Cucumbers are one of the most popular vegetables to grow due to their high crop production and tasty fruits. They make a great addition to many dishes and are an amazing snack to have whilst walking around the garden or plot.
Continue reading to discover our cucumber growing tips from sowing to harvesting.
Between February and March is an ideal time to sow cucumber seeds indoors or in a propagator.
- – Simply fill a pot with compost until 1cm of room is left at the top.
- – Place the seed into the pot and cover with a layer of compost to the top of the pot.
- – Water through and place on a windowsill or in a propagator.
- – Wait for germination and plant out no sooner than the last frost.
On the other hand, if you are growing outdoor varieties sow the seeds directly outside between May and June.
- – Place the seeds into the desired growing area ensuring the plants have something to climb up.
- – Water through and cover the ground with fleece or a cloche to help speed up germination.
Cucumbers are sun-loving plants that can be grown in a greenhouse or outdoors depending on the variety. They grow best in loamy soil with space to grow vertically.
Cucumbers are a great plant to grow if you have a small space due to the ability to train them to grow upwards. Training the plant isn’t difficult you just need to provide the plant with something to grow up like a trellis, fence, or even a wigwam. The plant produces tendrils that help climb and wrap around structures.
Growing vertically also helps healthy fruit production due to the plant not lying on the ground and being susceptible to rotting.
The key to growing successful cucumbers is watering them correctly. Due to the fruits being mostly made up of water it is key to provide them with plenty of it.
Water the plant at the base to encourage more absorption and make sure to check the soil moisture level beforehand. Do this by digging a few inches deep into the soil to check if the soil is moist, if it is then the plant doesn’t require any more water. However, if it is dry then the plant needs water.
To provide cucumber plants with beneficial nutrients feed them every 2 weeks with a nutritious feed.
Cucumbers can be harvested throughout summer producing many crops per plant. The easiest way to tell if a cucumber is ready is that the base of the fruit will change from being pointed to round. This means the fruit has absorbed plenty of water and is ready to harvest.
To harvest cucumbers, you can twist them off the plant ensuring no damage is caused, or use a pair of scissors or secateurs to snip them off. Once harvested rub the spines off the fruit and then they’re ready to eat!
There are many varieties of cucumbers you can grow ranging from indoor to outdoor and miniature to large. The most common varieties to grow are your typical slicing cucumbers such as the varieties called Tamra, Ashley, and diva.
If you are looking for more unique varieties of cucumbers then Crystal lemons, miniatures whites, and Poona kheras are all great to grow and provide your greenhouse with lots of colour.
The most common way to store cucumbers for longer periods of time is by pickling them, similarly to chilli peppers. This preserves the cucumbers and adds flavour. You can pickle veg in 4 simple steps:
- 1. Prepare vegetables, wash, and chop the veg to fit in your jars.
- 2. Add your chosen flavouring to the jars.
- 3. Pour your brine into the jars.
- 4. Place the lid on the jars and leave to pickle.
If you are planning to preserve your pickles, then add the jars into a boiling water bath to create an airtight seal.
A common problem when growing cucumbers is that the cucumbers are bitter come harvest time. This can be avoided by using less plant feed, as cucumbers are a high-absorbing plant, they can take on the taste of the feed. So, if you’re feeding your plants too often the cucumbers won’t be pleasant to eat, make sure to feed your plants once every two weeks.