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Cool Cucumber "Salad" & Tips on Growing Your Own Cucumbers
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“Cool Cucumber “Salad” & Tips on Growing Your Own Cucumbers”

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We became homeowners in January and every minute since I’ve been working to turn the back yard from a post-apocalyptic nightmare to a kid friendly space with an organic garden. So far, we’ve harvested our first tomato and several cucumbers and I am super happy! Today, I found myself caught up in one of those “oh no, I totally forgot to feed myself lunch and now I am suddenly, intensely STARVING” mom-moments. Thanks to the cucumbers, I whipped up this lifesaver of a “salad” and had it with flat bread. Next time I will have this over a giant bowl of baby spinach or kale- which we did not have on hand in my moment of over the top hunger.

Here is the the super quick and very easy recipe, this makes an excellent snack/lunch or summer side dish for a BBQ.

Cool Cucumber “Salad”

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1 cucumber, chopped in small bite-sized chunks.

1 cup Greek yogurt

juice of 1/2 a lemon

Dill (fresh or dry….fresh chop 3-4 sprigs, dry about 1 heaping tsp)

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

Salt

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, it’s yummy right away, but refrigerate it for an hour or more for the flavors to really “marry”.

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On growing cucumbers:

Since this is my first garden as an adult, I thought I would share some tips on growing cucumbers- this is a relatively easy vegetable for any gardener, even the rookie-est rook.  There are two ways to start your cucumbers; from seed or from seedling. If you want to be 100% sure the cucumbers are organic/non-gmo, go with seed. Here is a list of seed vendors that are safe.  http://occupymonsanto360.org/blog/monsanto-free-seed-companies/

If homegrown goodness is your main objective and you just wanna grow a cucumber because you are tired of killing orchids, try your local nursery or even Home Depot- ours has a section of Local/Organic seedlings too which is pretty cool!

We chose the “burpless cucumber” variety- thin skin, and a sweet, delicious taste.

Cucumbers are actually a great container plant, no need for a giant plot of land to grow a good personal crop of cuc’s. I grow mine in a 2×2 section of our garden box and my mother in law uses a large (20″) pot on her patio. I tried to capture this in the photo above but my tomatoes have gone totally rouge so it’s a bit tricky to spot the cucumbers.

Tips for success:

1. Starting them out: if you start from seed- you can germinate indoors or out, as long as the soil is around 60-70 degrees, transplant after the last frost has past and the soil is at 60 degrees consistently. (Here in SoCal that is much earlier in the year than some other places)

2. They need to CLIMB!!!! My advice from this fun first-time-with-cucumbers learning adventure is to  get a large cylindrical tomato cage, plant two seedlings directly opposite one another just on the outside of the cage, later if additional support is needed you can use tomato steaks on the other side of the plant.

3. Watering; I water mine every 2-3 days depending on the heat/how dry the weather is- we live 3 miles from the beach so there tends to be a bit more moisture in the air here. I put the hose on a low flow, just above a trickle and hold it at the base of the plant for 20 seconds.

4. Fertilizing; Cucumbers love nitrogen, if you see the leaves getting yellow, lack of nitrogen is usually the issue- I used Kellogg organic vegetable fertilizer  when I transplanted the seedlings and then added some Kellogg organic mulch about 4 weeks later, I add mulch monthly.

5. When to harvest: “when is a cucumber ripe?” is a fun question- because if you can see it, you can eat it! That’s where cornichons come from!! However for the full size yummies, keep an eye and when the flower at the end is dead/falls off and it is of decent size to share with a friend. You can snip with sharp scissors or twist to remove the ripe cucumbers.

Helpful links:
here are a few websites I have referenced along the way! Happy Growing!!

http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/cucumbers

http://www.veggiegardener.com/how-and-when-to-pick-cucumbers/

 

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