Growing Armenian cucumbers is the best way to ensure a steady supply of ‘cucumbers’ during the heat of the summer in hot climates.
First cultivated in Armenia in the 15th century, Armenian cucumbers (also called yard-long cucumbers) are actually not cucumbers at all – they are a ribbed variety of musk melon that tastes similar to a cucumber and looks like a cucumber inside. They are also high in vitamins A, C, and K, and potassium.
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5 Tips for How to Grow Armenian Cucumbers
1. Plant Armenian cucumbers at the right time
Before planting, prepare soil by amending with compost.
When it is warm outside (consistent days above 65℉, and 80℉ is even better), plant 2-3 seeds ½ to 1 inch deep about 1 foot apart. When seeds are 3-4 inches tall, thin to 1 plant every foot. Although they are heat-tolerant, they require even and consistent watering to prevent them from becoming bitter.
Planting dates for the low desert of Arizona:
- Start seeds indoors: January 15 – June 15
- Plant outside: February 15 – July 15
Although you can plant transplants, Armenian cucumber seeds do best directly sown in garden. Click here for Armenian cucumber seeds.
Heat tolerance is Armenian cucumbers number one attribute; high temperatures do not stress these plants. Armenian cucumbers are one of only a handful of vegetables that can be planted through the beginning of July in the low desert.
2. Give Armenian cucumbers room to grow in the garden
Armenian cucumbers love to vine and can easily take over a garden. Give the vines something to climb. If you are looking for vertical gardening ideas, read this post.
- Do not overcrowd plants – crowded plants are more susceptible to pests and diseases such as powdery mildew and squash bugs.
- Rotate where you plant Armenian cucumbers – do not plant in the same area as you previously planted other melons, squash, or cucumbers.
- Corn is a good companion plant for Armenian cucumbers, and they may climb the corn as they would a trellis.
- Armenian cucumbers are best grown on some sort of trellis to keep them off the ground. Trellised fruits will grow straighter.
3. Pay attention to the flowers
Armenian cucumbers have both male and female flowers. Male flowers will appear first and will continue to bloom; about 2 weeks later the first female flowers will appear. Both types of flowers are yellow. Male flowers will bloom and be visited by a pollinator to pass the pollen onto the female flower, then wither and fall off. Female flowers are bulbous, will bloom, and if pollinated will develop into fruit.
Blooms are numerous, and hand-pollination is usually not necessary. Encourage bees by planting oregano, basil, and other flowering plants nearby.
4. Harvesting tips for Armenian cucumbers
- Although fruits can grow to 3 feet long in a hurry, they are best picked between 12-18 inches long and 2 ½ inches in diameter.
- Pick fruit early in the day and immerse in ice cold water to lengthen storage time.
- Cut off fruit from vine; pulling can damage vine.
- Leaving fruit on the vine too long signals to the plant to slow or stop production.
- Larger fruit have larger more noticeable seeds.
- Larger fruit tastes more like a watermelon rind and less like a cucumber.
5. Enjoy the harvest of Armenian cucumbers from your garden
A few plants will give you almost more Armenian cucumbers than you can use. Here are a few ways to enjoy them:
- No need to peel; skin on young Armenian cucumbers is thin and edible.
- Use as you would cucumbers in salad, dips, sushi, or sandwiches.
- Armenian cucumbers are delicious pickled.
- Try grilling them in vegetable kabobs or puréeing in smoothies.
- Excellent with pork, fish, mint, oregano, dill, yogurt, and feta cheese.
Looking for more information on growing cucumbers in Arizona? This article will tell you what you need to know.
Summer gardening in Arizona can be a challenge. This post gives you the information to be successful.
Friday 31st of March 2023
Hi Angela! I was wondering if you have any experience with growing Beit Alpha cucumbers here. I’ve started some seeds, but am a little concerned I should have started them earlier in the year… I haven’t been able to find much information specific to this variety regarding tolerating our temps. Thanks!
Tuesday 4th of April 2023
They seem to be more heat tolerant than most, but not nearly as heat tolerant as the Armenian type cucs.
Wednesday 28th of September 2022
Thank you for these wonderful articles! I grew an Armenian cucumber plant this July, and it has been great. I’ve fertilized it with fish emulsion, but the plant seems to be stunting its growth now. The stems growing are tiny, along with the fruit. None of them have been vital even after hand pollination, and the plants leaves are turning yellow. Any suggestions welcome. The plant is pest free as well.
Thursday 29th of September 2022
It's probably finishing up. They produce well for several weeks and then production slows.
B Scott Williams
Sunday 11th of September 2022
I have grown Armenian cucumbers for a few seasons. Every season my Armenian cucumbers have been light green except this season. All of my Armenian cucumbers are dark green. Why? Any idea why the same variety became dark green?
Tuesday 13th of September 2022
It may have crossed with another variety.
Monday 8th of August 2022
I have planted for 1st time & now have 4 cucumbers about 13 in. already. Look very interesting.
Tuesday 9th of August 2022
Monday 14th of March 2022
Hey there Angela,
I have over a dozen carosello cucumber varieties (including one called the Striped Carosello Leccese that I have supplied to San Diego Seed and Hoss Tools). These are very similar to the Armenian cucumbers, except that they grow faster and have a better texture and, depending on the variety, a better taste. If you would like to try some, just let me know. -Jay
Tuesday 15th of March 2022
Hi Jay, Sure I would love to give some a try. I'll send you an email. Thanks.