Friday, August 1, 2014

Sikkim Cucumbers in Containers

From top to bottom: Marketmore, Sikkim and Lemon cucumbers
Last week I harvested the first Sikkim cucumber of the season, so I thought I would share some thoughts on this unusual looking cucumber. As you can see, it is a bit thicker than a typical cucumber. It also has a very melon-like skin, which isn’t as tough as it looks (we ate a couple of slices with the skin on and it wasn’t anything like the almost plastic tasting skin large cucumbers can develop).

Tasty and cool looking!
In terms of flavor, I would say the Sikkim cucumber is slightly sweeter than an average cucumber, with a very pleasant mild taste. The seeds are tender, and the fruit is nice and firm. This is definitely a delicious cucumber, but I don’t think the taste is radically different from other cukes.

Sikkim cucumbers in various stages of development
One important factor to consider with the Sikkim cucumber is the yield. I harvested this one, and I have 5-6 others on the plants in various stages of ripening. There are also 1-2 small cucumbers on the way. This is on 3 plants in a 7 gallon pot. Just for comparison’s sake, I planted 3 plants of Marketmore and I have already harvested three 9 inch cucumbers and have probably a solid dozen about that size ready to pick, with at least a dozen smaller cucumbers coming right behind. The same is true with the lemon cucumbers; we’ve already eaten 4-5 and we have at least 12 almost ready to pick now with many small ones coming.

Sikkim cucumbers ripening
Given all of this, the Sikkim is a somewhat low yielding plant, which backs up what reviewers online said about the variety. If there is a negative at all, it’s that the Sikkim cucumber doesn’t produce a large number of cucumbers relative to other varieties. This is not a big deal to me (I do this mostly because I enjoy growing unusual varieties) but if you are into square foot gardening and high yields are a crucial component of your plan then I would consider a different variety.

However, if you want a tasty, exotic, and unusual cucumber then I highly recommend the Sikkim cucumber!