Cucumbers are a member of the cucurbitaceae family, which also includes melons and squashes.
Cucumbers are classified as either slicing or pickling type. The pickling varieties can be eaten fresh also, but they also hold their texture well in processing.
The bush type of cucumbers grow well in containers. Redwood or plastic containers work better than clay because cucumbers need a lot of water and clay pots lose a lot of water out the sides. Black pots will get too hot in the sun, so avoid that color. Make sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom, and if possible, elevate the pot 4 inches off the ground.
Cucumbers originated in India and have been cultivated for about 3,000 years in Western Asia. Records of cucumber cultivation appear in France in the 9th century, England in the 14th century, and in North America by the mid-16th century.
Most of the distinct types of cucumber grown today were known at least 400 years ago. Present forms range from thick, stubby little fruits, three to four inches long, up to the great English greenhouse varieties that often reach a length of nearly two feet.
The most popular European and American varieties now have smooth, dark-green skin. Some Russian varieties are short, thick, and have a rough, netted brown skin. Large white varieties of a thick, irregular shape were grown in France in the 19th century for use in cosmetics. That form is supposed to have reached northern Europe from Spain.