Thursday, February 9, 2012
Why are my Apple Cucumbers yellow?
I have been looking at the Cucumber Crystal Apple fruit growing at home and wondering when they would turn creamy white like the picture on the label... and they haven't. I received a polite query from a customer today about yellow fruit and then discovered that Mark has experienced the same with his plants. It's beginning to sound like a theme.
My first concern in these situations is that we have labeled plants correctly, no problem there. I checked the seed packet we have used this season, no problem there. I did a Google search and hey presto, most Cucumber Crystal Apple images are quite yellow if not as lemony as the one above from our home garden. Only 1 in 10 is creamy white like the image we have used on our label or the one below from a seed company.
I can't find any information on why some fruit will be yellow and others white. There is some discussion about fruit turning bright yellow once it is over ripe but nothing conclusive. My own experience has been that the fruit is perfectly tasty but it is a little confusing knowing when to harvest, there is no obvious indicator that says "Hey, pick me now!" One theory appears to be the fruit will be larger and whiter if it is protected from the sun. The plant is a rambly vine type that can be tied to a trellis nut we have just let it scramble around.
Relative to Continental (Long Green Burpless) and Lebanese Cues the Crystal Apple is a poor cousin but it has a very loyal following. My Grand Father, Dave loved his Apple Cucumbers. They are very flavoursome and especially gassy, I think he liked that. Crystal Apple is an heirloom variety first released in New Zealand in 1934 and it appears to be considered quite a novelty in the northern hemisphere.
If you know any more about Apple Cucumbers, please let me know.
By the way I've had the regular summer question again: "why do my cucumbers (Pumpkins, Squash, Tomatoes, etc.) have lots of flowers but no fruit?" Answer: No Bees. Almost certainly, pretty much every time. Try tapping the flowers to release some pollen, alternatively brush pollen from one flower to another.