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Inspired by Monticello

May 31st, 2011

Last week I was getting ready to plant my cucumbers and was contemplating what kind of supports I wanted to use. The last two years I have used bamboo stakes and they have never been quite long enough or quite sturdy enough. As I was standing in the garden thinking, I remembered my visit to Monticello last summer. I took a lot of photos of the various forms of plant supports because I loved how they used natural materials.

Since we’re clearing out that new garden, I have more than enough saplings and small trees for using at plant supports. I cut 12 small trees and made 3 structures for my cucumbers. I planted one variety of cucumber on each trellis. I planted 4 seeds at the base of each leg and I will let the 3 best ones grow.

In previous years I’ve only grown one type of pickle ‘Boston Pickling’. I’ve always been happy with it, but this year I wanted to try a few others. The varieties of cucumbers I’m growing for the 2011 season:

Solly Beiler – This cucumber makes superior pickles when harvested at about the size of your thumb. Spectacularly productive in our trials, the plants yield very uniform fruits, which at full maturity are russeted like a Poona Kheera. Stays crisp and mild even at larger sizes. Developed in the 1930’s by Solomon “Solly” Beiler, then a bishop in the Beachy Amish Mennonite Church, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Our original seed was furnished by Martin J. Hughes, a present day member of the same church in Elmira, New York (source: Baker Creek)

Fin de Meaux – Slender, little green fruit are picked when 2 inches long and are used to make delicious cornichon pickles. A popular French variety that is hard to find. Very productive plants bear fruit that is darker green than most types. (source: Baker Creek)

Boston Pickling – Plant produces heavy yields of small 6″ long pickling type cucumbers. This variety has been grown by home gardeners for generations. Perfect for making pickles, but also good in salads. Harvest cucumbers when they are 2″ to 6″ long. (source: originally from Baker Creek but they longer carry them)

The square around the base of each trellis is probably about 4 foot by 4 foot. In the middle of each square I seeded a variety of lettuces in decorative squares. I thought the shade provided by the cucumber vines would help keep the lettuce a little cooler.

I don’t grow any eating cucumbers as neither Mr Chiots or I eat them. Cucumbers give me indigestion, even the burpless variety, so I’ve never really enjoyed eating them. I do make a variety of pickles, from sweet to fermented dill and I’m certainly looking forward to stashing lots of pickles in the pantry to winter eating!

Do you grow pickling cucumbers, regular cucumbers, or both? What varieties do you grow?

20 Comments to “Inspired by Monticello”
  1. Xan on May 31, 2011 at 6:47 am

    I’m the opposite–I only grow eating cukes because we don’t eat that many pickles! Found a wonderful, flavorful one called Poinsett76 from Pinetree- very prolific, dense fruit with a light skin and very green flesh.

    Reply to Xan's comment

  2. kristin @ going country on May 31, 2011 at 7:11 am

    I can’t even remember what kind of cucumbers we have. They are a pickling variety, but I can’t remember the name. We’ve had them for a few years now, I think they’re from John Scheeper’s, but seriously, WHY can’t I remember the name of them? Annoying.

    Still not in the ground though, whatever they are. I’m still slogging through planting the potatoes and haven’t yet moved on to the warm soil stuff. It’s been kind of a slow, irritating year so far . . .

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  3. KimH on May 31, 2011 at 8:33 am

    I plan to have a couple plants of Marketmore76.. and thats is if I ever get them going. ;)

    Reply to KimH's comment

  4. Katrina on May 31, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I grow both pickling and slicing cucumbers. I use both for pickling though. This is the first year I’ve had great success with cucumbers. We’ve picked almost 50 pounds from about 12 plants. :)

    Reply to Katrina's comment

  5. Jeannette on May 31, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Love the natural look of those trellises. You mentioned that you planted 4 seeds but will keep the 3 best. If I understand correctly each leg will have 3 plants so each trellis will support 12 full grown plants? How tall are the trellises? I would have thought one plant per trellis leg but this may explain how some gardeners get those beautiful green teepee structures.

    Reply to Jeannette's comment

    • Susy on May 31, 2011 at 11:27 am

      Yes I will have 3 plants per leg and each plant will be about 12 inches apart but they’ll be trained up one leg of the trellis. These trellises are about 10 feet tall and about four foot square at the bottom. I’ll be sure to update here on the blog when the cucumbers are growing well.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Jaye Whitney on May 31, 2011 at 10:12 am

    This year I’m growing the Suyo Long Cukes (Baker Seed), that have a great taste and are awesome for pickling. Also a burpless “Muncher” and a “Pepino Muncher” for slicing and eating.

    My neighbor always makes cucumber juice from my cucumbers, delicious!

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  7. itchbay on May 31, 2011 at 10:47 am

    I haven’t been growing cucumbers because the boy doesn’t like the eating kind, and I don’t care for pickles. I did put a couple of seeds in a starter pot this year for eating cucumbers, just for kicks. I may try to grow them up the extra string on my tomato trellis. Or I may put them in the bed with the rest of the veggies. We’ll see how I feel when the seedlings get big enough to transplant.

    I like your trellises made from saplings. I like how natural it looks. I’m curious to know how it works out for you.

    Reply to itchbay's comment

  8. Joshua on May 31, 2011 at 11:55 am

    It’s funny you posted this. Your Monticello photos inspired me to build my own trellises from found wood. You can read about it here:

    I built a few more. You can see them in this photo:

    Reply to Joshua's comment

  9. Daedre Craig on May 31, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I’m growing mexican sour gherkin, suyo long, lemon, and picklebush this year. I’ve had a lot of trouble with cucumber in the last couple years. They always get powdery mildew really bad and stop producing after a month or so.

    Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

  10. Lynn Mc. on May 31, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    This year I’m growing lemon cukes. Very mild.

    Reply to Lynn Mc.'s comment

  11. Brenda on May 31, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Hi, I’m really interested to see what recipies you use for your cucumbers, I also don’t like fresh cucumbers, I was begining to think I was the only one!

    Reply to Brenda's comment

  12. bonnie on May 31, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Picked my first cuke today!! My brother had given my mother some seedlings of a “white cucumber,” an heirloom. I took a couple of the extra ones. I left it in the cell pack for over a week until I had a chance to plant it. There were already blooms on it in the cell pack. We were blessed with favorable weather at transplant time, so there wasn’t a lot of transplant shock. In just 22 days, I picked the first cuke. I’m totally astounded.

    I also planted some “Tendergreen” by Ferry Morse. It is a burpless variety and is absolutely delightful. (This is the third year I’ve planted it.)

    We usually eat fresh all that we are able and give away the rest.

    Reply to bonnie's comment

  13. bonnie on May 31, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Oh, btw, I love your trellises.

    Reply to bonnie's comment

    • Susy on May 31, 2011 at 9:27 pm

      Thanks, I happen to like them as well. I really do love the natural look, and of course the free part as well!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  14. Jaspenelle on May 31, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    Oh how beautiful! Do you need to tie the cucumbers so they climb?

    Reply to Jaspenelle's comment

    • Susy on June 1, 2011 at 8:28 am

      I’m going to push some small branches into the ground around the vines when they start growing. They should grab on to the trellis, but if not I’ll tie them every so often. I have found that cucumbers are strong climbers without much need for being tied off.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  15. Renee on May 31, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    I’m planning to make/use these this year, too! I didn’t think about using them for cucumbers, but maybe I should… thanks!

    Love how there are ‘extra branchy’ branches at the bottom of the legs – I suppose that is to help the little plants get a grip to help them climb up?

    Reply to Renee's comment

  16. annie on June 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I always grow Thai Cucumbers from Baker Creek… they do well in our extreme heat and humidity. I often add in some Lemon Cucumbers for variety and I keep trying to grow Parisian Pickling Cucumbers which are harvested small for cornichons, only I keep missing the tiny stage and picking them when they’re huge. One of these days I’ll get it together!

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  17. Kristen @ More Than Mulberries on June 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Oh CUKES!! I am not having much luck at ALL – and I was so excited to try growing them for the first time this year. I planted a Straight Eight and 2 Boston Picklers. But the rains came and killed off everything. I just replanted some I bought from the garden center last weekend today…I had to wait again for the hard rain to clear up…and now that it has, my Straight Eight looks more like a crumpled one! Not sure what I am doing wrong!

    Reply to Kristen @ More Than Mulberries's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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