Gherkin Piccolo Di Parigi
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A traditional French Cornichon pickler / gherkin seen in every French market. Huge quantities of tiny crisp spiny skinned cukes are produced from early in the season. Ideal whole / sliced or for pickling. 61 days from germination. Cucumbers need a lot of warmth so late May is the earliest sowing for an unheated greenhouse or tunnel.
The reason early sowings can be difficult is cucumbers grow very fast and will quickly outgrow the propagator. If the glasshouse or tunnel is warm enough in late April to early May then it’s much easier as plants can go straight into their planting positions.
Sow 2 seeds about 1.5 cm deep in 9cm pots. Keep at 20 degrees C in the propagator until the seedlings emerge. The seeds should germinate in 3 -5 days.
Cucumbers roots can rot if left in a pot of soggy compost so you need to be careful not over water. If in doubt leave them a little on the dry side.
Cucumbers raised in a propagator will need to be hardened off even though you are still planting them indoors. A sudden temperature drop from the propagator to the temperature of the tunnel can kill the plants so you need to be careful.
If the spring is mild and the tunnel is warm enough it will be fine to leave the plants out in the tunnel during the day and covering with a layer of fleece at night. If night are still cold return the plants to the propagator before darkness falls.
Remember to keep the compost moist but not soaking. Once the plants are planted into the larger bed in a week or so this will no longer be a problem.
to plant your cucumber . Plant in the top of the mound at a distance of 45cm apart. The mound will aid drainage and help keep the roots from getting waterlogged. If you do get cold nights after planting place a layer of fleece over the young plants.
Your cucumber plants will need a framework to grow up otherwise they will trail along the ground.
If you have a tunnel it’s handy to push a stick ot bamboo in beside the plant and run a string from the stick to the crop bars or hoops on the tunnel. Simply twirl the growing vine around the string as it grows, you can use a tie every now and then to stop the vine sliding down the string.
Male Flowers & Mature Fruits
Don’t let mature fruits stay on the vine, the cucumber will think it has done it’s job (Producing seeds) and cease production of new fruit.
Cut your cucumbers from the vine, don’t pull them off or you’ll damage the vine. Each vine can produce between 20 and 50 fruits in a season. You’ll get some odd shapes but they will all taste as good!