Cucumbers are one of my favorite vegetables to grow in the garden for several reasons. love to grow cucumbers because they are easy to grow.
First, they don’t require a lot so it makes them fun to grow.
Second, cucumbers usually prolific, you’re almost guaranteed to get a bumper crop harvest off of them.
Third, fresh cucumbers are delicious.
Fourth, Pickles…. need I say more?
I’m ready to tell you exactly how to grow cucumbers.
Without further ado, let’s get down to how it’s done.
How to Grow Cucumbers
Starting seeds or buying plants
You’ll need to decide if you want to buy started plants, start seeds and transplant, or just direct sow seeds in the ground. We’ve done all three but sometimes get better results from direct sowing seeds because cucumbers don’t always do well with root disturbance for transplanting.
You can also succession sow about every two weeks in order to have a continual harvest.
We used Peat pots which were a good option to start seeds indoor because they can be planted straight in the ground without messing with the roots of the plant. I’ve also used regular starting cells and transplanted being careful to not disturb the roots.
I’d like to add that in an area free of fire ants, direct sowing worked great. In our time in Florida, we found out the hard way that fire ants will feast on your planted seeds before they germinate in the ground. Definitely not cool! I’m so glad we don’t have fire ants in Virginia!
When to plant cucumbers
You need to wait until at least 2 weeks after risk of frost to transplant or direct sow. Cucumber plants do not tolerate frost at all. They also need a soil temperature to be 70° F or warmer. They are not a fan of cooler weather or soil.
Believe me, you’ll be so sad if you plant too early and your plants die. Don’t ask me how I know. I mean, I do know how to grow cucumbers, I just get a little anxious sometimes and plant early. Don’t do it, just don’t. I’ve learned to practice self control in this area over my years of gardening.
Plant your seeds 6″ apart and thin plants to 12″ apart after first true leaves appear for vining cucumber varieties or f18″-24″ apart for bush cucumber varieties. You can plant your transplants every 12″.
Where to grow cucumbers
Choose an area with full sun, they love the sun! Cucumbers also love water, and need to be kept moist. We like to mulch or use a “Back to Eden” style of gardening to help retain moisture. If your soil is dry past the first joint in your finger, you need to water your plants.
Soil rich in organic matter with a ph between 6.5-7.0 is best for growing cucumbers in. Now, I’m not one to check my soil ph but this is the advised ph level. Some people really like to do things by the book so this info is useful.
Vining cucumber types do best when trellised. We’ve built teepee type structures, used pieces of fencing, cattle panels, branches, and long sticks, they just need something to grow up.
We love growing cucumbers vertically. They’re easier to pick and they just look super cool! There is also less loss of fruits because they can easily get lost in the vines if they just grow along the ground. Cucumbers will also be more prone to rotting laying on the ground.
When to harvest
Harvest time will depend on the type of cucumber you grow. Most varieties are ready around 55-65 days. Be sure to pick them before they get too large lest they may become tough and bitter. Pigs or chickens will still eat them but humans, not so much.
Picking often will also cause your plant to produce even more cucumbers. You’ll have cucumbers for weeks and hopefully preserved for months to come.
Once you harvest, you can enjoy eating your cucumbers fresh, dipped in ranch dip, as cucumber sandwiches, in salads, or any other way you like to enjoy fresh cucumbers.
They are also delicious preserved as pickles. Our favorites are dill and bread and butter pickles. Sometimes in life, you just need pickles!
You can definitely expect a large harvest of cucumbers. It is likely you’ll have more than enough to eat, preserve, share with friends, family, and neighbors. There will probably even be enough leftover to share with your chickens and other livestock.
Cucumber varieties to grow
There are also some very cool varieties to pick from. We always grow a pickling type and a slicing type. The coolest variety that we’ve gown is the lemon cucumber. Such a yummy and neat vegetable!
We prefer heirloom or open pollinated cucumber varieties so we can save seeds. If you have a lot of issues with plant diseases in your area it may make more sense to go with a hybrid that’s bred to resist those things.
You can order seeds online or purchase from a local farm or big box store. You can buy transplants from local farm stores, garden centers, or big box stores with gardening departments.
It is if you to wait until 2 weeks after your last frost to be sure the plants won’t be damaged or killed by frost.
While harvest time can vary, most varieties are ready between 55-65 days after planting.
Cucumber plants prefer full sun and plenty of water. They won’t do very well in a shady area.
Yes! You can ferment, pickle, or even freeze dry cucumbers to enjoy throughout the year.
This is really a personal preference. We have used multiple methods and each has it’s own benefits. Traditional rows, Back to Eden, and SQFT gardening all have worked well for us.
Buy your cucumber seeds here:
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