Hidden Treasure in the Vegetable Garden


Have you ever noticed that not all treasures (and by ‘treasures’, I mean vegetables) in your vegetable garden are obvious?

 Cucumber Plant

Cucumber Plant

A particularly sneaky vegetable are cucumbers.

You can look at a beautiful cucumber plant and not see any cucumbers, despite the fact that there may be quite a few just ready for the picking.

Cucumbers are very easy to grow and need support to grow up onto.  I use both tomato cages and thin bamboo stakes tied into a ‘tepee’ shape.

One thing you may not know about cucumbers is that each plant produces two different kind of flowers – one is male and the other is female.

 Cucumber Plant

Above, is a picture of the male flower.  They appear before the female flowers.


Female flowers have a thick base, which has the shape of a tiny cucumber. It is from the female flowers that the cucumbers are formed.

Earlier this week, I went out to check my vegetable garden and to make sure there were no pests bothering my young cucumber plants.

 Cucumber Plant

All five of my cucumber plants looked happy and I didn’t expect any cucumbers yet.

But, just to be sure, I moved the large leaves aside and found….

ripe cucumber

A beautiful, fully ripe cucumber.

In fact, there wasn’t just one, there was another cucumber as well.

So the moral of this story is to check up on your vegetables often and look beyond the large leaves.

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
2 replies
  1. Balisha
    Balisha says:

    I was anxious for cucumbers from our garden. I think that some little critter likes them too, because they are all gone. Your's look wonderful. Enjoy!

  2. Helen
    Helen says:

    And sometimes, even when you think you always check carefully, you miss finding a cucumber until it is just huge! I call those big ones snozcumbers. They’re basically inedible, but… they make great chicken food if cut up! This year whenever I found snozcumbers but I had plenty of scraps for the chickens, I’d cut them up and freeze them to use on a day when I didn’t have many chicken scraps.

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