct sweet taste and crisp texture set it apart. The Pick-a-Bushel Cucumber is also great for pickling!
This introduction will go over its unique characteristics and give you a rundown of how to grow this cucumber yourself.
So next time you’re looking to try something new, give Pick-a-Bushel Cucumbers a chance. You won’t be disappointed by their unique flavor and all the awesome health benefits they have to offer.
A Quick History
It’s worth noting that cucumbers are believed to have originated in South Asia and have been cultivated for thousands of years. They have since spread to other parts of the world and are now widely grown on every continent except Antarctica!
Characteristics of the Pick-a-Bushel Cucumber
Appearance, Size, & Taste
Pick-a-Bushel Cucumbers are typically small to medium, with dark green skin that may also be slightly bumpy. They have a sweet, crisp flavor and thin, edible skin. If you’re not sure if a cucumber is a Pick-a-Bushel, you can always ask a farmer or check the label if you’re purchasing it at a market.
This Smashed Cucumber Salad will make you long for the hot days of the summer, and its zesty dressing packs a surprising punch.
This is taken up a notch if you substitute your regular grocery store cucumber with a Pick-a-Bushel Cucumber. It takes about ten minutes to make and can be a fun feature at a barbeque.
The refreshing Chile-Cucumber Agua Fresca drink highlights the cucumber and complements it with subtly spicy notes from the jalapeno-infused syrup. Adding the Pick-a-Bushel Cucumber will help balance out the spicy notes.
This recipe for Flatbread With Fava Beans, Cucumbers, and Burrata is a celebration of fresh ingredients, and including the Pick-a-Bushel Cucumbers adds a fun, slightly sweet element.
Preparing for Kids & Picky Eaters
If you have picky eaters at home, getting them to try cucumbers can be a bit of a challenge. One way to get them interested is to serve this vegetable in a fun and appealing way, such as by cutting them into slices or sticks and serving along a tasty dip.
You can also try adding them to salads, sandwiches, or smoothies to sneak in some extra nutrition.
Storage & Refrigeration
To ensure that your cucumbers stay fresh for as long as possible, it’s best to wrap cut pieces in a paper towel or covered containers and store them in your refrigerator’s vegetable crisper. This will help to keep it moist and prevent it from drying out.
Pickling & Canning
If you have an excess and want to preserve them for later, pickling (soaking the vegetables in a mixture of vinegar, water, and spices) or canning (cleaning and placing in a sterile jar) are both great options.
Vitamins & Nutrients
Cucumbers are rich in vitamins and minerals. They contain potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, and K. Vitamins that are responsible for immune support, protection from free radicals, and strengthening your bones, respectively.
Cucumbers have been used medicinally by various cultures throughout history. For example, in traditional Chinese medicine, they have been used as a natural remedy to treat a range of ailments, including kidney and urinary problems.
In ancient Egypt, they were considered a symbol of fertility and were often used to treat a range of health issues, including digestive problems and skin conditions.
Growing Pick-a-Bushel Cucumbers at Home
Pick-a-Bushel Cucumbers are a refreshing and nutritious vegetable that can easily be grown both indoors and outdoors.
If you live in an apartment and don’t have much space for a garden, you can try growing cucumbers in pots or containers on a sunny windowsill. Make sure to use a well-draining soil mix and water them regularly to keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged. If you have an outdoor garden, you can plant Pick-a-Bushels directly in the soil in an area that gets plenty of sunlight.
We’ll go over the basics of growing cucumbers here. For more detailed information, check out our post, How to Plant Cucumbers.
Cucumbers are typically planted in the warm weather of spring or summer, depending on your location. It’s important to wait until the soil has warmed up enough to support their growth, as they do not tolerate frost well. Doing this will also help prevent cold injury, a common cucumber affliction.
It’s also key to supporting your cucumber’s pollination. While they are self-pollinating (meaning they produce both male and female flowers), if the plant doesn’t properly pollinate, the fruit’s blossoming may be delayed or the flowers may be small.
You can help out by first identifying which flowers are male (cluster in blooms of three to five) and female (bloom in solitary and have an ovary at their center), then removing the stamen from the male and placing it in the ovary of the female flower.
Cucumbers are generally harvested about 50-70 days after planting; Pick-a-Bushel Cucumbers are ready around the 50-day mark.
When growing Pick-a-Bushels in a garden, it’s important to be aware of some common pests that can attack cucumbers. These include aphids, cucumber beetles, and squash bugs.
Try using natural pest control methods, such as releasing beneficial insects or using natural repellents, to help keep these pests at bay.
Cucumbers belong to the Cucurbit family, which also houses squash, melons, gourds, and pumpkins. So if you’re an enthusiastic gardener, this means the diseases you may have run into with other cucurbits could show up in your cucumbers. The most common is Powdery Mildew and Phytophthora Blight.
Powdery mildew is a disease that scars the plant’s foliage with small, white, circular, powdery fungal colonies and usually appears after fruiting has already begun. Combat this by making sure there is plenty of air circulation and placing them in a sunny area.
Phytophthora blight is a soil-borne disease that appears as brown, slimy legions. This can be avoided by simply rotating your crops every year.
Generally, you can combat these and other diseases by buying modern, resistant strains of cucumber seeds.
Where to Buy Seeds
If you’re ready to get started on your journey to harvest your first Pick-a-Bushel cucumber, check out the Pick-a-Bushel seeds available from one of our favorite seed retailers, True Leaf Market.
Time to Grow a Pick-a-Bushel Cucumber
Hopefully, this post has you feeling pumped to grow your own Pick-A-Bushel Cucumbers at home! We covered everything from how to plant to preventing disease, with this information you can feel confident in taking your first step.
Ready to continue discovering these funky fresh vegetables? Then learn more about cucumbers by checking out my planting guides, recipe tips, brand suggestions, and more!