Cucumbers are easy to grow, and just one plant will produce armloads of the crunchy, refreshing fruits. Cucumbers are grouped as slicers or picklers. All slicers are long and thin and are best eaten fresh. Picklers, which are shorter with more pronounced spines or bumps on their skin, are most often used preserved as pickles, but can be eaten fresh, too. Keep cucumbers watered well to avoid moisture stress, which can lead to bitterness.
Once fruits set, they develop quickly. Harvest every few days to prevent oversize fruits that may be seedy and bitter. Cut fruit stems with a scissors or pruning shears to avoid damage to the plant. Harvest picklers when they are 2-4 inches long. Start picking slicers when they become 6-9 inches long. Some Asian and greenhouse slicing types may grow to 12 inches long or longer.
Use them to make cooling salads all through the hot summer. Add homegrown cucumbers to mixed leafy salads or mixed chopped vegetable salads. And try your hand at pickles, either the super easy refrigerator type or the canned type that Grandma used to make.