Cucumber and Tomato Salads

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The lettuce is bolting, but the tomatoes are going red, while the cucumbers are producing. Time for a new salad.

The great thing about eating seasonally from the garden is that you know the food is fresh, but you also gain more joy when you harvest the first crop of a certain vegetable. When you go to a grocery store, any vegetable is available to you. If you like cucumbers, you can have them whenever you want, and maybe this causes them to loose a little luster. If you always eat a tomato, what is special about a tomato. However, that first cucumber or tomato becomes a special prize in your mind. I think that many of the winter salads went over well, but now there is an excitement in the air.

    I have served cucumbers for the last week. No one recognized them when the had been baked with a fish dish. A simple salad of cucumber slices with a yogurt mint topping was refreshing. The first time that I added a tomato with the cucumber I had seen the others clean their plates I made a salad that added yellow and red tomatoes and parsley to the cucumbers. The dressing was a white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and sugar. A generous portion was on each plate. My wife spoke up after the prayers. She was so happy for that salad. I noticed that everyone was eating this side dish first. Had they been so deprived of these wonders that the flavors became a new revelation to them? Winter vegetables may cause interest, and they can be quite delicious, but the summer harvest inspires.
    I find that a store bought tomato does not have much flavor. If you leave that tomato on a sunny window sill, you will find that the flavor improves. Most of us though may throw the tomato into the refrigerator with the other produce. A chilled cucumber does feel better in the mouth. This pair does seem to team up in different dishes. Gazpacho takes on its flavors from this combination. I do like adding cucumbers into baked or pan fried dishes where a tomato is used. Salads may be my favorite use though. You can air them with a chili pepper for a little kick. They make a backdrop for different herbs (parsley and basil being my main choices, but try adding fresh mint). They also hold up to the creamy dressing as well as a vinegar with oil. What I do find curious is that dressings intended for cucumbers seem to have sugar added around the world. In Germany, this is done (I grew up with a salad made of cucumbers, parsley, and onions), but you will discover this sugar addition in dressings for cucumbers in the Middle East to the Far East. This touch of sweetness enhances the flavor.
    Growing cucumbers is easy. Have something for the vine to climb. Have a lot of sun light. Water when needed. I have not been watering my tomato or cucumber plants as much as others. Stressing them a bit appears to help with the production. The key has appeared to be a generous helping of sun. Like most home gardeners, I face the shade of trees. This shade is great for keeping my home cool, but it can effect the plants. I spread my cucumbers throughout the garden, and the ones which obtain the most sun (around eight hours worth) have been more vigorous in growth and produce. I have my tomato plants all in one spot, which helps with the bird control. I had to add the bird netting this year; however, I do have to look at this set up. I do not want to constrict the growth of the vine. My big concern with the tomato harvest is insect attack. The cucumbers have not faced any challenges in this regard.
    The salads have been a good change of pace in the meals. I should try a baked stuffed cucumber new week. A cooked cucumber does have a different flavor, and it does loose that crunch. As for now, these salads make for a nice little snack.

2 Responses to “Cucumber and Tomato Salads”

  • Rick says:

    Sounds delicious! Nothing really compares to a garden fresh salad, dont you agree? I have a question, birds have been pecking apart my tomatoes and ive only been able to use half of my harvest. Do you know of any good bird control methods? I don’t want to hurt the birds, but I really want my tomatoes! Thanks!

  • Frank Schulte-Ladbeck says:

    I have been using bird netting myself. I am able to reuse it next year, although I do get a few holes in it when it snags on something. So far no birds have been hurt (and I encourage birds to come into the yard), and the tomato harvest was not effected by them. I did have to watch out for insects, and that is where the brown paper bag covering the tomato was the best option, and I guess that might discourage the birds, since they would not see the red of the fruit.

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This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank


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