Now is the time to start your cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, and squash indoors. But with so many different varieties to choose from, it can be a tough decision!
Here's a few suggestions to get you started:
Watermelon - Vista Hybrid (Citrullus lanatus) - Big, sweet and reliable! The Vista Hybrid is a true classic. Its reddish flesh is firm, dense, extra sweet and crisp with that exceptional old-fashioned watermelon flavour.
These large oval fruits average a whopping 8kg, and have a light green rind with pronounced dark stripes.
Watermelons do best in areas with plenty of warm weather, which doesn't exactly make the Canadian prairies the most ideal place for melons to grow. But that doesn't mean it can’t be done! Placing a clear plastic covering over the melons for the first several weeks increases temperatures and can help immensely, allowing the melons to reach the same sizes available at the grocery store.
Watermelon – Rainbow Sherbert – This variety is actually a mix of the early-maturing “icebox” varieties Yellow Doll, New Orchid, and Tiger Baby watermelons. Creating a fantastic mix of colours, sure to impress at your next picnic or barbecue.
These extra fancy beauties weigh-in at only 1.8 to 3 kilograms with thin, green-striped rinds and dense, crisp flesh.
Their party colours and refreshingly sweet, sherbet-like taste make them wonderful everyday treats or gorgeous summer desserts!
Squash – Waltham Butternut (Cucurbita moschata) – An old favourite! Waltham Butternut Squash develops light bronze-coloured, easy-to-peel skins and deep orange, sweet, finely textured flesh that melts in the mouth.
Butternut squash matures in 110 days, so when growing your own, patience is key. But the payoff is well worth the wait!
Because these 3 to 4 pound vegetables store well for up to two months, they can be kept for winter dishes like creamy butternut soup or spiced butternut bread. Or, season them with mixed spices and roast them, or wrap them in foil and grill them over an open fire at your next summer barbecue!
Squash - Summer Scallop (Cucurbita pepo) – Here’s one of my favourite looking squashes. These unique flat fruits with scalloped edges resemble little flying saucers!
Squashes need full-sun, rich fertile soil, and warm temperatures. So make sure to plant them only when spring weather is warm and settled.
These summer squashes can be treated a lot like a zucchini. However, they don’t contain as much moisture as a zucchini, which makes them perfect for kabobs and grilling.
Cucumber – Cool Breeze (Cucumis sativus) – Here’s a cucumber that is really different. Cool Breeze is a parthenocarpic variety bred to set perfect fruit without cross-pollination. No male pollen is needed, so even if bees are scarce you'll still get a great crop!
A French “cornichon” (or gherkin) variety, Cool Breeze is intended for making those tiny cocktail-sized pickles, but the fruits are just as delicious when allowed to reach full size and eaten fresh.
If you’re short on space, these cucumbers can also be grown on a fence or a trellis for uniform straight fruit.
Cucumber – Bush Slicer (Cucumis sativus) – Speaking of being short on space, Bush Slicer cucumbers are perfect for container gardening!
The straight 15 to 20 cm-long fruits have smooth, tender skin with small seed cavities and sweet, crisp flesh. The sturdy hybrid vines yield strong crops in both cool conditions and real summer heat.
Enjoy this space-saving cucumber in delicious salads from your own patio this season!
Cucumber – Lemon Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) - Don’t be fooled by this heirloom's unusual shape-these bright yellow balls are excellent for salads and pickling. They have a clean, crisp taste and are never bitter!
Lemon cucumbers effortlessly produce loads of pastel yellow fruit the same colour, size, and shape as pale lemons.
Very young lemon cukes are delicious eaten right from the garden like a fresh crispy apple!