I have to say I love to eat cucumber, for me it is a salad Staple. But I will also admit that until last year I never had a successful crop. It has taken trial and error to get to this How to grow your Own Cucumbers guide. But finally, I can say I know how to grow and definitely how not to grow Cucumbers!#
Starting Cucumbers from Seed
Cucumbers hail from India they like a bit of heat to get them going. I started mine off indoors at the end of March by sowing two to three seeds 1/2 (12 mm) deep in a small pot. I pick out the strongest contenders to pot on into individual pots. Cucumbers are sensitive wee plants and hate the frost so I coddle them indoors until the threat of frost is long gone. Here are my top tips for your cucumber seedlings
- Try to maintain a minimum temperature of 15°C
- Keep the compost moist but not wet
- Keep them out of direct sunlight – cucumber seedlings can be prone to scorching
- Try to avoid disturbing the roots when you transplant them.
There are two types of cucumber plants, they are vining cucumbers and bush cucumbers. The most common varieties grow on vigorous vines shaded by large leaves. The growth of these plants is fast, and they can be very productive if you care for them properly. Vining varieties grow up a trellis or fence. They will be cleaner—versus those that grow atop soil—often more prolific, and easier to pick.
Bush Cucumbers like Champion are great if you are growing in pots and have a smaller space. You won’t believe the large number of crisp, bright green cucumbers you can harvest from Bush Champion. These compact plants are perfect for small gardens and patio containers, producing huge 11-in. (28-cm) cucumbers for slicing. I am growing these in my greenhouse and they are the best I have grown so far.
Growing Cucumbers outdoors or in the Greenhouse?
You can actually do either depending on the variety you choose – I go with them in the greenhouse because our Irish Summers can be so unpredictable. I will tell you how you can to both methods
Cucumbers in the Greenhouse
If your greenhouse is heated, you can plant the young plants in late March. If it’s not, wait until late May. Keep the potting compost moist – cucumbers are 90% water after all.
Plant two cucumber plants per grow bag or we put ours in our Garden Planter pots .
How do you look after greenhouse cucumbers?
Keep the greenhouse warm and humid by regularly spraying or damping down the pathways. You might need to shade plants to protect them from scorching on very hot days, and a little liquid organic fertilizer every two weeks or so will go a long way.
What should you do with trailing Cucumbers?
If you encourage the plants to climb, you’ll get better yields. So, train the main shoots to climb a vertical cane or string and, once they reach the end of their support, pinch out the growing point at the top of the plant. Pinch out the end of each side shoot once the fruit begins to develop, leaving two leaves after each fruit. This helps to encourage more side-shoots, which will produce bigger crops of cucumbers.
TIP – If you haven’t brought an all-female variety of cucumber and you get lots of male flowers. You can recognize these by the fact they have no bump on the stem behind the flower. Pinch them off leaving only one or two
Growing Cucumbers Outside
Either sow seeds or plant out young plants in early June, ideally under fleece or cloches. Any fertile garden soil in full sun is a good spot just make sure it is out of the wind.
Dig in up to two bucketfuls of rotted organic matter, such as garden compost, and rake in to your bed.
Pinch out the growing tip when the plants have developed seven leaves. The developing side-shoots can be left to trail over the ground or trained up stout netting.
Keep them well watered. Avoid watering the leaves as this can encourage mosaic virus, powdery mildew and scorching.
What is Cucumber mosaic virus?
Cucumber mosaic virus is the bane of cucumber growers. You can spot it if your plants are stunted and deformed, and leaves show distinctive yellow mosaic patterning. Flowering is reduced or non-existent, while any fruit that do appear are small, pitted, hard and tasteless or bitter.
The only remedy is to control the aphids that spread it we do this with mild soapy water and introducing ladybirds to the greenhouse. Infected plants should be destroyed – wash your hands after touching infected material to avoid contaminating healthy plants.
When to Harvest your Cucumbers
You can normally begin to harvest cucumbers around 12 weeks from sowing – how long the cucumbers are will depend on the particular variety. But it’s best to harvest cucumbers while they’re young and sweet, before they show signs of producing seeds, as older fruits can become bitter. You will get cucumbers of some odd shapes and sizes, they will taste good though.
I like to harvest them early in the morning while it is still cool. We cut the fruits from the plants with a sharp knife. Regular harvesting will encourage the plants to produce more. Outdoor types can continue to fruit until September, while greenhouse types can fruit into October if temperatures are warm enough in the greenhouse.
Here is you quick grow guide to Cucumbers
You can download your FREE printable copy here
When I grew cucumbers I learnt that
- They must be kept warm – a slight frost and your seedlings will not survive.
- Watering them is a must – cuckes need water
- Too many Male flowers leads to bitter cucumbers
- Control the aphids and the mosaic virus won’t get your plants
- Bush Cucumbers are work best for me.
I hope you try growing your own Cucumbers and if you like this grow guide try some more of my posts and start growing your own Organic Vegetables
- Growing Aubergines in a cool climate
- How to grow organic Cabbages all year
- Growing rainbow tomatoes – the true story!
- Growing Runner Beans in your garden
- 10 Tips to Grow Great Strawberries
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