My quest to use up the old seeds that I’ve accumulated over the years has brought me to grow cucumber ‘Telegraph Improved’. I’ve grown cucumbers before in the past and stopped because I came to the conclusion that they needed quite a bit of water, which is great if you’re growing them at your home, a little bit trickier if you’re growing them at an allotment.
Cucumber ‘Telegraph Improved’, as the name suggests, is an improvement on the original Telegraph Long which is a fantastic English heirloom variety that’s been around since the late 1800s. Telegraph improved typically grown in greenhouses, so I’ll have to build a rudimentary frame to store these in, or keep them in my cold frame. All else fails, I’ve read that you can still grow these outside.
So I know what you’re thinking… If this is called improved – what’s the improvement. The improvement is lies in the vigor, quality of crop and the flavour.
Growing cucumbers from seed is easy, and unsurprisingly, is very similar to growing other fruits and veg from seed. You fill a pot with multi-purpose compost, push in the seeds about a knuckle deep, cover with compost and keep watered. That’s it. When the seedlings grow, separate into bigger pots when the seedlings grow another set of leaves.
With this particular set of seeds, I was surprised to find that it only contained a handful of seeds. Does this mean I’m going to be grow more cucumbers than I can handle? I’d love to find out what recipes I can cook up and find new and interesting things to do with a food item that’s basically 96% water.
Cucumbers are native to India and have been cultivated for thousands and thousands of years. It’s widely believed that the Romans spread cucumbers across the land. Cucumbers are even mentioned in the Bible and were available to the Egyptians. Click here for a great and interesting read on the history of cucumbers.
Now the big question on my mind is.. Is the cucumber a fruit or a vegetable? I know you can Google the answer but the debate is a lot more fun!