Cucumbers – Before growing cucumbers in your garden make sure you give them plenty of room or provide them with something to climb on. Cucumbers are vine plants that usually grow on the ground and will spread to well over six feet in length. If you do not have the kind of room for these trailing vines you can train them to climb a fence or a trellis. A trellis trained or fence trained plant will produce better formed cucumbers.
When you get around to growing cucumbers you will have a large selection to choose from for planting. There are narrow, large cukes for eating right off the vine and short, fat cucumbers for pickling. But you can also pickle the long, narrow ones and the short, fat variety can be eaten raw in a salad.
These wonderful vegetables need a lot of moisture so frequent watering is necessary. If you spread a heavy amount of organic mulch or black plastic mulch it will help to keep the soil damp. If you still end up getting weeds after spreading mulch it is best to remove them by hand so you do not damage the root system which is very shallow. When the long, narrow cukes get to be about six to eight inches in length and the short ones reach one and one-half to three inches they are ready for picking. Once the cucumbers turn yellow they are overripe, so pick them while they are still green.
Now that you know how to grow them it is time to talk about their health benefits. To receive the most health benefits it is best if they are eaten unpeeled; this is the best source of minerals and fiber. The majority of cucumbers that are carried by your grocery store have a waxed coating or a pesticide residue on the skin which at times can be hard to remove; therefore it would be safer to grow your own. Cucumbers, as many of you already know, are known as natural eye pads; they help reduce the dark circles under eyes and swelling around them. They can also relax tired eyes at the end of the day. The cucumber helps to soothe and soften the skin so you feel more relaxed. The ingredients contained in cucumbers helps in the treatment of several skin problems.
Cucumber diet. One medium cucumber only has 42 calories and because of the fiber content is quite filling which makes them good for those watching their weight. Because of their water content, they are excellent for replacing fluids that can get lost due to sweating. Eating foods with high levels of water will help protect the body from dehydration during the summer months.
They are excellent as a source of magnesium and potassium which helps to lower blood pressure. They are also a source of the antioxidant vitamins C and A along with folic acid. Drinking cucumber juice on a daily basis may help control arthritis, eczema, and gout along with reducing heartburn or soothing an acid stomach.
Keep cucumbers cool but be careful that too much refrigeration can make them soggy. If you find that the skin is too bitter just peel off the skin and cut off the ends. If you decide to pickle cucumbers just remember that this causes them to lose the majority of their vitamins and they will become high in sodium. In order to receive the best of the health benefits of cucumbers grow your own organically and eat them fresh from the garden.