Most American gardeners are familiar with two types of cucumbers in general: big, long, green slicing cucumbers and short fat pickling cucumbers. Both types of cucumbers are warm weather fruits that will grow relatively easily on a vine if provided with plenty of water. Cucumbers are harvested before they are mature. Once the cucumbers mature, the seeds will turn hard and woody and the fruit will be inedible. You can pick your cucumbers as soon as they achieve a dull, uniform green color. Super market cucumbers are shiny because they are covered with wax. Your cucumber should stay good in your refrigerator for about three days.
The long green slicing types of cucumbers are the ones that you are probably most likely to include in a fresh salad. Look for seeds like the 'Tamra' or the 'Wautoma' to grow in your garden. You can harvest your long green slicing cucumbers, as you need them. You should probably pluck them as they reach eight inches, though, so they do not turn woody. If you allow the big cucumbers on your vine to grow for too long, they will prevent new cucumbers from growing in.
Unlike long green slicing cucumbers, pickling cucumbers should be picked as they grow in every day since they can rapidly over mature. If you leave a single cucumber on a vine, the entire vine will quite producing new cucumbers. Plant varieties such as the 'Parisian Pickling' the 'Bush Pickle' or the 'Carolina,' depending upon whether you want dill pickles or sweet gherkins. Always harvest your cucumbers in the morning. If you harvest them in the morning when they are still cold, they will stay good for a longer time in your refrigerator. Once you finish pickling your cucumbers, though, they should stay good indefinitely if you keep them jarred.