Growing Cucumbers

Lisa Ray, The Gardening Advisor, Grow Something Today For Tomorrow, Growing Cucumbers

Prized in salads and pickles, cucumbers are heat-loving plants that can be grown on a trellis or fence to save garden space. 

Cucumbers grow best in zones 4 and warmer in full sun with good circulation, light soil with well-rotted manure or compost worked in. 

Cucumbers dislike cold soil, so wait for 3-4 weeks after the last frost to direct-see or transplant them into the garden.  Thin plants to stand 12-15 inches apart in rows, or plant in “hills” (4-5 seeds or plants each) about 4 feet apart.  Mulch, or keep cultivated until plants begin to vine. 

Cucumbers need ample food and water; irrigate in dry spells and give them fish emulsion or compost tea once a month.

Grow on a trellis or fence to save space.  Use row covers to protect young plants from cucumber beetles, but remove when plants bloom.  Trellising will improve air circulation and reduce mildew.  Do not grow cucumber in the same spot more often than once every 3 years.  Sudden collapse of cucumber plants indicates wilt disease, which is spread by cucumber beetles.  Straw mulch may help deter beetles attack, and some cultivars are less vulnerable to the beetles.  Successive plantings every 6 weeks will extend the harvest even where beetles are troublesome. 

Matures 48-70 frost-free days, slightly less for gherkins or baby pickles. 

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