With Monsanto’s renegade GMO wheat in the news, the importance of growing and preserving heirloom and open pollinated seed is even more evident. Every year we plant and heirloom we’ve never grown, and this year it was the Poona Kheera cucumber.
The Poona Kheera is an heirloom cucumber from India, where the fruit’s heritage finds its origins. It’s a light colored cucumber with skin that darkens to resemble a russet potato when ripe. How could any gardenerd resist something that interesting?
Our seeds came from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, but you can also get them from Seed Savers Exchange and many others. We planted our crop on a trellis along with some Armenian cucumbers (last year’s experiment that did very well). We conditioned the soil in a raised bed before hand to incorporate an inch or so of compost and planted seeds directly. As per usual, the first round was eaten by critters, so we stepped up our game and covered the new seedlings with cloches for protection. Worked like a charm.
This variety is said to be naturally resistant to disease. So far we’ve seen no signs of powdery mildew or other issues. As it has been growing, we’ve been watering with kelp emulsion every couple of weeks.
At this stage, about 5 inches long, the skins have yellowed and are just starting to develop a darker russet color. Some people prefer to pick them at this stage, but we’re going to wait to see how the finished product looks.
We’ve already picked our first Armenian cucumber to tide us over until these babies ripen. More growing details: our irrigation is set for every other day for about 5 minutes. Our crops are planted close together to create a living mulch, so we don’t lose much water to evaporation. The photo above was taken mid-day so you can see the shadows created by the surrounding plant material for protection.
Hey, have you ever grown Poona Kheera? Share your experiences here. Post a comment below.
This Post Has 19 Comments
How well do these cucumbers do in heat. In Tennessee I often lose my cucumber plants in August or September during a heat wave, and sadly just as they are really producing and putting on buds for the fall sets. Anyone else who gardens in really hot weather have a cucumber they are successful with.
While cucumbers love warmer weather, they need a lot more water than you’d think, especially on hot days. Keep an eye out for varieties that tolerate extreme temperatures and those will do better where you live.
Are my poona kheera bad if they developed black on the stickers growing on the cucumber and stem?
The spines on cucumbers tend to turn black as they ripen. I wouldn’t worry about it at all. I harvest while wearing gloves and roll the cucumber around in gloved hands to remove the spines. It works great!
I grew this variety first time . Got excited and looks like I picked one off plant few days earlier and kind of taste bitter. Cucumber bottom and top was brownish rest was white/ light green and was about 5 inches long.
Was I supposed to wait until cucumber turned completely brown as shown by you.?
Early harvesting may have cause little bitterness.
My memory of the Poona Kheera is rusty but not all of those turned fully dark in the past. Bitterness can be an issue of inconsistent watering. Make sure they get enough water and see if that helps.
Yes, this year is my first!
We grew these last year and loved them! Definitely a family favourite for us now. I’ve linked to our blog and the write up of our growing experiences below.
Thanks for sharing your experience. We’ll check it out!
Claire, I quickly read your blog post and saw the bit about the plants producing two types of cucumbers. It’s not from cross pollination, or at least not from cross pollination of this generation that you grew. It’s most likely that your original seeds contained a few rogue seeds that crossed during their parent’s grow-out. Sometimes seeds “go rogue” where they produce something not true-to-type. It’s how many awesome plants we now know and love came about.
I bought some Poona Kheera seeds and wanted to grow in a pot. I live in growing zone 7b. How many seeds did you use in your pot and how big was the pot? Also, what kind of trellis did you use to support the vines. I appreciate any advise you could give me.
Thanks in advance.
I grew them for making soup and it is a very refreshing cucumber soup.
Ours were so sweet that we drizzled honey on them and artificial sweetener and ate them for dessert.
has anyone had success pickling these, if so how?
Good question. I have pickled Lemon cucumber, but not these. Any gardenerds out there with experience pickling Poona Kheera? Post your story here.
I have used them in pickles and stir-fries and chutneys! They are great. No disease, no issues, only problem is they produce a lot!
i am maintaining a Roof Garden with more than35variety of herbals and few fruit trees.Iam interested in Poona Kheera Cucumbers,so i need some seeds and details for growing in my garden
We got ours from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. Rareseeds.com
We have grown these for a few years now and love them. They are a novelty in our area but our customers love them as well. One of a few varieties that do not go bitter in excessive heat. One of the very best veggies of summer and truly a gem among cucumbers. Thanks for providing seeds for a fantastic vegetable.