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How to Grow Cucumbers

Cucumbers are popular to grow, but can have some challenges (namely from plant diseases and pests).
There are many varieties of cucumber plants available, but if container gardening, select a bush variety.


Gardening Tip for growing Cucumbers - Do NOT grow cucumbers near aromatic herbs or potatoes.


Keep your cucumber garden well weeded. (Weeds can carry plant diseases.)


Nutrition Information
Chromium, Manganese, Vitamin A, C, K, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Potassium.


Climate & Growing Conditions
Growing cucumbers is best in warm climates, but they will grow in most climates.


Note: Growing cucumbers in colder climates causes a shorter harvest period.


Gardening Tip for growing Cucumbers - For vine varieties, train the vine to structure (trellis, fence, etc.) to save space and improve fruit quality.

Preparing the Garden Soil
Garden preparation is key in 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.


If your climate has a lot of rain, add lime to the soil in fall (or if your soil is acidic). This prevents curling leaves (molybdenum deficiency).


Planting
Sow cucumber seeds into the garden when soil temperatures reach 60 degrees (F). Plant the seeds 2/3” deep, by:
Sowing seeds 20” apart and in rows 1 yard apart.
Sowing seeds in mounds of dirt about 8” tall and 6 feet apart. Later, thin to 3 plants per hill.
For a head-start on the season, sow seeds indoors in early spring.
Tip: if the cucumber fruit isn't setting, the blooms may need to be hand pollinated.


Watering
Growing cucumbers requires regular watering. Don't let the soil dry out. However, water beneath the leaves, not from above (to minimize the spread of plant diseases).


Gardening Tip for growing Cucumbers - Mulch around cucumber plants to help keep the soil moist.


Fertilizing:
Give your plants a boost (once the vines begin to grow aggressively) by watering in a liquid fertilizer (under the leaves). Then again monthly when fruit appears.

Gardening Challenges
Banded pumpkin beetles, aphids, and red spider mites can be problems for cucumber leaves and flowers.


To help your seedlings get established without feeding the insect community, try covering the cucumber bed (after planting) with cheesecloth, supported off the ground by a frame and enclosed on the sides to keep the bugs out. When the cucumber plants start to flower, remove the cheesecloth.


Powdery and downy mildew are common diseases for cucumbers.


The leaves may droop from heat, but will likely recover when temperatures cool for the evening.


Gardening Advice Tip - Practice good vegetable gardening by rotating crops throughout the garden each season (prevents many plant diseases).


Harvesting
The "rule of thumb:" if you can easily brush off the spines, it is ready for picking. At this stage, the seeds are not large and the taste isn't bitter.
Pick cucumbers often. Do not allow them to ripen on the vine, or they will stunt the crop. The smaller the cucumbers are when you pick them, the higher yield of crop you will have. (This encourages the plant to make more flowers/fruit... otherwise, it stops producing.)


Storage:
Pickling is the traditional way to store cucumbers, often with other garden vegetables.



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