If food gardening is your new hobby and you want to grow cucumbers in your garden this article is just what you need.
We’ll discuss how do cucumbers grow and I will also give you some tips for growing them. So let’s get started!
How Do Cucumbers Grow
Homegrown cucumbers are fresh and taste fabulous. They grow easily with consistent watering and warmth, making them a perfect summer vegetable.
Cucumbers can be grown in the ground, in raised beds, containers, buckets, or on a trellis. Depending upon the conditions where you live and your personal preference, you have many choices for how to grow them.
Before you plant your cucumbers, first you need to decide which type of cucumber plants you want to grow. There are two common types: vining cucumbers and bush cucumbers.
Vining cucumbers have stems that wind and big leaves all along the stem. If you look after them properly, the growth of vining cucumbers is fast and the yield is abundant.
Vining cucumbers need a large space to grow in, therefore, they can be grown directly on the ground. However, that is often not preferable because of the possibility of foliar diseases.
It is recommended to grow them vertically on a trellis because the trellis allows for better airflow. Loss of leaves and plants due to diseases such as powdery mildew and anthracnose is less when air flow is increased.
This method is preferred by many farmers because the shade of the leaves on the cucumber vines protects the developing cucumbers from extreme heat during hot days and makes them crisp and fresh.
Bush cucumbers do not require as much growing space as vining varieties. The two-to-three-foot vines are ideal for growing in containers, buckets, raised beds, and small gardens.
Bush-type cucumbers set their fruit near the base of the plant or close to the ground, making them quick and easy to harvest.
Bush cucumbers usually do not need staking or training. They are more compact and can grow without a trellis.
Growing bush cucumbers is ideal for you if you do not want to feel overwhelmed with a large number of cucumbers.
If you decide to plant bush cucumbers, make sure to locate them in a sunny, well-drained spot that has good air circulation so that the final product is of good quality.
Now that you know the different ways to plant cucumbers, let’s look at some tips that can help you make the growth process easier.
Tips for Growing Cucumbers
Before planting your cucumbers, you need to take into account some things to help yield you a better product.
Selecting the Location and Soil
The two most important things to decide are the location where you are sowing the cucumber seeds and the kind of soil you are using. Cucumbers prefer warmth and moisture—even a little bit of frost can kill the plants.
At the same time, harsh, scorching sun shrivels the leaves and makes the fruit bitter. So you need to select a spot that gets full sun and that you can keep watered sufficiently.
Cucumbers can withstand several soil types.
Cucumbers grow better in soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.0. If the pH level of the soil is below 5.5, you can amend it with lime. However, be sure to give compost and manure to the cucumbers if you want them to perform the best. (source).
Planting the Cucumbers
Cucumbers should be planted two weeks after the last frost in rows or hills. Put twelve inches of space between plants in the rows, or only three plants in every hill.
Depending on the type, cucumbers can mature in 50 to 70 days, so even if the growing season is short in your area you can successfully grow cucumbers.
If you want to start early, you can also plant them indoors in a pot. Place the pot in a warm, dry place and water it daily, and then transfer it outside once the frost season is over.
Caring for the Plants
The main thing that cucumbers require is water. Inconsistent watering can result in bitter tasting cucumbers so be sure to consistently water the plants at least one inch every week.
To check when water is needed, put your finger in the soil, and if it’s dry up to the first joint of your finger then you need to add more water.
Do not water directly on the leaves to avoid encouraging any leaf diseases that can damage the plant. A soaker hose is often the best idea. Another tip is to mulch the soil so it can retain moisture longer.
Fertilizer can prove to be very beneficial during the growing season for varieties that have large leaves and plants.
However, make sure not to overdo it. Start by giving them a little garden fertilizer about a week after they have first bloomed and then again after three weeks.
Harvesting the Cucumbers
Depending on the type of cucumber you have planted, start picking slicing cucumbers when they are 6 to 8 inches long and pickling cucumbers when they are 4 to 6 inches long.
If you leave them on the vines for longer they will turn dry and taste bitter so it is preferable to pluck them when they are young to get the best taste.
During the peak harvesting time, pick your cucumbers every couple of days. Use a knife to cut them from the vine so you don’t end up damaging the plant. You can store them in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Cucumbers are a great vegetable to keep yourself hydrated during the hot summer because of the amount of water in them. Now that you know all about growing cucumbers at home, you can enjoy your summers with some cucumber salad!