How to Grow Cucumbers
In this article, we share a comprehensive guide to growing cucumber at home.
Quick Guide Information
Common Name: Cucumber
Scientific Name: Cucumis sativus
Plant Type: Sprawling Vine
Life Span: Annual
Time Till Harvest: 60 to 90 days
Light Requirement: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Optimum pH: 6.0 - 6.8
Cucumbers are a vigorous and fast-growing vegetable that is easy to grow and a delight to consume. They can be eaten fresh from the garden or pickled and saved for years to come. There are countless varieties of Cucumbers to choose from, all of which are cultivated in a similar manner.
Growing cucumbers is much like growing Pumpkin and Squash, although they tend to be a bit more sensitive in some climates. Cucumber is one crop that generally does not tolerate acidic soils below pH of 6.5, although there are some varieties that seem to handle it better.
Propagation, Planting, and Maintenance
Cucumbers can be plants by seed directly in the garden. You can space them 50-100 cm apart or integrate them as a ground cover in a polyculture. This should be done once soil temperatures are consistently above 20C. They only take about 5-10 days to germinate.
They require rich fertile soil that is well amended with compost. In poor soils, consider adding at least 5-10 liters of compost per plant into the soil you will be planting. They also enjoy consistent access to water, so plant in a moist spot or irrigate regularly.
Cucumbers do great as a creeping ground cover, but they also take very well to growing on a trellis. Once trained onto a structure they’ll use their tendrils like arms and climb their way up whatever type of trellis you provide them. This being said, cucumbers are large plants with heavy fruit, so make sure your trellis is prepared to handle the weight! Sturdy trellises made of chicken wire, wood, and other tuff materials tend to be superior then string trellis.
In about 2 months your cucumbers will be ready to harvest! Check the recommended length for your variety of cucumber if you are not sure when it is best to harvest. Don’t be afraid to harvest young and tender cucumbers as this just encourages the production of more fruit!
Bitterness - This is normal in overly mature fruit but can also happen in stressed plants. If this is an issue, make sure to properly water plants and harvest young tender fruits.
No Fruit - This can happen due to lack of pollination in some varieties. If this is the case, consider introducing new plants nearby.
Diseased Foliage - Cucumbers commonly get powdery mildew and other fungal diseases on their leaves. While this isn’t catastrophic, it can be detrimental. Consider increasing sunlight to your plant by removing or pruning high vegetation around the plant. Heavily infected foliage can be removed.