I consider myself a beginning vegetable gardener, even though I've been working with ornamentals for 30+ years. After several years of trying, I've finally managed to get my first ever homegrown cucumber. We don't go into all the failures as they are unimportant for this post. After harvesting my first ever cucumber last night, we found the skin to be bitter. If I'm not mistaken it's a burpless slicing varirety.

It was about 7" long, and about a 1" across (smaller than the standard ones you get in the grocery store around here). I'm trying to narrow down what has causes the bitterness, and wondering if I can fix it for future fruit this year.

From what I've been reading, it seems like inconstant watering might be the most likely cause. It gets water 3-4 times a week depending to temperature.

Any suggestions?


1 Answer 1


From the various books on the subject three most common reasons for bitterness are:

  • not enough water or not consistent watering
  • temperatures are too cold or too hot while fruit are formed
  • leaving "male" flowers on the plant (I'm trying to test this theory at the moment myself, but it's tricky when you have more than few plants :))

I also noticed that cucumbers are better tasting if picked as soon as they are "ready" - when flower is dropped from the end.

  • I never knew you needed to wait for the flower to drop off. Perhaps I picked it too early?
    – Ben
    Aug 3, 2017 at 16:01
  • @Ben: I'm not 100% sure in all cases, if it's really wet, then flowers are kind of stuck on fruit. But this is my general guide, because i'm impatient with cucumbers and squashes.
    – InitK
    Aug 3, 2017 at 17:41

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