Latticing cucumbers in the garden patch, summer 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016
One of the fun things to discover in Sweden is that small cucumbers, originally an Asian fruit, are easy to grow here once you have some land available in a warm corner of the garden. They do like warm weather and are actually very picky with that. Below 15 degrees centigrade in the soil and you can as well save yourself the trouble of even planting them.
Swedish summers are not always tropical warm. You can likewise experience 10 degrees centigrade at Midsummer’s as on New Year’s Eve. So usually, it is from middle (to late) in the summer season here that the gherkins suddenly decide life is worth living after all and start growing leaves. They stretch upwards and throw out small lassos to use for climbing. You know that they’re doing fine when small star-shaped flowers that are a vibrant yellow begin to light up the spaces among all the large green leaves.
Looking at the tiny tendrils, you’ll also know when it is time to give them a little direction in life – upwards – or they will end up in a big entangled mass. We have noticed that they have no qualms using each other for climb support, so given enough space they might probably be fine growing directly on the ground. But we prefer that each has its own climb support and giving them a string each skywards enables you to see them in their full sunny disposition once they start bearing fruit.
We look forward to that these vinelings will soon grow into producing small gherkins. Ten to fifteen plants will give more pickled cucumbers than most any family can find use for over the season, possibly until next harvest, unless of course the family household really likes meatballs to which pickled cucumbers and lingonberry jam are the favourite side dishes. But a handful of seeds and the smallest piece of land imaginable, and you are very likely self-sufficient on gherkins till next year’s harvest.
Warm enough with their feet cozy in a nice garden patch, and these sparkly yellow gherkin flowers will bloom.
Looking at these all bolstered somehow that feels great.