Painted Serpent Long-Fruited Cucumber

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Painted Serpent Long-Fruited Cucumber

Cucumis melo var. flexuosus
(55 days from transplant) Open-pollinated. Bite into the snake that doesn’t bite back. Also known as Armenian Cucumber or Snake Melon, native to Armenia and brought to Italy in the 15th century. William Woys Weaver says, “This is one of the oldest of our heirlooms, yet one of the most neglected by our gardeners,” oft exhibited but seldom eaten. Yet its flavor surpasses that of cucumbers, excelling in salads and stir-fries without bitterness or burps. Slender slightly fuzzy flexuous fruits delicately coil like a serpent with alternate light and dark green stripes. Culture like the melon it is, starting indoors in individual pots and transplanting into a low tunnel. Will grow up to 30" but best eaten at 8–18". Straighter if trellised. Never grew well on CR’s central Maine clay, but a prolific producer in his sandy Colrain, Mass., soil, beginning as early as July 26 one warm, dry season.


1388 Painted Serpent
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A: 1g for $2.00  
B: 4g for $2.75  
C: 16g for $4.50  
D: 32g for $7.00  
E: 112g for $16.00  
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Additional Information

Long-fruited Types

Asian cukes are more resistant to CMV than other types.

For really straight fruit, consider trellising your cukes. Adam Tomash and June Zellers grow theirs on a 5' arch made from cattle panel, a welded wire material with big holes. They explain this trellis system in an article in the MOF&G winter 2008-9 edition.

Cucumbers

  • About 30 seeds/g; about 900 seeds/oz; variations noted.
  • Days to maturity are from emergence after direct seeding. From transplant, subtract 20 days.

Culture: May be started indoors for early production, or direct-seeded when soil has warmed. Minimum germination soil temperature 60°, optimal ranger 65–95°. Very tender, will not survive frost. Direct seed 3" apart thinning to 1' apart in rows 4–6' apart or 6 per mound in hills 4' apart thinning to 3 best plants. For transplants: once seedlings have 1–2 true leaves, about 3 weeks old, plant 1' apart in rows 4–6' apart. Cucumbers require good fertility and regular rain or irrigation for abundant yields. Without adequate water, fruits will be misshapen and bitter. Pick cukes frequently for best production, or else the plants shut down. Make sure to remove blimps to the compost pile.

Combat striped cucumber beetles by handpicking early AM when the dew makes them sluggish, or use floating row covers, removing when cukes flower. Cucumber beetles are the vector for BW.

Using compost in conjunction with row covers (rather than either alone) increased cucumber yields at the University of Michigan.

Parthenocarpic varieties can set fruit without being pollinated, an advantage in cold cloudy summers. Gynoecious varieties produce almost exclusively female flowers for uniformity and high yields.

Saving Seed: Saving cucumber seed is easy! Take that big yellow cuke that got away and save it for seed. Scoop out the guts of overripe fruit and ferment it in an uncovered container for a few days. A moldy gross cap to the slurry means the seeds are ready to rinse and dry. To ensure true-to-type seed, grow only one open-pollinated variety per season.

Diseases:

  • ALS: Alternaria Leaf Spot
  • ANTH: Anthracnose
  • BW: Bacterial Wilt
  • CMV: Cucumber Mosaic Virus
  • CVYV: Cucumber Vein Yellow Virus
  • DM: Downy Mildew
  • PM: Powdery Mildew
  • PRSV: Papaya Ring Spot Virus
  • R: Rust
  • WMV: Watermelon Mosaic Virus
  • ZYMV: Zucchini Yellows Mosaic Virus

Pest: Striped Cucumber Beetle
Cultural controls: use tolerant or resistant varieties, rotate crops, till under crop debris soon after harvest, use floating row covers until flowers appear, use plastic mulch, perimeter trap cropping (Black Zucchini and Blue Hubbard make particularly good trap crops), use yellow sticky strips, hand-pick early morning when beetles are very sluggish.
Materials: Surround, Pyrethrum (PyGanic).

Germination Testing

For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.