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My New Favorite Cucumber – Spacemaster

August 29, 2011
Pretty Tasty SpaceMaster Cucumber -- Or is it?

Pretty Tasty SpaceMaster Cucumber

I’ve got to take a moment to sing the praises of my new favorite container cucumber – Spacemaster 80. Kinda sounds like the spaceship of cucumbers, right?

When I saw that Irish Eyes Garden seeds had a new compact, organic offering — Spacemaster 80 —  I couldn’t resist giving it a try. Purported to produce bitter-free, prolific fruits on determinant plants in 58 days even when planted in containers or in small spaces– I had to try it.

Because we have a cool, wet, short growing season, I decided to grow my cukes in our passive solar greenhouse, in containers this year. I seeded both SpaceMaster and Marketmore, which I’ve grown for several years with consistent results. Both germinated, and both took over the greenhouse, which is dripping with cukes right now.

spacemaster cuke

SpaceMaster Vine & Cuke Dripping Down the Sides of the Greenhouse

But, I gotta say: SpaceMaster is sweeter than Marketmore, and the cukes are so pretty. They look like perfect little slightly striped dill pickles. If I had a larger crop, I’d probably try my hand at pickling a batch.

The pros on this crop: grows well in a container, crisp, fast-forming, sweet, thin-skinned, pretty snacking cukes. Best picked young before seeds begin to mature.

The cons: Powdery mildew hits them fast and hard. But, with vigilant cutting out of the infection; the plants will continue to produce for several weeks despite being determinants.

Next year I’ll definitely try these again. They taste better than Marketmore, which also grow well in containers in the greenhouse. And, yes, I’ll probably grow more Marketmores as well. They’re my old reliables, and it looks like their more disease-resistant, indeterminant vines are going to outlast the SpaceMasters, which are coming to the end of their life cycle.

Note to self: Next year try more succession plantings of SpaceMasters. And by that, I mean more successful succession plantings. This year, it took about 3 tries at seeding to get successful starts. Such was the problem with our especially dark, cold, wet growing year in 2011.

6 Comments

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I love reading your blog and always get such useful tips and inspiration from it. This year was the first time I ever successfully grew cucumbers in Seattle – I don’t know what they’re called, they were starts from the Orca plant sale, but they are the most abundantly producing pickling cukes I’ve ever seen. I do have a question about powdery mildew, we always get it on our squash and cukes but the plants still seem to produce just fine. Is it just that we’re getting a reduced crop than if we didn’t have it or if we more actively combatted it? Thanks!

  2. Thanks so much for reading & writing in! Congrats on the cukes, too.

    Plants can survive and continue to produce for a while once they have powdery mildew, but you’re right — it does really stress the plants and can reduce yield. And, it can spread from one plant to an entire crop very rapidly. It certainly isn’t pretty, and it will eventually kill the crop. Depending on when it hits, you can get some fruits or no fruits at all. Best to try to keep on top of it & catch it as soon as it starts…speaking of, I’ve got a bunch of leaves I need to go cut out of my cukes and my butternuts this morning. Bah!

  3. […] our greenhouse is beyond dripping with cucumbers this year. We’ve enjoyed them in cocktails and salads. And, now I’ve started eating […]

  4. Jenn says:

    What size (diameter & depth) of a container can I grow the Spacemaster in? Thanks

  5. We’ve grown them in as small as a 1 gallon container & got a few fruits from those plants before they pooped out for the season. The ones we grew in 2/3 gallon pots performed much better & longer. The dimensions of these size pots can vary. Some are deeper than wider & visa versa. Good luck!

  6. […] a grape, and a roma), three pepper plants (a purple bell, and purple & green jalapeno), two Spacemaster bush cucumbers, and two Small Wonder spaghetti squash have settled in… and all are doing […]

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