Mr VegHead says...

Vegetable musings from Sea Spring Seeds

Carmen cucumber added to catalogue

I’ve got some good news and some bad news. So which do you want to hear first? The truth is, you don’t have a choice: its the bad news first.

The bad news

Cucumber var. La Diva

La Diva, a high yielding cucumber, but unfortunately the fruit have a tendency to be bitter.

It is with some sadness that we dropped the cucumber La Diva from our 2017 catalogue. Cucumbers – both indoors and outdoors – are our Holy Grail. We’ve put a great amount of effort into finding varieties that produce well and taste good – and, just as importantly, with seed that doesn’t cost the earth.

La Diva was a top producer in our 2015 trial of outdoor cucumbers, and the price for its seed represented excellent value for money. Though a hint of bitterness was noted in our tastings, we felt it was insignificant enough to be overlooked. On balance, La Diva looked like a winner and we added it to Sea Spring Seeds’ 2016 catalogue.

Curious about its potential to produce undercover, we grew it again during the summer of 2016 in one of our polytunnels. As expected, yields were excellent; but this time the fruit were bitter, the bitterness was so strong and unpleasant it just couldn’t be ignored. Given the emphasis we put on taste, there was no other choice but to drop La Diva, which we did after very little debate.

That’s the bad news

The good news

The good news is that we are now selling a cucumber that has been one of our favourites for many years.

Carmen cucumber seed

The fruit of Carmen cucumbers are very good tasting. They are dark green, and so straight and uniform they are a favourite on the show bench.

Carmen, which we we first grew over 20 years ago, is an indoor, all-female, parthenocarpic cucumber – for information on the sex life of cucumbers click here. Fortunately, age has not diminished its quality or value; not only is it a great cucumber for eating, but the long fruit it produces is a favourite with exhibitors on the show bench. What’s more, cost of the seed is very good for a variety of its calibre, and we feel that no compromises have been made in adding Carmen to our pantheon of vegetables.

Carmen cucumber. The plants are very productive, producing large number of very high quality fruit.

Carmen cucumber. The plants are very productive, producing large number of very high quality fruit.

What can I say? Lose one variety and replace it with another – karma has been restored.


For details on how to grow cucumbers click here.


To buy seeds of Carmen cucumber click here.