This is a beginner’s guide on how to grow cucumbers at home. It’s not as hard as you think. And this process can actually save you a lot of money. So let’s get started.
There are slicing, burpless, and pickling cucumbers.
- Slicing cucumbers are those long, thin cucumbers that you find in grocery stores. You can snack on these fresh, just as they are, or eat them in salads.
- Pickling cucumbers are paler green, shorter, and fatter than slicing cucumbers. Use them to make pickles or to add crunch to salads.
- Burpless cucumbers will not cause you to burp like the others.
If you’re interested in growing your own cucumbers, you need to decide which variety you want to grow.
Slicing cucumbers include Straight Eight, Ashley, Salad Bush, Poinsett 76, and Early Pride.
Pickling cucumbers include National Pickling, Calypso, Boston Pickling, and Supremo.
Burpless cucumbers include Burpless Beauty, Burpless #26, Garden Sweet, Summer Dance, Sweet Success, Muncher, and Burpless Tasty Green.
Cucumbers also grow in two forms: vining and bush.
How to Plant Cucumber Seeds
You’ve decided you want to go straight ahead and start your own cucumber garden, and that’s a great decision! Plant the seeds in the garden once the soil has warmed up.
First, loosen up the soil then poke holes about an inch deep, 10 to 12 inches apart. If planting in rows, 18-24 inches apart is ideal for each row.
Now drop 2 to 3 seeds in each hole and water. Cover with soil and you’re done. Follow up by making sure the soil is most every day. You can also cover the planting area with row covers to protect seeds from pests.
If you’d like to grow them in containers, start by filling a container with rich, fertile soil. Make a small hole in the soil and place 2 to 3 seeds in, making sure to bury them. Then, water the seeds and cover them with a thin layer of soil.
Finally, place the pot in a spot that gets ample sunlight and keeps the soil moist at all times. Within 3 to 10 days, you should start seeing tiny cucumber plants sprout up.
Container-grown cucumbers will need watering more regularly than in-ground cucumbers, and even more so if the weather is hot and dry.
Use seedling trays, newspaper cups, etc. to make the transplanting process a bit easier. Transplant about 3 weeks after germination.
Before digging them out of the tray, moisten the soil with water. With newspaper cups, you don’t have to dig them out – just plant the entire thing.
Harden off for about 5 days before you’re ready to move them outside in the ground. Transplant in the evening and water well. Plant each seedling 1 to 2 inches deep, 12 inches apart.
Growing cucumbers vertically is a great way to save space in your garden, and it also has other benefits.
The plants are not so dependent on you, and it improves air circulation. It also allows more sunlight to reach the leaves.
Plus, it’s really easy to set up — all you need is something to train the plants on and strings to tie the vines with. You can grow on a trellis, a frame, a teepee, arches, etc.
Once your cucumber plants are in the ground, you’ll need to water them regularly to keep them healthy and help them grow.
As a general guide, you should water your plants whenever the soil feels dry to the touch. Most farmers water once per week. However, there’s a little checklist to keep in mind when watering.
First, avoid getting the leaves and fruit wet, as this can give way to leaf diseases. Second, be careful not to overwater your plants, as this can kill them.
And finally, water in the morning or evening so the soil can soak up the water.
Once your plants have started to grow, you’ll need to start fertilizing them.
Opt for a fertilizer that has more phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen, like 3-4-6, and follow the instructions on the package. Geoflora is a good organic option.
Fertilize every two weeks, and be sure to water your plants well afterward to help the fertilizer soak in.
There are a few garden pests that can affect cucumbers, but thankfully they’re not too difficult to deal with. The most common are cucumber beetles, squash bugs, and vine borers.
They can be dealt with using organic insecticides or by using a physical barrier like row covers. You can also hand-pick them off of plants or plant some good cucumber companion plants to help keep the critters away.
One common cucumber plant disease is powdery mildew. It’s important to treat powdery mildew on your plants right away, as it can quickly spread.
Another one is anthracnose, which causes the leaves to have water-soaked areas that turn into brown spots . If you see signs of anthracnose in your garden, you can treat it with fungicides such as CEASE, Arber, or Cueva.
Finally, cucumbers can also be affected by bacterial wilt, a deadly disease that causes the plants to wilt and die. There is no cure for it, so it’s important to remove any infected plants from your garden immediately.
Now that your crop has been growing for a few weeks, it’s time to start harvesting them! They’ll be ready in 50 to 70 days after planting.
Pick them when they’re still young and tender. Look for cucumbers that have good lengths — about 6-8 inches long.
To harvest, simply clip them off the vine with a sharp knife or scissors.
Once your cucumbers are off the vines, it’s important to store them properly so they can last as long as possible.
The best way to store them is in a plastic bag in the fridge. However, make sure to remove as much air from the bag as possible before you seal it, as this will help to keep them fresh.
If you’re not going to eat your cucumbers within a few days, you can also freeze them. Just chop them into small slices and place them in a freezer-safe container. They will last for six to nine months in the freezer.
Now that you know all that you know, it’s time to get started! All you need is a soil mix, a sunny spot, and your seeds or seedlings. Follow the simple steps above and you’ll be enjoying homegrown cucumbers in no time.