Cucumbers are an easy-to-care-for vegetable that thrives in moderate temperatures and the sun. They also require constant watering and warmth in order to develop their full potential.
If you let cucumbers grow until they are too big before picking them, the flavour will be bitter. Find out how to plant cucumbers, tend to their growth, and harvest them in your garden.
There are two distinct kinds of plants of cucumber: vining cucumbers and bush cucumbers.
Vining cucumbers: The most widely available types are those that grow on robust vines that are cloaked in shade provided by big leaves. If you give these plants the attention and care they need, they will mature very quickly and produce a large amount of fruit or vegetables.
When fully trained a fence or trellis, vining cultivars develop their fullest potential. As opposed to fruits that grow directly on top of the soil, those that are grown above the ground tend to be cleaner, more numerous, and simpler to harvest.
Bush cucumbers: Yet, they do quite well in home gardens and pots where space is limited.
If you are serious about preparing pickles, we suggest the following prolific types that have been bred especially for the process, such as the heirloom “Boston Pickling” or “Calypso” varieties. Make sure to make the pickles as soon as possible after collecting them for the crispiest results!
Planting Cucumber in Garden
Choose a location that gets plenty of direct sunshine (at least six to eight hours of sunlight per day in direct exposure.). Heat and plenty of light are two things that cucumbers thrive on!
Cucumbers demand fertile soil. Before you begin planting, prepare the bed by incorporating around 2 inches of old manure and/or composting into the soil to a depth of between 6 and 8 inches. The ideal pH range for soil is between 6.5 and 7.0, and it ought to be moist but able to drain effectively (not soggy).
Add organic materials to clay soil in order to improve its quality. Peat, compost, or manure that has been allowed to decompose can be added to deep, heavy soil to improve its quality.
If you are unsure about the sort of soil you have, you should get a soil test and get into the local county cooperation extension. Gardens in the north benefit from having soils that are light and sandy since these types of soils warm up more quickly within spring.
When Should Cucumbers Be Planted?
Cucumber seeds should be started indoors about three weeks before they are to be transplanted into the garden outside. This will ensure an early harvest.
The bottom of the seed flats should be heated to around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) using a heating pad or by placing them on top of a fridge or hot water tank.
When grown outside, cucumber seeds or transplants shouldn’t be planted in the ground until at least two weeks after the average date of the final frost. cold damage and Frost can be particularly detrimental to cucumbers; the soil temperature must be at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) for germination to occur.
This temperature is optimal for the development of seedlings as well. (Before planting, warm the soil in colder climates by wrapping that with black plastic and leaving it there for a while.)
Plant new seeds at regular intervals (about once every two weeks) to ensure a steady supply of crops throughout the growing season. Cucumbers need warm soil in order to grow swiftly and will be ready to harvest in approximately six weeks.
A Guide to Planting Cucumbers
Plant each row’s seeds around one inch deep and anywhere from three to five feet apart, depending on the variety (Instructions can be found on the back of the seed packet). When growing vines that will receive training on a trellis, leave a distance of one foot between the seeds or plants.
It is also possible to plant cucumbers in mounds (sometimes known as “hills”) that are placed between one and two feet apart and have between two and three seeds sown in each mound. When the plants have reached a height of four inches, you should thin them down to a single plant per mound.
Wrapping the hills or row using black plastic before planting can help heat the soil, which is especially helpful if you belong to a region that is generally chilly.
After planting, mulch the surrounding area with chopped leaves, straw, or another sort of organic mulch to discourage the growth of weeds and pests and to keep bushy plants off the ground, which will help prevent disease.
If you would like the vines to climb, but have a restricted amount of room, a trellis is a fantastic option to consider. Trellising also prevents the fruit from being damaged by it sitting on the wet ground for an extended period of time.
If you have pests in your garden, you should protect newly planted cucumber seeds by covering them with netting, row covers, or a berry basket. This will prevent the pests from digging up the seeds.
Growing Cucumber in Garden
After the seedlings appear, you should start to water them often. The most important aspect of cucumber maintenance is making sure they receive constant watering! They require at least one inch of precipitation every seven days (or more, when the temperatures are very high). The fruit will have a sour flavour if it is irrigated inconsistently.
It is best to water plants in the early morning or afternoon using a moderate, steady stream, and to prevent having the leaves wet. If the leaves become diseased, the plant could die. If you want to avoid getting moisture on the foliage of your cucumber plants, the best way to water them is with drip irrigation or a soaker hose.
Applying mulch around plants helps to keep the soil’s moisture level stable. In the event that pests arise, protect young plants by covering them with berry baskets or row covers.
When the seedlings reach a height of four inches, thin the plants to ensure they have a distance of around 18 inches between them. Well-rotted or Compost manure should be used sparingly as a side-dressing if you have worked plant substances into the soil prior to planting.
In any other case, you should apply a liquid fertiliser with a ratio of 5-10-10 to the plants. To the soil directly all around plants, start applying it one week once the plant grows blooming and continue doing so every three weeks after that. Another option is to incorporate granular fertiliser into the ground. If there is too much fertiliser, the fruit will not develop properly and will be smaller.
Install trellises at an early stage to prevent injury to seedlings and young vines. This is especially important when you’ve got limited room or would desire vertical vines.
Types of Cucumber
- Boston Pickling: Our favourite heirloom variety that was developed specifically for pickling is called Boston Pickling (vine).
- Burpless Bush Hybrid: (bush) is an excellent choice for pickling, pots, or tiny gardens.
- Bush Crop: (sometimes spelt bush) variety is a dwarf plant that produces a high yield. Excellent for eating right away.
- Calypso: (vine) is resistant to diseases and produces a lot of fruit. Excellent for use in pickling.
- Lemon: (vine) yields fruit that is round, yellow, and exceptionally tasty. Fun for youngsters!
- Parisian Pickling: (vine) yields cucumbers that are elongated and slender, making them ideal for pickling as cornichons or gherkins.
- Sweet Success: (vine) does not require any pollinators, making it an ideal choice for growing in greenhouses. Fruit that is produced without seeds.
While the season for selecting cucumbers is at its height, you should be gathering them once every other day. They will develop very quickly!
- If you want to avoid bitter cucumbers when it comes time to harvest them, don’t let them get too big.
- When typical slicing cucumbers reach a length of around 6 to 8 inches, it is time to harvest them (slicing varieties).
- When the dill is 4 to 6 inches long, it is time to harvest it, and pickling cucumbers should be 2 inches long.
- Big burpless cucumbers can reach a length of up to 10 inches, and some varieties can grow considerably longer than that.
- Eaten when they are still young, cucumbers should be harvested before their seeds have had a chance to harden. Avoid letting the colour go to yellow. When it comes to quality, a cucumber is at its best when it has a uniform green colour, is firm, and is crisp.
- Cucumbers that are allowed to remain on the vine for an excessive amount of time develop rough skins and reduce the overall yield of the plant.
- To remove the fruit from the plant, cut it off using a knife or clippers. It is possible that pulling it will injure the vine.
- Don’t stop gathering! If you don’t, the plants won’t produce any more fruit or vegetables as they get older.
Cucumber Storage Instructions
- Cucumbers consist of more than 90 per cent water by weight. Keep stored items snugly wrapped in plastic wrapping to prevent moisture loss.
- When properly stored in the fridge, they have a shelf life of anywhere from seven to ten days.