Are you looking for plants that will make your garden more appealing to your family and visitors? Find out how to grow cucumbers to ensure a bountiful yield.
The cucumber, or Cucumis sativus, is a plant that is farmed extensively and belongs to the family Cucurbitaceae.
This plant contains fruits that are typically cylindrical in shape and are used as vegetables.
The humble cucumber is a crop that can be utilized in a variety of ways; it can be pickled with flavorful spices, added to a salad or sandwich, or even thrown into a summer drink. Cucumbers are extremely refreshing.
All About Cucumbers:
Due to the peculiar appearance of its fruit and the dainty yellow blooms that it produces, cucumber provides an eye-catching addition to the garden.
In addition to this, the climbing nature of the cucumber allows it to utilize very little area.
According to Grow Fruit and Vegetables in Pots by Aaron Bertelsen, “They are such a good-looking crop, adding height and presence to the vegetable garden.”
“Cucumbers will grow extremely happily in a pot as long as they are provided with a warm place and robust support from pea sticks or trellis,” so it is worthwhile to make room for a couple of plants when designing your kitchen garden ideas, even if it means growing them in containers on the patio.
The cucumber is thought to have originated in South Asia; nevertheless, it is currently cultivated on most continents.
Now, there are numerous varieties of cucumbers that are traded on the international market.
An easy-care vegetable that loves sun and water, cucumbers grow quickly as long as they receive consistent watering and warmth.
Don’t let cucumbers get too large before you pick or they will taste bitter!
Types of Cucumber
There are two distinct kinds of cucumber plants: vining cucumbers and bush cucumbers. Vining cucumbers are the more common form.
Cucumbers that climb grow on robust vines that are shaded by huge leaves and are the most common type of cucumber.
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 trained up a trellis or fence, vining cultivars develop their fullest potential.
The fruits, in comparison to those that grow directly atop dirt, will be purer because they are grown off the ground. They will also typically be more abundant and easier to collect.
Cucumber bushes, on the other hand, are an excellent choice for growing in pots and other limited spaces.
Some Recommended Varieties
The heritage type known as “Boston Pickling,” which was developed specifically for pickling, is one among our favorites.
The ‘Burpless Bush Hybrid’ (bush) is an excellent choice for pickling, tiny gardens, or pots.
The dwarf cultivar known as “Bush Crop” (bush) has an exceptionally high yield. Excellent for eating right away.
The ‘Calypso’ (vine) variety is resistant to disease and produces a lot of fruit. Excellent for use in pickling.
“Lemon” (the vine) bears fruit that is round, golden in color, and exceptionally sugary. Fun for youngsters!
The ‘Parisian Pickling’ (vine) produces cucumbers that are elongated and skinny, making them ideal for pickling as gherkins or cornichons.
Because it does not need pollinators, the ‘Sweet Success’ (vine) variety is suitable for growing in greenhouses. Fruit that is produced without seeds.
Growing Cucumbers: Outdoor or Indoor?
There are several varieties of cucumber, each of which requires a unique environment in which to flourish.
Cucumbers can be grown successfully indoors or in a greenhouse; but, they may also be grown successfully outside in a very protected and warm location.
Outdoor cucumbers, also known as ‘ridge’ types, can be successfully grown outside.
Nevertheless, due to the fact that they are delicate, the seeds of outdoor cucumbers still need to be started off under protection.
Also, they can’t be moved outside until the possibility of frost has passed.
Depending on the variety, there is also a type of miniature pickling cucumber known as gherkins that can be cultivated either indoors or outdoors.
When to Plant Cucumbers?
The seeds of cucumbers should be started indoors about three weeks before they are to be planted outside in order to ensure an early harvest.
The bottom of the seed flats should be heated to approximately 70℉ (21℃) using a heating pad or by placing them on top of a refrigerator or water heater.
No earlier than two weeks after the date of the final frost, cucumber plants should be seeded outside or transplanted outside in the ground if they are to be grown from seed.
Frost and cold damage can be extremely detrimental to cucumbers, and the soil temperature needs to be at least 70℉ (21℃) for the seeds to germinate.
This temperature is optimal for the development of seedlings as well. To warm the soil in colder climates, cover it with black plastic and let it sit for a while. Do not rush into planting things outside!
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 quickly and will be ready to harvest in about six weeks.
How to Grow Cucumbers from Seeds
Cucumbers are so easy to cultivate from seed that you should sow your own unless you missed the growth window.
‘Sow cucumbers in pots or tiny trays on the windowsill or greenhouse in spring,’ recommends gardening expert Matt James. Outdoor varieties can also be sown early in the summer.
Sow cucumber seeds in multipurpose potting mix-filled pots or trays. Prepare your potting mix by moistening it.
The seeds should be placed half an inch deep, towards the pot’s outer edge, and on their side to avoid rotting.
Cucumber seeds need 70°F to germinate, so put them in a heated propagator or on a sunny windowsill.
Germination should be quick.
Don’t overwet your potting mix.
Keep seedlings above 53°F; outdoor varieties are hardier.
Once your cucumber seedlings get their first set of genuine leaves, pot them on.
Once your cucumber seedlings are 10 inches tall, plant them in 10-inch pots, grow bags, or on the garden border.
If planted outside, harden them off for a few days beforehand. Check for late frosts and cover plants with horticultural fleece add James.
As cucumbers grow, tie them to canes or nets.
Little and often helps prevent soil from drying out. Once fruits grow, cucumbers need regular irrigation because they are 96% water, explains Bertelsen.
‘Feed tomatoes when fruit forms. James recommends two-week intervals.
Important Steps Before Growing Cucumber:
1. Select the Site
Although cucumbers do best in loose sandy loam soil, they can be grown in any well-drained soil.
Cucumbers need full sun to grow. Because of their strong roots, don’t plant them near trees that may steal water and nutrients.
2. Soil Preparation
Before preparing the soil, remove pebbles, sticks, and rubbish. Dead grass and tiny weeds enhance the soil when turned under.
8-12 inches deep. Most shovels or spading forks reach this depth. Turn each shovel of soil to cover plants.
Make beds 4 to 6 inches high and 36 inches apart.
In thick soils and poorly drained locations, ridges are very helpful for cucumbers.
Cucumbers require plenty of fertilizer. Scatter 1 cup of a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 10-20-10 for every 10 feet of row; then work the fertilizer into the soil and leave the surface smooth.
When the vines are about 10 to 12 inches long, apply about ½ cup of fertilizer for every 10 feet of row or 1 tablespoon per plant.
Soak the plants well with water weekly if it does not rain.
How to Care for Cucumber Plants?
Plant seeds in a row at a depth of 1 inch and at a distance of 3 to 5 feet apart, depending on the type (see seed packet for details).
The recommended distance between plants when using a trellis to train vines is one foot.
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.
Covering the hill or row with black plastic before planting can help warm the soil, which is especially helpful if you live in an area that is generally chilly.
After planting, mulch the surrounding area with straw, chopped leaves, 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 want the vine to climb, but have a restricted amount of room, a trellis is a fantastic option to consider.
Trellising also protects 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 row covers, netting, or a berry basket. This will prevent the pests from digging up the seeds.
Beginning upon emergence, water often.
Cucumbers need regular watering. They need 1″ per week (or more, if temperatures are particularly high). Unreliable watering causes bitter fruit.
Slowly water in the morning or early afternoon to avoid leaf diseases that can kill the plant. To keep the leaves dry, use a soaker hose or drip irrigation.
Mulch keeps soil wet.
Using row covers or berry baskets, protect young plants from pests.
At 4 inches tall, thin seedlings to 1.5 feet apart.
Compost or well-rotted manure can be used sparingly as a side-dressing if the organic matter was mixed into the soil prior to planting.
Otherwise, use 5-10-10 liquid fertilizers. After the plant blooms, apply it straight to the soil every 3 weeks. Or, incorporate granular fertilizer. Overfertilizing stunts fruits.
Set up trellises early to protect seedlings and vines if you have limited room.
Sugar water attracts pollinators and increases fruit production.
Troubleshooting Cucumber Plants
If vines flower but don’t produce fruit, there is certainly something getting in the way of the pollination process.
First, verify that you are observing both male and female flowers in bloom. It is not unusual for male blossoms to form first and then fade away, so you should not be frightened if this takes place.
Within a week or two, female flowers will also begin to emerge; the base of each of these blossoms contains a little swelling that resembles a cucumber and will eventually develop into a cucumber.
It’s possible that you’ll need to conduct a little bit of hand-pollination if you’re still not seeing those swellings transform into fruit.
Cucumbers are plagued by a number of different pests. There is a risk of squash bugs attacking seedlings.
Slugs prefer ripening fruit. Aphids have the ability to invade both leaves and buds.
The use of straw mulch and trellising vines to raise the fruit off the ground can both be helpful in warding off slugs.
Cucumber bugs cause additional damage to vines by not only eating holes in the leaves and flowers, as well as scarring the stems and fruits but even worse, they transmit a disease that ultimately results in the plants withering and dying.
The illness known as powdery mildew causes the leaves to get covered in white spots that resemble mildew.
Fungicides should be applied as soon as there is any indication that fungi are present.
When picking grapes or handling vines, try to avoid doing so when the leaves are wet.
This will help prevent the spread of disease. Cucumbers are susceptible to a number of different illnesses.
The majority of these diseases manifest themselves as spots on the top or lower surfaces of the leaves, as well as on the fruit.
Make sure to check on the plants every day and treat any illness that you find with a fungicide that is approved for use.
Fungicides such as neem oil, sulfur, and various others are available for application. Always make sure you follow the directions on the label.
How To Harvest Cucumber?
Check the back of the package for specific directions on when to pick cucumbers, but generally speaking, they should be picked when they are around 4-8 inches long.
The color of the fruit should be uniformly green; if it has turned yellow or become squishy, it has reached its peak of ripeness.
“When you are harvesting, cut them off with a pair of scissors or secateurs” (pruning shears).
If you try to remove the cucumbers from the plant by themselves, you can end up taking the entire plant with you, according to Bertelsen.
When you only need a small amount, it is convenient to be able to chop some varieties of cucumber in half while they are still on the plant.
The remaining fruit will develop a callus and continue to ripen on the plant where it was first found.
How to Store Cucumbers?
You can keep cucumbers that have been collected in the refrigerator for seven to ten days, but for the finest flavor, you should utilize them as soon as possible after picking them.
In order to keep the remaining portion of a slicing cucumber from drying out while it is stored in the refrigerator, cover it with plastic wrap if you do not consume it all at once.
Also, if you want your cucumbers to maintain their crispness, you should either wrap the entire cucumber in plastic or place it in a bag with a zipper and place it in the refrigerator.
Health Benefits of Cucumbers
So now you can have a whole pile of cucumbers, but why should you eat them?
Water-rich cucumbers also contain electrolytes. In hot weather or after a workout, they reduce dehydration.
Cucumber and mint might make water more appealing for non-drinkers. Staying hydrated prevents constipation, kidney stones, and more.
Vitamin K aids in blood coagulation and may benefit bone health.
90 mcg for 19-year-old females and 120 mcg for men
Cucumber has 19.9mg of calcium. Depending on sex and age, adults need 1,000–1,200 mg of calcium daily.
Vitamin K helps absorb calcium. These nutrients work together to support bone health.
Cucumbers, a Cucurbitaceae plant, contain bitter cucurbitacin.
Cucurbitacins may prevent cancer by inhibiting cancer cell reproduction, according to the International Journal of Health Services.
The AHA states that fiber can help regulate cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular issues.
Unpeeled cucumber has 142 g, 193 mg potassium, and 17 mg magnesium. Adults should ingest 4,700 mg potassium and 310–410 mg magnesium per day, depending on sex and age.
Increasing potassium and reducing sodium may prevent high blood pressure.
Cucumber cucurbitacins may also help prevent atherosclerosis.
Cucumbers might help with diabetes control and prevention. It may help reduce blood sugar or prevent excessive blood sugar.
Cucurbitacins in cucumber may help modulate insulin release and hepatic glycogen metabolism, a crucial blood sugar hormone.
Cucumber peel assisted mice with diabetes, according to Trusted Source. Because of its antioxidant concentration.
The AHA says fiber may also help prevent and manage type 2 diabetes.
Low glycemic index: cucumbers (GI). They give critical nutrients without adding carbs that raise blood glucose levels.
Cucumber’s nutrients may enhance skin health, according to studies.
Cucumber slices directly on the skin can help minimize edema and discomfort. Sunburn relief. They reduce morning eye puffiness when applied.
Blend and sieve cucumber for a natural toner. Rinse after 30 minutes. Cucumber’s astringent qualities may cleanse pores.
Mixing cucumber juice with yogurt helps alleviate dry skin and blackheads.
Most people can use cucumber on their skin. Start small. If they don’t react, it’s generally safe.