Oh, the glorious variety of cucumbers!

What will you be using your cucumber harvest for in the kitchen? Start with that decision to find the best cucumber seeds to plant in your garden. Add varieties that are best for canning and some that are best for slicing, and you’ll enjoy the refreshing taste and hydrating goodness of cucumbers over the full growing season and have pickle chips and spears to savor over the fall and winter, too.

Growing cucumbers from seed is the preferred method for this delicious vegetable. Why direct sow? Cucumbers don’t like to have their roots disturbed so sowing seeds directly into garden soil is preferred but wait until the threat of frost has passed and soil temperatures have warmed to 60 degrees F.

Cucumbers grow quickly and require little care. Add compost to the soil to help retain moisture and keep the soil cool. Since cucumbers prefer to grow in full sun in well-drained soil, adding compost when you sow the seeds can improve drainage and root health. Generously water your cucumber seeds and plants weekly and more often if hot weather persists for more than a couple of days.

Did you know there are burpless cucumber seeds? These cucumbers tend to have thinner skins and therefore less cucurbitacin, a naturally occurring compound that helps defend cucumbers, pumpkins, and some squash from nibbling animals, pests, and some diseases. At Park Seed you’ll find organic cucumber seeds, hybrids, and gherkins. You can grow spineless and thorny varieties, too. Find the most highly recommended types for slicing or pickling.

As one of the most popular vegetables to grow from seed in American gardens, cucumber fruits offer so many options in sizes, flavors, uses, and chopped raw, are a refreshing addition to salads, smoothies, and cold soup recipes. Pickling is of course popular and extends the shelf-life of your harvest. Don’t forget to add cucumber slices to infused water with mint, lemon, cantaloupe, strawberries, or oranges for a summery tasting, hydrating, spa feeling drink on a hot summer day.