Non-bitter cucumbers?

I grew Suyo Long cucumbers last year and unless they were picked at juuuuust the right time, they were pretty bitter. The bitterness got worse as the season went on. I had heard good things about these cucumbers which makes me wonder if something in my care was off. They were on drip irrigation in a bed with Armenian melons that were spectacular. I’m in Northern Illinois.

Would love to hear any suggestions on varieties or tips on growing to avoid bitterness. Many thanks!

I’m surprised to hear your Suyo Long cucumbers were bitter - I’ve grown them for several years and haven’t ever had any bitter ones here in NC, even in dry spells.


Thanks for sharing your experience with Suyo Long. I have heard so many good things, I was surprised too. I’m not sure what I did wrong! I did notice that even young ones had seeds and I read that they could be seedless. I only grew one variety of cucumber last year but maybe they were cross-pollinated from a neighbor’s garden.

I don’t know much about fancy varieties or anything.

I just like regular cucumbers and I’ve seldom had my Straight 8 or Marketmore be bitter.

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My Suyo Long cucumbers have all had seeds, but I try to harvest them before they get very large, while the seeds are immature and hardly noticeable. The ones I miss get very large, turn yellow and get full of seeds, but I don’t eat those. It’s one of my favorite cucumber varieties - takes the heat like a champ and is very productive. I’ve shared the Suyo Longs with neighbors who were initially skeptical because of the unfamiliar size and shape, but they all said that they tasted great.

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Suyo is the one cucumber I have that doesn’t get bitter (Utah - dry, hot summer)…any size, any heat, any water conditions)…the others are off and on.

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Great feedback, thanks all! Sounds like I need to give Suyo Long another try. I still have seeds from last year so if I can get my garden extension done soon, I’ll get some in the ground. They did get powdery mildew pretty bad towards the end of the season and maybe that affected the flavor. I’ll definitely space them out more and we are adding arched trellises this year so that will probably help.

I wonder if you could try Suyo Long seed from a different source - just to be sure that’s what you’ve been growing. Sometimes suppliers make mistakes.

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Good point! I got these from Seed Savers who I think are usually pretty reliable but as you say, mistakes do happen.

Here’s where I got my seed: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

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Awesome; thanks! Looks like a great source

The ability to taste bitter is a heterozygous trait, which two genes you have determines how much you taste bitter. Homozygous non-bitter taster - don’t taste bitter at all. Heterozygous bitter/non-bitter taster - taste it, but not overpoweringly; these are the people that like broccoli rabe (me!). Homozygous bitter taster - the bitterness is really, really strong; @LemonDrop you are most likely this one. It partially explains why some people find a cucumber with little to no bitterness while others still taste it (growing conditions, stage of maturity, variety also play a large part).

These are the ones that I find to be good growers in Pennsylvania and not bitter (but remember, I am heterozygous bitter taster, so I don’t taste it as strongly!)

  • Jibai Shimoshinuzu - Japanese from Baker Creek

  • Aonaga Jibai - Japanese from Baker Creek

  • Poona Kheere - Indian cucumber; looks odd but is fantastic (sweet, disease resistant, good fresh eating/pickles - multiple sources, Baker Creek, SSE

  • Picolino F1 - High Mowing seeds

  • Beit alpha - Middle Eastern - from Franchi seed (seeds from Italy)


Interesting info, Bellatrix! You may well be right. Although in this case, I do have multiple tasters who confirmed the terrible bitterness. :nauseated_face:

Thanks for sharing the varieties that have done well for you! I should check out some of the Japanese type, especially ones that have disease resistance.

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