Cucumbers will cross with one another but not with other plants in the Cucurbitaceae family. For instance, 'Lemon Apple' will readily cross with 'Homemade Pickles' but it will not cross with 'West Indian Gherkin'. If you are planning to save seed and growing more than one variety of cucumber (Cucumis sativus), you will need to isolate them from one another by about one-half mile or hand pollinate to insure seed purity.
Cucumbers are also slightly day length sensitive. That is, they produce the most female flowers when the days are about eleven hours long. This is why it is common to have a shortage of cucumbers in midsummer in some areas.
This day length phenomenon is not to be confused with a problem that some hybrids exhibit. Some hybrid cucumber varieties are what are known as gynoecious. That is, they only produce female flowers. How the seed companies get around this problem is by placing a small number of seeds from a standard-type, but similar cucumber, into the pack. The odds are usually good that if you plant the whole packet and everything grows, you will get both male and female flowers so that pollination will occur and you will get fruit.
The older, standard varieties that we offer are not unstable hybrids. They are open-pollinated (e.g. will breed true-to-type if not crossed with another variety) and the same vines will produce both male and female flowers.
• The optimal size for harvest depends on the specific characteristics of the variety.
• In general, they should be harvested when green and firm. Even 'Lemon Apple' cucumbers should be harvested green with only the slightest yellow blush.
• The adage that "bigger is better" does not hold true for cucumbers. No matter the variety, they tend to become bitter the more they mature.
• Remove the cucumbers from the plants by cutting so as not to damage the vines. Additionally, leave a small bit of the stem on the fruits. This will allow them to store in your refrigerator longer.
• Vegetable Cultivar Descriptions for North America
• "Vegetables of New York - Vol. 1 Part IV - The Cucurbits" - New York A. E. S., 1937.