The Q&A Archives: Growing Sweet-Tasting Cucumbers

Question: A friend of mine here in western Washington loves cucumbers but says each time he's tried to grow them they have a bitter taste, not the sweet taste he gets in the produce stand. Can you give him some suggestions? Thanks! Ray Eickhoff Bothell, WA

Answer: The keys to sweet cucumbers are growing varieties adapted to your area, keeping the plants healthy and stress-free, and maintaining consisten soil moisture. Varieties for Western Washington, such as 'Marketmore 86', are available from Territorial Seed Co. in Cottage Grove, OR. (541-942-9547) Protect plants from "pest stress" such as cucumber beetles and diseases such as powdery mildew from infecting the plants. Finally, mulch cucumbers with a 4 inch layer of hay mulch in early summer to maintain soil moisture, and water as needed to keep soil moist. Maturing cucumbers need moisture to sweeten up. Also, enough sunlight is important to give that sweet taste, so be sure they are planted in full sun and pray for clear weather!

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