Let's talk for a minute about growing cucumbers. .
Slicing cucumbers, such as Straight Eight, Sweet Success, and Marketmore can grow to a length of eight to ten inches before picking. If they are allowed to get larger than this, the flavor remains good as long as the flesh is firm. A bitter flavor in cucumbers isn‘t because the cucumbers got too large, but is rather the result of insufficient water. For best flavor, cucumbers should be kept moist, and watered deeply on a regular basis. All cucumbers should be kept well picked to encourage a more prolific crop. Another trick to increase fruit set on cucumber vines is to train them to grow up a trellis. Putting a good layer mulch around the cucumber plant, whether the plant is trained on a trellis or covers the ground, will conserve water and help to prevent the wilting episodes that damage the flavor of the cucumbers. Pickling cucumbers generally set on more heavily than the slicing types, and stay small longer, which is what makes them perfect for pickling, but other types of cucumbers can be used for pickling with good results. Burpless cucumber types, such as Sweet Success, have a tender skin and fewer seeds, making them more easily digestible and perfect for salads and pickling. Armenian cucumbers can grow to a length of three feet or more, always staying deliciously sweet and mild. The skin of Armenian cucumbers is not bitter and needs no peeling. If you have problems with insects in the cucumber plants, and you want to avoid a chemical insecticide, try using Natural Guard Diatomaceous Earth that contains silica dioxide. This compound is non-toxic to people and animals, but insects are decimated by it, and cannot build up an immunity to it. Or, you can try mixing one tablespoon of Dawn dish washing liquid, one tablespoon of cayenne pepper, and one tablespoon of garlic powder in a gallon of water, stir until the mix becomes frothy and you can smell the garlic odor, and then pour it over the plant and around it. This natural remedy is very effective on a great many pests. If you prefer to resort to a chemical insecticide, be sure to follow directions carefully.