The Corner

Clue to Why Armentians Are Still Around

“Mr. Derbyshire—If the Armenians are pickle specialists, it probably

developed as a self-defense mechanism. I’m one of those gardeners who can’t

resist an offbeat description in a seed catalog. One year I ordered a packet

of Armenian cucumbers. I planted six seeds. The resulting vines grew up a

nine-foot trellis and down the other side. The cucumbers were three feet

long. There were dozens of fruits on each vine. I gave them away until my

friends and co-workers started avoiding me. I used them for BB practice. I

finally threw the remaining cukes on the compost heap. They were

open-pollinated and each cucumber spawned a dozen new vines. We sold the

farm and moved to Minnesota, but for all I know they’re still reproducing

behind the milkhouse and threatening the ecosystem of central Indiana. I

should have drowned them in salt water when I had the chance.”

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