Cucumbers can be sneaky devils. They don't make a sound. They hide amongst the foliage and if you don't look for them carefully, you won't see them until they're the size of footballs. I got these at just the right moment. The largest is no more than about five inches long. They were way down low where I was trimming the grass along the edge of the cucumber bed. You have to move a few leaves to the side to spot them.
I grow my cucumbers for pickling and there are a couple of issues to consider. First, I don't have many ready to pick yet. I could purchase more at the Whole Foods, but I decided to just use my own and make a small batch. Secondly, my preferred method is to ferment the cucumbers for a deli-style sour pickle. But it's a little warm this time of year. The ideal fermentation temperature is around 68 degrees. I'll just have to find a relatively cool place in the house to stash them.
First I measured enough water to generously cover my pickles and it came to 1 1/2 quarts (six cups). To make "half-sours," I dissolve 3 tablespoons pure sea salt (no additives, or use pickling salt) in the water and pour it into a small plastic food-grade bucket. Add the cucumbers sliced in half lengthwise. Then from the garden I harvested nearly a whole dill plant--the seed head and several branches. I cut these from the stem and added them to the bucket, along with cloves from two heads of our home-grown garlic and about a dozen black peppercorns.
Cover the pickles with a ceramic plate that just fits inside the bucket, and weigh this down with a sealed plastic container filled with water. Cover everything with a clean dish towel to keep the dust out and place the bucket in a dark, cool spot, maybe in the basement.
Check on the pickles in a couple of days. They're done when they taste just right to you, maybe in a week. To stop the fermentation, put the pickles in their brine in the refrigerator. You can also boil the brine to kill the bacteria, then chill it and add the pickles later.
I will be keeping an eye on these and reporting on their progress as time goes by.