Cucumis sativus (52 days) Open-pollinated. Introduced in 1929, the result of a 5-year collaboration between the National Pickle Packers Association and the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station. Suitable for both small pickles and dills. Not quite as early as Northern Pickler, but tending to hold quality over a longer season, the firm black-spined dark green fruits are usually quite sweet, rarely bitter. Plants are vigorous dependable producers. Resists CMV and scab. ②④
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About 30 seeds/g; about 900 seeds/oz; variations noted.
Days to maturity are from emergence after direct seeding. From transplant, subtract 20 days.
Culture: May be started indoors for early production, or direct-seeded when soil has warmed. Minimum germination soil temperature 65°, optimal range 65–95°. Very tender, will not survive frost. Direct seed 3" apart thinning to 1' apart in rows 4–6' apart or 6 per mound in hills 4' apart thinning to 3 best plants. For transplants: once seedlings have 1–2 true leaves, about 3 weeks old, plant 1' apart in rows 4–6' apart. Cucumbers require good fertility and regular rain or irrigation for abundant yields. Without adequate water, fruits will be misshapen and bitter. Pick cukes frequently for best production, or else the plants shut down. Make sure to remove blimps to the compost pile.
Combat striped cucumber beetles by handpicking early AM when the dew makes them sluggish, or use floating row covers, removing when cukes flower. Cucumber beetles are the vector for BW.
Using compost in conjunction with row covers (rather than either alone) increased cucumber yields at the University of Michigan.
Saving Seed: Saving cucumber seed is easy! Take that big yellow cuke that got away and save it for seed. Scoop out the guts of overripe fruit and ferment it in an uncovered container for a few days. A moldy gross cap to the slurry means the seeds are ready to rinse and dry. To ensure true-to-type seed, grow only one open-pollinated variety per season.