Cucumbers are the ideal vegetable to get you through the party season successfully.

Before a big night out put your feet up and place slices of cucumber over your eyes to freshen them up and smooth out wrinkles.

Then off you go to the party. After the party, and before crashing to bed, eat a few slices of cucumber. It helps to get rid of the inevitable hangover. And for that after-party bad breath, just press a slice of the same home-grown cucumber to the roof of your mouth for a few seconds. Bad breath gone. A new day dawns. You will survive.

Cucumbers like rich soil so lavish compost on them. They will replay you for the effort. You sometimes get up to 50 cucumbers off one plant. They are easy to grow and prolific. Let them grow up netting or trail down banks or out of raised beds. As well as the common smooth-skinned "Lebanese" variety - seedlings still available in garden centres - try growing the round apple cucumbers, or even miniature cucumbers.

Cucumbers seem to grow better if you plant nasturtiums with them.

Together they are useful for covering wire netting too, and to screen off a compost heap.

This tangle of cucumbers and nasturtium flowers can be a colourful windbreak, behind which your salad greens and basil can shelter from a roaring gale.