If you are looking for a crop that is easy to grow, consider cucumber. Moreover, companion planting may help it to thrive even better.
Good companions will likely attract beneficial insects and protect against certain pests.
However, you’ll want to keep bad companions well away. These are plants that may take away nutrients from the soil and/or even attract harmful insects.
Below are some plants that grow well with cucumbers, as well as those to avoid planting near.
What to Plant With Cucumbers?
Here’s a list of the best companion plants for cucumbers. Some of these herbs, vegetables, and flowers keep pests away. Some may also enhance flavor and provide shade.
What Not to Plant With Cucumbers
Just as some plants are helpful, others can be bad for your cucumber plants. Some crops may compete for space and/or nutrients, while others may encourage pests.
Below are bad companion plants for cucumbers.
Cucumbers are divided into three cultivar groups: pickling, slicing, and burpless. They also grow in two forms: bush and vining.
Vining cucumbers can grow up the side of a fence or a trellis. Moreover, they are great space savers versus the bush crop cucumber growth habit. Climbers also keep fruits and leaves away from the wet ground.
On the other hand, bush cucumbers work well for container planting and smaller gardens. However, both growth habits have a short growing period – usually around six weeks.
Additionally, the warmer their home, the better they grow. Cucumber plants do not tolerate frost.
1. Soil Preparation
Prepare the soil in advance by mixing compost or aged manure to a depth of 6-8 inches.
The plants grow best in fertile loose sandy loam soil . In essence, the soil must be well-drained and not soggy. Also, mix in some compost or aged manure before planting.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to start the seeds inside if you live in a cooler climate.
Give the seedlings about three weeks in a consistently warm space. This gives them a healthy start and helps ensure the danger of frost and cooler nighttime temperatures are over. Also, the roots are easily damaged, so handle them gently.
If you’re planting cucumbers from seeds, drop 2 or 3 seeds about 1 inch deep into the soil, spacing them 2 to 3 feet apart in a row. However, plant the vining variety about 6 inches to 1 foot apart and they will need a trellis for support.
For bush varieties, if you’re worried the ground might not be warm enough, you can use black plastic around your plants to retain heat. In very warm climates, you may see growth from seeds in just a few days. Cooler climates will have a longer germination period.
Additionally, after four weeks, mulch around the plants to help retain moisture. You can use straw mulch, dry grass clippings, or any organic mulch.
3. Care and Maintenance
More than anything, this vegetable needs full sunlight and consistent watering. A good baseline amount is 1 inch of water per week with increased watering in higher temperatures.
Water in the morning or early afternoon. A lack of sufficient watering leads to bitter-tasting fruits. However, drip irrigation or soaker hose methods work best as wet foliage can lead to leaf diseases.
Set trellises early and guide the plants to take hold of the trellis or fence. Additionally, you might need to thin the seedlings so they don’t compete for water and nutrients.
4. Pests and Diseases
Cucumber beetles wreak the most havoc on young cucurbits. Other pests include spider mites, squash bugs, whiteflies, and aphids .
Moreover, sometimes it’s not garden pests alone that ruin your crop, but plant diseases as well. Even though you’re constantly caring for your plants, you might start having fungal diseases.
Diseases can sometimes be passed from crop to crop through the air, via pests, or by water. However, you can treat them with natural remedies, but often the best option is the removal of the infected crops before they infect others.
Cucumbers are ready to pick when they are firm and about 6 to 8 inches long or when they are medium to dark green and firm. If they are starting to turn yellow, it means the fruits have started to ripe.
Picking them before they get too ripe signals the plant to continue producing. Also, morning is the best time to pick – before the sun hits the plants.
Where to Buy Seeds
Part of growing healthy cucumber plants is starting with quality seeds. Purchase seeds from your local farm or gardening store. Alternatively, buying online from a reputable online retailer like Seeds Now is fast and convenient.
By planning out your organic garden in advance, making sure to leave room for other helpful crops, you’re sure to have a successful growing season.
You’ll possibly end up with a bigger harvest and a variety of other vegetables than you know what to do with. Fortunately, most people love cucumbers, so you can pass on the excess to your neighbors!
See also: Good and Bad Companion Plants for Zucchini.