Imagine being able to pick fresh lemons, limes and oranges right from your patio! Read more »
Cutting overgrown grasses by more than an inch or two at a time can create unhealthy brown and bald spots in your lawn – or ev... Read more »
Kids are eager gardeners. They love to experiment with colorful flowers, have an adventurous sense of design, and getting dirt... Read more »
Our Shear Ease® Grass Shears include a patented mechanism that prevents the blades from jamming or sticking when you’re trimmin... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Hedge Shears, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear techno... Read more »
Our Easy-Pour Watering Can offers both capacity and control. The 2.6-gallon volume holds a generous amount of water that is eas... Read more »
Put your crafting skills to work and create a beautiful and unique fascinator that reflects your personal style. Read more »
“Painting” with tissue paper is not only fun but beautiful! Read more »
Mosaic tile frames are a beautiful way to display photos. Read more »
Designed for long, easy cuts down strips of Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that preve... Read more »
Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with a Squeeze Punch that makes every embellishment up to 2X easier to pun... Read more »
Designed for tight, precise cuts through Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Detail Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that p... Read more »
A colorful, roomy bag is just the thing you need to carry all your belongings for a day at the beach. Read more »
Keep the kids busy on a road trip with their own art bag full of inspiration and the essentials. Read more »
This easy pillowcase dress looks adorable with pretty fabrics. Plus, it is super simple to put together, even if you have not... Read more »
Only our Stitcher Scissors provide precision and control that meet the needs of the most demanding sewers and quilters. Micro-T... Read more »
Our Seamstress Scissors are the perfect all-purpose scissors for anyone who cuts fabric frequently. The smooth action of these... Read more »
Choose our Dressmaker Shears for long, smooth cuts through multiple layers of medium to heavy fabrics. Extra-long blades maximi... Read more »
Looking for a sure cure for bored kids - make sparkly sea creatures! Read more »
Open-ended activities like this Busy Book can keep kids occupied in the back seat of a car AND spark fun family conversations! Read more »
It doesn’t take much to turn an everyday snack into something a little extra special. It is great to see how quickly you can a... Read more »
Our Preschool Training Scissors features a special training lever that opens the blades after each cut, helping children learn... Read more »
Children love our Designer Non-stick Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the colorful handle patterns that make cutting fun and the non... Read more »
Our Designer Non-stick Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those ol... Read more »
The beautiful mood lighting of lanterns at outdoor gatherings is fabulous, so why not craft up a set to use this summer. Read more »
Treat your children to their own special tent hideaway, then stand back and watch as the fun and adventures begin! Read more »
Make a thoughtful gift for someone this summer! Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Great for beginners, the unique design of this tool makes cutting perfect shapes from fabric a breeze — since you’re not managi... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Picked at the peak of ripeness – before the skin toughens up and seeds become pithy – a cucumber is rarely bitter and more likely is sweet like its melon cousins. Sadly, preserving cucumbers for later use isn’t as easy as storing many other seasonal vegetables. Yes, they can be pickled. But, a pickle is nothing like a summery cuke sliced fresh into a crisp, refreshing salad. Perhaps the fresh cucumber’s fleeting nature is why their sweet, watery crunch is likened to taking a bite of summer.
To grow fresh cucumbers in your own garden, begin by selecting a variety known to produce in your area and in the space you’re able to allot to your plants. If you are gardening in smaller spaces or even in containers, consider planting varieties like ‘Baby Fingers’, ‘Bush Slicers’ or ‘Spacemaster’. These smaller plants produce lots of little cucumbers rapidly. If you have larger spaces where the plants can cover the ground or grow up a trellis, experiment with plants that produce larger, longer fruits, like English or Armenian varieties. Looking for a unique shape or color? Try growing lemon cucumbers. Want a generous plant to grow in rows? Try a traditional green variety like ‘Marketmore’. And, if pickling is your game, choose a variety known to hold up to heavier processing.
Ideally, begin your cucumbers from seed rather than starts. Like most plants in the cucurbit group, cucumbers form delicate root systems. If those roots are damaged during transplant, the plant may never thrive. Fortunately, cucumbers are easy to start rapidly from seed directly in the ground or a container. Simply direct-seed them according to the seed packet directions after temperatures have warmed for the season. Protect new sprouts from curious, hungry birds and slugs. Keep the plants well watered and the soil fertilized for best performance. Additionally, keep in mind that most cucumber plants require warmer temperatures; yet, they do appreciate a bit of protection from the hottest, direct sunlight. Planting large sunflowers or corn to help shade them a bit makes for a pretty view and a delicious meal.
While most fruit-forming seasonal veggie plants benefit from pollinator visits, many – but not all – cucumber cultivars are self-pollinating. This means they will easily form fruit even if a bee never lands on their flowers. Still, combining cucumber plants with seasonal flowers like Cosmos or herbs like Borage can make for a stunning garden combination.
Regardless of what variety you grow, be sure to harvest the fruits early and often. If you allow them to rest on the vine, not only will they toughen up, fill out with spines, and become bitter as seeds mature, but the plants will also reduce production of new fruit. Rather than create new fruits, the plant will focus energy on fully developing the seed within an aging fruit on the vine. As that happens, the vine itself will lose productivity and wither having created progeny for future generations in a tough pithy cucumber nobody wants to eat.
Mom’s Vinegar Cukes & Sweet Onion
Growing up on the farm, this salad was the one snack we would always find in the fridge all summer long. It’s simple to make, and the longer it rests, the better it tastes. As a stand-alone, it is tasty. Tossed with leafy greens, it provides a light dressing as well as extra crunch.
2-4 fresh cucumbers1 fresh sweet onion (Walla-Walla, Red or whatever’s in the garden)
1 cup vinegar (I prefer sweeter apple cider; my husband prefers more tart red wine)
pinch sea salt
½-1 teaspoon sugar
(optional)several grinds pepper
Mix salt, sugar and pepper with vinegar in a large bowl.
Peel and dice onion. Stir into vinegar mixture and set aside.
Rub off any spines on the cucumber with a clean, dry towel. Trim off the stem ends of the cucumbers & discard; this end contains bitter compounds.
If the cucumbers are older or store-bought and waxed, remove all of the skin.* Cut in half length-wise. Spoon out the interior portion with seeds and discard.
If the cucumbers are garden-fresh and young, leave all of the skin intact or remove a portion of the skin in length-wise stripes. Retain the interior. Cut into ¼” round slices.
Stir sliced cucumber into onion-vinegar mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours or up to several days.
*If the cucumbers are particularly bitter, sprinkle with some additional salt (coarse if available) and place in a colander to drain for about 30 minutes. Then squeeze the cucumbers to press out excess bitter juices. Rinse briefly in water & then proceed to the next step.