Cucumbers Are Easy To Grow
A few years ago I decided to try to grow cucumbers. Mostly because my daughter eats them like candy and my husband loves pickles. I was pleasantly surprised about how fun and easy it is to grow cucumbers. And how many I get! I grow two plants and end up giving a ton away after we have eaten our fill!.
Preparing The Garden Soil
Garden preparation is the key to avoiding problems when growing cucumbers. Prepare cucumber garden beds one week before planting. Add a complete fertilizer and/or compost, and mix it in well with the soil. The garden soil pH should be 5.5-7.0.
The highest cucumber yields are harvested from plants that are grown in fertile clay soils that have been amended with hummus or other organic materials.
Like all vegetables, cukes are thrilled with the application of compost or composted manure once in a while. They also grow beautifully in raised beds, which tend to warm up faster and offer excellent drainage.
If your climate has a lot of rain, add lime to the soil in fall . This prevents curling leaves .
Adding mulch to your cucumber plants can add nutrients to the soil, and helps to keep your plants hydrated by retaining soil moisture. Mulch will also help stop weeds from establishing around your cucumbers. Ideally, you should apply 5-6 inches of wood chips, or other organic mulch, to your crop.
How Often Should You Water Cucumbers
Cucumbers grow best in moist soil and need consistent water. Make sure your cucumber plants get 1 inch of water per week in normal growing conditions.
If you are in a drought or extended dry period then you may need to increase the amount of water.
Cucumbers that dont get enough water when growing tend to taste bitter.
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How Far Apart Do You Plant Tomatoes In A Raised Bed
Plant them at a distance of 18 to 24 inches apart. Never worry about the plants leaning to one side they will straighten up on their own within a few days of being watered. Water tomatoes when they are first planted and on a frequent basis during their growth season to avoid blossom-end rot, which occurs when the soil becomes too dry.
How To Grow Cucumbers In Pots
This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz. Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 23 testimonials and 90% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 443,099 times.
Cucumbers can be tricky to grow in pots since they require a lot of vertical space. It can be done, however, if you select a bush variety instead of a climbing variety or you provide room for the cucumber to spread out by adding a stake or trellis. Use well-draining, nutritional soil and keep it moist throughout the growing season to help your potted cucumber plant grow.
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Guide To Cucumber Varieties
Cucumbers are creeping vine plants, part of the gourd family along with pumpkins, watermelons and squash. Cucumbers themselves are technically fruits but we consider them to be vegetables, much like tomatoes.
Bush and vining
There are two varieties of cucumbers: bush and vining. As you might imagine, bush varieties are more compact and spread less than their vining siblings which makes them perfect for containers.
Slicers and picklers
- Slicing cucumbers are best for fresh eating, like salads and sandwiches. They have thinner skin and mild flavor.
- Pickling cucumbers have thicker skin and arent as pleasant when eaten raw. Theyre best for pickling because they hold up well in brine and can maintain that awesome crunchy texture .
There are vining and bush varieties of both types.
- Monoecious varieties produce male and female flowers. Usually the first 10-20 are male, followed by female. Female flowers have a small bulge at the stem, where the fruit develops.
- Gynoecious varieties only produce female flowers and need a male pollinator planted nearby.
- Parthenocarpic varieties have been developed to produce fruit without pollination. These varieties are most often used in greenhouses and other environments without access to insect pollinators.
Burpless and with burps?
Confused yet?? Dont be! Youre reading this because youre planning a container garden , so for now just worry about the bush varieties that produce the kind you want to use most.
Growing Cucumbers In The Garden
While some people suggest that it is easier for first-time container gardeners to start with young plants when you are new to gardening this is not always the case. It is not difficult to start your cucumber plants right from seeds.
You can sprout the seeds indoors if the weather is still too cool to place them outdoors. If all danger of frost has passed then you can sow the seeds directly outside in the full sun.
An old egg carton is great for sowing cucumber seeds. Poke holes in the bottom of each section of the carton for drainage purposes and then fill with potting soil. Place one or two cucumber seeds in each segment keeping in mind that cucumber plants generally yield high quantities of fruit.
First-time gardeners may want to limit the number of seeds that they start with. Cover the seeds with about a quarter-inch of soil and water thoroughly.
Cucumber seedlings should be handled carefully when planting them into the garden as they dont enjoy being transplanted.
Theyre good candidates for being started in little organic pots that can be planted directly into the ground along with the seedlings.
These types of pots dont disturb the delicate roots because they disintegrate into the soil. Cucumbers can also be direct-seeded into the garden bed once outside temperatures reach 70 degrees.
Sow cucumber seeds into the garden when soil temperatures reach 60 degrees . Plant the seeds 2/3 deep, by:
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Sweet Refreshing Fruit To Grow In Your Garden
Subspecies: Cucumis sativus
Properly managed, growing cucumbers will produce high yields in warm weather. Cucumber vines need a lot of space to grow and thrive. Newer methods of growing, such as vertical, on string systems and across horizontal nets provide room for these quickly growing vines.
If cucumbers are left on the vine for an extended period of time the vegetable will taste bitter. Pick when fresh and young.
Many cucumbers are served in relish trays, salads or as pickles. Most cucumber varieties are simple to grow, if they have good quality soil and if they are not planted too early in the season. Read on for our full guide on how to grow cucumbers in your own garden.
How Do You Trellis A Cucumber In A Raised Bed
If you have raised beds, you may add a trellis on either end to support your plants. Two pieces of wood are buried vertically in the earth, with a beam supporting the structure at the top. Youll be running string vertically over the wood frame the entire time. Using this method to trellis your cucumber plants is both economical and simple.
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When To Harvest Cucumber
Cucumbers get bitter and seedy when overripe, so err on the side of picking early and often.
For slicers, harvest when theyre 6-8 inches long . Picklers are smaller and usually hit peak ripeness around 2-5 inches.
Dont wait! They really are best when just barely ripe, and frequent harvesting encourages more growth.
If you miss one and it gets overripe or damaged, go ahead and harvest to encourage the vine to keep producing. Same goes for damaged or unusable fruit.
The best way to harvest is with a sharp knife, scissors or garden shears. Twisting or pulling can damage the vine and hinder future growth. Leave an inch or two of stem attached to the cucumber, to prevent rot while its stored in your fridge.
What Grows Well With Cucumbers
Cucumbers have a number of companion plants that may be grown alongside them.
- Corn. Using corn stalks as natural trellises for vining cucumbers is a terrific method to conserve space while also increasing the efficiency of your garden. Plants such as dill, beans, lentils, marigolds, Nasturtiums, root vegetables, and sunflowers are examples of what you may grow in your garden.
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How To Control Cucumber Pests
Cucumbers are susceptible to quite a few pests, so it helps to know what to watch for.
- Cucumber beetles black and yellow, either striped or spotted. Planting in pots actually helps prevent these, as they overwinter in garden soil and emerge looking for seedlings to demolish. Keep a close eye out for them as your cucumber plants grow. Hand pick them off if you see them.
- Aphids tiny green bugs that hide out under leaves and suck nutrients out of the cucumber plant. Try spraying the leaves with a blast of cold water or coating with a mix of water and dish soap. Learn more about aphids here.
- Whiteflies tiny white moth-like flies that hang out underneath leaves. They drink sap from the plant and leave behind a sticky residue. Treat like you would for aphids, or use covers . Learn more about whiteflies here.
Recipes And Cooking Ideas
Whether youre an old hand at making sushi, someone who puts up gallons of dills using farmers market produce, or just the average diner who enjoys a crunchy salad, youre bound to enjoy having a bounty of homegrown cucumbers for cooking projects!
You can find recipes for some extra-tasty basics on our sister site, Foodal. To start, I heartily recommend Foodals take on cool, creamy tzatziki sauce.
If youre not yet equipped for home canning or fermentation, I recommend a quick pickle like the recipe shared by Georgia-based cook extraordinaire Dora Charles in her cookbook A Real Southern Cook in Her Savannah Kitchen,.
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How To Plant Cucumbers
Cucumbers can be grown in rows or hills depending on if you want to let them sprawl on the ground to trellis them.
If you are growing cucumbers in a row, make a planting row 1/2 inches deep and space the seeds 2 inches apart.
Once theyve germinated thin the seedlings to be 8 to 10 inches apart. This spacing works great when you are using a trellis.
If you are growing in cucumbers in hills then I have had great results by placing 6 seeds in each hill about 2 inches apart. Then space the hills 3 feet apart. This works very well for cucumbers that you want to let grow on the ground.
Planting Seeds And Seedlings
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Final Tips For Planting Cucumbers
According to legend, if you plant your cucumbers in your garden in the dark, on the first day of May before the sun rises, no bugs will eat your crop. According to the tale, you need to be wearing your pajamas as well.
If youre growing cucumbers, consider planting some dill around your crop its the ideal pickling herb.
We also recommend you try blending cucumbers in the food processor to create luxurious, hydrating face masks to keep your skin glowing and looking healthy.
Tips For Harvesting Your Cucumbers
When your cucumber plants start to bear fruit, dont let them get too large before you start your harvest. Large cucumbers will taste bitter. Pick them when they are between 6 to 8-inches in length, with large varieties like the Burpless growing to a maximum length of 10-inches before harvest.
Your cucumber plants will require harvesting every morning, or else you run the risk of cucumber falling to the ground. Any fruits on the ground will rot overnight, ruining your harvest while attracting pests to your crop.
Dont let your cucumbers get yellow, or the seeds will be hard and bitter inside the fruit. Use a knife to harvest and cut the stem. Avoid pulling them off the vine, as this damages the plant. You need to keep picking the plants to keep them producing.
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Raised Garden Bed Elevated Plant Boxes Outdoor Large With Grow Grid With Large Storage Shelf 527 X 22 X 30 45 Out Of 5 Stars 419 1 Offer From 9999
Best way to grow cucumbers in a raised bed. If you grow your cucumbers in raised beds consider putting a fence around the bed. Keep soil consistently moist throughout the germination and growing periods. Make sure the soil is moist and if not give it good water.
Potatoes are a few of the best thriving plants you can grow on your raised bed. These vegetables are very sensitive requiring loose loamy and well-draining soil to avoid rotting. Great information on what to plant and where.
All types of mint including sweet mint spearmint peppermint and chocolate mint are fast-growing spreading plants so you must give them a place to spread without getting in the way or plant them in a potMint sends out runners that spread above and just below the ground quickly forming large lush green patches. If you do not have a site with good drainage available consider growing asparagus in raised beds instead. These easy to grow vegetables enjoy a cool soil which helps reduce forking of roots so keep a generous layer of mulch around your plants and water regularly preferrably in the.
The reason for this dimension is. With the ease of efficiently controlling the soil on a raised bed your potatoes will always have enough soil that encourages higher yields with massive tubers. Coffee grounds come with a lot of uses but one of their best is as a fertilizer.
They are slow to germinate. Asparagus does not like to have its roots get too wet. Recycle your coffee grounds to help acidify your soil.
Why Cucumbers Taste Bitter
Way back in time cucumbers more often than not tasted bitter so it was recommended to remove the skin before eating. This un-palatability is down to the plant producing male and female flowers and its ability to produce fruit from un-pollinated as well as pollinated flowers. Fruit from pollinated flowers is bitter and only un-pollinated fruit is worth eating.
You can get un-pollinated fruit in two ways. One is tedious and involves removing all male flowers before they open. Fortunately for many years now, there have been plenty of varieties that bear no male flowers only female. The seed companys claim that it responds to cooler temperatures has been borne out by my success.
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I Wanna Know How To Grow Cucumbers Outdoors
Cucumbers are coolmaybe because theyre made up of 95% water and, have an abundance of nutrients. Cucumbers keep you hydrated, cool your skin, reduce swelling, irritation and inflation, reduce eye puffiness, improve bone health, have anti-cancer properties, aid weight loss, help stabilize blood pressure, help heal diseased gums, help relieve muscle and joint painand have a host of other benefits for your body. So why wouldnt I want to become educated in how to grow cucumbers outdoors?
Cucumber Preservation And Storage
Pickles are the most popular preservation method for cucumbers. There are tons of recipes out there for pickling cucumbers. Different recipes produce different flavors, which creates plenty of varieties for all preferences. My hubby is the only pickle eater in our house and he loves spicy pickles. I saved some dried dragon cayenne peppers from my garden last year. I will be adding those to the spicy pickles that I will make this year.
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Where To Plant Cucumbers
Assess your garden space to choose the type of cucumbers to grow. Vining cucumbers grown on the ground will need as much as four feet of space between plants, but trellised cucumbers need only a foot of spacing. Bush varieties produce fewer cucumbers than vining but give you lots of flexibility in smaller gardens or in containers that you can place where you want.
Like tomatoes and peppers, cucumbers need all the sun they can get. Find a growing location that gets six to eight hours per day. Cucumbers also need soil that drains well and is full of nutrient-rich, organic matter. If your soil is lacking, you can always amend it by working in several inches of aged compost or manure. This rich soil will also hold moisture more effectively, and that will help your cukes.