Genus: Cucumis sativus - Family: Cucurbitaceae
Gherkin and its origins
Originating in India, the Gherkin is an herbaceous annual that is part of the same family and species as a cucumber but is a different cultivar.
In appearance, the fruits resemble small cucumbers and are elongated with bumpy skin but the taste is different, Gherkins have a sweet flesh that is crisp and fresh.
How to Plant Gherkin
Gherkins thrive in hot and humid climates. If the soil is warm and the threat of frost has passed, they can be grown outdoors, sowing the seeds during April and May. Choose an area of the garden that receives direct sunlight.
The soil should be a loose, medium textured soil with a slightly acidic PH. It should be rich in humus and can benefit from the addition of well-rotted manure.
Fertilise several times during the cultivation period with Bayfolan Multi Gardens and Gardens (30g/m² before sowing, 20g/m² after 2-3 weeks, 20g/m² when fruits appear and 20g/m² in mid-harvest). Alternatively, when foliage appears, use 10-20g/m² of Universal Pro Bayfolan, immediate-release fertiliser.
Create rows of seeds, the rows should be spaced at least 1m apart and each seed hole should have a 50cm spacing. Place 3 seeds in each hole.
Regular irrigation is essential to ensure the soil doesn’t dry out; however, over-watering can be equally as dangerous.
When the shoots begin to sprout, thin out the weaker seedlings, leaving behind only the strongest plants with 7-8 leaves on each.
As the Gherkin plant grows, it will need to be staked and tied for support.
When to harvest Gherkin
Gherkin plants can reach up to 4m in length and typically have creeping or climbing stems. They can be harvested two months after planting, which can start in June. The fruit should be very firm when harvested.
Once harvested, it is not recommended to grow Gherkins in the same area for at least 3-4 years.
Did you know
Gherkins are typically pickled in vinegar when harvested, they can be refreshing and palette cleansing, they have no cholesterol and only 11 calories per 100g. Some pickled varieties include herbs in the vinegar, particularly dill, hence where the name “dill pickle” originates.
Rich in vitamin C, they are a great addition to salads, sauces and chutneys thanks to their rich flavour. Sometimes a Gherkin can be difficult to digest, especially for children.