Cucumbers are a popular summertime ingredient in salads and sandwiches. You’ll be surprised to find out how easy it is to grow cucumbers at home, and the ones you grow will taste much better than the ones you can buy at the store.
Cucumber can be used for pickles, eaten fresh, or juiced and is a great source of vitamins and micronutrients. Fruits and vegetables are packed with water and fiber, both of which are essential to our health. They are a favorite food of the diet-conscious because they are low-calorie.
Don’t forget that the plants themselves will brighten your garden space with a mat of dense, fat leaves. There’s a lot of delicious food hiding in vines and bushes if you know where to look!
Types of Cucumbers
The cucumber plant has many different varieties, which are mostly classified based on how the cucumber grows and what it is used for.
Cucumbers By Use
There are generally two to three categories that cucumbers can fall under depending on how they will be used.
Cucumbers that are meant to be eaten fresh, as opposed to being pickled, are often used in salads. The fruit is usually crisps, juicy, and tasty when eaten fresh. Many slicing cucumbers also have thinner skins.
Pickling cucumbers have thicker skins and slightly denser, drier flesh which is perfect for pickling. These are a common storage cucumber. While cucumbers for pickling can be eaten fresh, they are most commonly used for pickling.
Sometimes there’s a third category, the snacking cucumbers. These cucumbers are used for both fresh eating and pickling, but they are smaller in size than either pickling or slicing cucumbers. Sometimes these are referred to as cocktail cucumbers. Cucumbers that are eaten as snacks can easily fit into one or both of the other categories.
Cucumbers By Growth
Cucumbers come in two different forms: vines and bush types. Vines are the most common, but not all cucumbers are vines.
Bush cucumbers are better for small-space growing because they are more compact. What are considered great greenhouse plants? Hydroponic plants and container plants are great for greenhouses. The next time you grow bush cucumbers, try using a 5-gallon Air Pot.
You will need some kind of support or trellis for the bush cucumbers, but they usually only take up a small amount of space, about 2-3 square feet. Some types of greenhouses or hydroponics do not require outside pollination in order to produce fruit.
Vining cucumbers are cucumbers that grow on vines. Many people grow these on a trellis to save space, but they can also be grown lying flat on the ground. This refers to cucumber varieties that take up more space than bush cucumbers, which make up the vast majority of cucumber varieties.
When To Plant Cucumbers
You don’t want to plant cucumbers too early because they are extremely frost-sensitive. If you want to be on the safe side, wait at least two weeks after the last possible frost date to plant your seeds. The temperature of the soil should be at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit for seeds to germinate.
Where To Plant Cucumbers
No matter where you place cucumbers, they will need at least eight hours of sunlight per day.
Bush cucumbers are quite happy as container plants. When space is limited, these are perfect options.
Vining cucumbers take up more space than other types, so you should plan ahead if you want to grow them. You can also try training your cucumbers to grow up a trellis to reduce the amount of space they need.
Cucumbers need good airflow to stay healthy.
Fungal plant diseases can affect these plants if they are too closely packed together. This is especially true for plants whose leaves are regularly wet and don’t dry out quickly. Don’t cram them in too tightly.
The popularity of container-grown cucumbers is on the rise, and we’ve got a great video with tips to keep them producing all season long!
How To Plant Cucumbers
You should space cucumber plants 2 to 3 feet apart, depending on their variety’s requirements. Trellis-grown plants can be spaced about a foot apart, whereas bush plants prefer about 36″ apart. If you’re not growing vining plants upward, you should space them at least 60 inches apart to allow them to spread out.
Cucumbers that are sown directly into the ground should be spaced out in a similar pattern to seedlings that have been transplanted. Sow 3-4 cucumber seeds in each 1″ deep hole. Once the seeds have germinated, thin down to the strongest plant or two.
Often, people will plant their vining cucumbers in hills. Form a small hill of dirt that is 3 to 4 inches tall. Plant your seeds in the center of the hill. After the mound is built, the vines will grow down and around it.
How To Grow Cucumbers?
Clear the Soil to Grow Cucumbers
Make sure your cucumbers have plenty of nutrients by removing weeds and debris from previous crops, and clearing away any other type of rubbish. To prevent plants from growing back, all of them should be pulled out at the root. If you can, it is ideal to use a power tiller and go over the same area several times.
Moisten The Soil Before Growing Cucumbers
This decreases the chance of the water’s force expelling the seeds.
Fertilize the Soil to Grow Cucumbers
Before you start planting cucumbers, sprinkle some granular fertilizer on the garden soil to improve the overall quality. If you are using natural fertilizers, you should mix it into the soil to a depth of 2” (5 centimeters).
Insert The Seeds into The Soil to Grow Cucumbers
Keep them at a depth of 1” (2.5 centimeters) or less. Cover them lightly. If you want to grow cucumbers, plant 2 or 3 seeds in each hole. The holes that you dig should be 40 to 90 centimeters apart. When deciding how close to plant your grapevines,Remember that types that grow on bushes can be closer together than those that grow on vines.
Plant two or three seeds in the soil if you are planting in a seedbed or pot.
Select The Seedlings
In 5 to 8 days, the seeds will germinate. If more than one seed has germinated in each hole, keep the strongest one. Do not pull the weak one, as you may damage the leaves. A simple pruning at ground level is sufficient.
Add Fertilizer When the Seedlings Sprout
Weeds will not be able to grow and take away nutrients from your plants if the soil is covered in compost. Compost will also help you maintain a good temperature for the cucumbers.
Transplant Your Sprouts
If you grow cucumbers in pots or seedlings, you should transplant them into a larger pot or garden about a month after planting. Choose a sunny, well-ventilated area in the garden. Space plants 16” to 35” (40 to 90 centimeters) apart.
Protect Your Plants
Netting can help keep rabbits and squirrels away from your plants. Protection is important mainly during the first stages. The netting can be removed when the plants have grown and are too large to stay inside it.
Fertilize Regularly to Grow Cucumbers
Add more fertilizer to the soil once the cucumber plant starts to produce runners and flowers. If you would like to use organic fertilizers, compost or decomposed manure are good options. A granular fertilizer should be used in soil preparation. If one has not been used, a mild liquid fertilizer should be used every two weeks. If the leaves are turning yellow, your plant needs more nitrogen. If you want to improve the level of nitrogen in your soil, consider sowing peas or beans beforehand.
Do not use inorganic fertilizers on the leaves or fruit of your plants, and be careful not to over-fertilize them. If you don’t prune your fruit trees, you could hinder the growth of your fruits and limit their yield.
Prepare a Trellis or Structure to Support the Plant
The best way to grow cucumbers is with a guide. It’s important to keep the plant upright so it gets better ventilation and light.
How the fruit is grown will affect the final product, the quality of the fruit, and how well diseases are controlled. Since cucumber plants wrap themselves around things, it is easy to train them. You should use a cage trellis, stake, fence, or almost any other vertical structure to grow your grape vines. Guide the vines into the trellis. As the plants grow, guide their position on the trellis by gently wrapping the tendrils of the vine along the trellis.
You can make your plant stronger by tying it to a stake with string, and cutting off the main stem at the end of the stake, or the side shoots when they have more than four leaves. Although this isn’t necessary, it can help.
How to Prune Cucumber Plant
The leaves of this vegetable will be removed throughout its life cycle if they are in poor condition. You can remove some of the secondary stems to make the plant fuller.
Remove old, yellow, or diseased leaves. If the humidity is too high, it will be necessary to put some fungicide paste on the cuttings. The first 27 inches (70 cm) of the plant’s fruit should be cleaned off so that the plant can develop a strong root system before it starts bearing fruit.
The fruits at the bottom of the plant are usually of poorer quality because they touch the ground and limit the production of the upper part of the plant. In turn, remove all curved and malformed fruits.
Deciding when to pick cucumbers is more difficult than the harvesting itself. Storing can also be a challenge. Here’s some helpful hints for both!
For best results, check your cucumbers every day or two when they start to grow larger. It will usually take eight to ten days after the female flowers open for the plant to produce fruit, but this is not always a reliable indicator.
It’s important to pick your cucumbers when they’re ripe. If you leave the bananas on the vine for too long, they will start to turn yellow. This makes the banana taste bitter. Pick cucumbers when they are green to dark green, and the right size for their variety.
Cucumbers are considered perishables. They will rapidly deteriorate once harvested. Therefore, storing them is a challenge.
At supermarkets, cucumbers are typically coated with wax. This helps to keep the fruit from drying out while in the refrigerator. You can coat your cucumbers in wax, or wrap them loosely in plastic wrap if they’re not cut open.
Cucumbers that are wrapped can be stored in the crisper drawer of the fridge for about a week. The ones that are waxed may last up to two weeks.
If you have only used part of your cucumber, wrap the remainder tightly in plastic wrap and use it within a few days.
Common Pests and Diseases of Cucumber
Most of the time, if you take care of your plants and buy species that are resistant to diseases, you will not have any problems. The following is a list of the most common encounters.
To stop them, you can put potassium soap or biodegradable soap on the bottom of the plants. The solution should be applied early in the morning or the afternoon, when the sun is no longer shining on the leaves.
Red Spider Mite
An infestation can be fought by applying a garlic and chili extract, but if the plant is badly affected, it is best to get rid of it to stop it from spreading to other plants.
Spray the bottom of leaves with a 1% solution of potassium soap using rainwater or distilled water.
Install a drip irrigation system and horsetail for prevention. This machine not only helps with removing weeds and crop debris, but also encourages crop ventilation.
Main Benefits of Cucumbers
- They have a low caloric content and a high proportion of water, making them ideal to be included in low-calorie diets.
- Cucumbers are rich in potassium and low in sodium, which gives them a diuretic action that favors the elimination of excess fluids from the body.
- They can help with hypertension, hyperuricemia, and gout, as well as kidney stones, fluid retention, and oliguria.
- It regulates the intestinal function and is a highly recommended food to neutralize the excessive acidity of body fluids that can occur in cases of diabetes, gout, arthritis, etcetera.
We hope this article helps you successfully grow cucumbers!