Gardening Fun: The 5 Best Vegetables to Grow with Kids
Written by Erica Strauss
Filed under: Home and Garden
Children who don't love cucumbers often love pickles, and pickle-haters will frequently devour fresh-from-the-vine cukes. For this reason, cucumbers give you two opportunities to convince your kids that gardening is great fun and leads to a delicious reward!
While most cucumber varieties are bred to be good for either fresh eating or pickling -- not both -- if you are short on space any slicing cucumber (the Marketmore cucumbers always do well for me) can be used when small to make quick refrigerator pickles. Just slice the cucumber into disks, toss with a bit of salt and apple cider vinegar, and allow the flavors to combine in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to several hours.
To grow: Cucumbers are in the same family as pumpkins and can be grown in the same way. They have moderately large seeds and can be direct-sown six to eight seeds to a fertile hill in late-May or early June. Thin to the three strongest looking seedlings. Cucumbers can also be trellised -- this is my preferred method -- which saves a lot of space and will give you straighter, cleaner cukes. Set up your support -- nylon trellis netting works well -- when you sow your cucumbers. Don't wait until they are up and growing. Sow one cucumber seed about 3/4-inch deep every six inches along the trellis. On hills or trellises, covering the soil with clear plastic as for pumpkins will speed up germination or allow you to start your seeds a week or two earlier.
About Erica Strauss:
Professional chef-turned-garden writer Erica Strauss raises kids, chickens, and vegetables on one-third of an acre in suburban Seattle. She writes about edible gardening, seasonal eating, urban homesteading, and keeping a productive home at Northwest Edible Life. Join the NW Edible conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.