English cucumber is long, straight and narrow, constantly being pulled by gravity as it grows downwards in a commercial greenhouse producing virtually no cucumber seeds with a skin you can eat.
English cucumber are types of cucumbers that were developed; you guessed it, by an English botanist who wanted to create a cucumber with fewer seeds. His reasoning was that a cucumber without seeds would be much more marketable because it would be more pallatable. Seeds in cucumbers make eating cucumbers an unpleasant experience for many fresh vegetable lovers. In a few short years his efforts produced a cucumber that was longer, greener, more attractive, had virtually no seeds, was easy to slice and tasted less bitter and better. Although the English were not able to get rid of the cucumber seeds entirely, they were small, soft and edible. They had also lost their ability to mature and germinate which meant they would not have the ability to grow a new cucumber plant.
This meant that the English cucumber would not be an open field pollinator, which meant that they only would produce only female flowers. Without male flowers, English cucumber plants would not be able to pollinate themselves to produce seed bearing cucumber. Eventually plant breeders solved this problem by perfecting the English cucumber variety so it would self-pollinate in a growing season much like a Seedless watermelon does.
The Long And Short Of It - long, straight and narrow
Most types of cucumbers grow to a certain length, stop and start to widen as they ripen. Typical garden cucumbers are short, medium length vegetables that vary in appearance and size. The English cucumber by comparison is much longer than regular types of cucumbers: sometimes 3 or 4 times longer. Part of this is due to plant genetics and part is caused by commercial greenhouse growing methods. The long and short of it is that in a commercial greenhouse, to efficiently grow types of cucumbers like English cucumber, the vines must be trellised so the cucumber plants will grow up and down. This not only saves space, but also causes each English cucumber to hang vertically on the vine where the forces of gravity constantly pull downward on the cucumber. Gravity actually stretches each cucumber to grow long, straight and narrow over the course of a few months.
The Love Of An English Cucumber Is Skin Deep
Another advantage of English cucumber is that it is one of the few types of cucumbers with a skin you can eat. The difference is that the skin of other types of cucumbers taste bitter but the skin of an English cucumber tastes sweet and adds fiber to your diet. People also love the fact that English cucumber skin is really thin compared to the other types of cucumbers, which make them good for eating but delicate for shipping. This is why each English cucumber is individually shrink wrapped in plastic, which also by the way retains freshness and extends shelf life.
Cool As A Cucumber
There are two types of cucumbers marketed as long and narrow cucumbers; European cucumber, which is not wrapped and sold as a fresh market cucumber typically found at farmers markets and English cucumber which always shrink wrapped in protective plastic for shipping long distances. Even though they are called different by names, they are the essentially same cucumber; a no wrap or shrink wrapped English cucumber.
Gravity is what makes an English Cucumber long, straight and narrow, because it is constantly being pulled downward as it grows downward from a garden trellis or in a commercial greenhouse.
There are different varieties of English Cucumbers for different growing environments; greenhouse, garden and heirloom.
Cucumber Seed. Dutch Long is suitable for both in ground and hydroponic growing. The plant begins to produce 6 weeks after germination and continues for another 12 to 14 months.
Cucumber Seed. Italian Dark is an exceptionally long English cucumber growing over 16 inches in length. This cucumber is also suitable for in ground and hydroponic cultivation. The skin is darker than Dutch Long and more resilient to mildew.
Cucumber Seed. English Telegraph is a popular garden variety of English cucumber suitable for temperate growing zones. It has some resistance to "powdery mildew" without the bitter taste of most English cucumber.
Cucumber Seed. Suyo Long is a Chinese version of the English cucumber. The English cucumber was introduced to China by traders in the 16th century were it was cross bred with other varieties to produce Suyo Long.