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Cucumbers are one of my favorite vegetables to grow in the garden for several reasons. First, I love to grow cucumbers because cucumbers are EASY to grow. (I have a several easy to grow vegetables on my list) First, they don’t require a lot so it makes them fun to grow. Second, they’re 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
You’ll need to decide if you want to start seeds and transplant or just direct sow in the ground. We prefer to direct sow cucumbers because cucumbers don’t do well with root disturbance for transplanting. Peat pots are a good option if you want to start seeds indoor to get a jump start on the season because they can be planted straight in the ground without messing with the roots of the plant.
I’d like to add that when we lived in an area free of fire ants, direct sowing worked great. We’ve found out the hard way that fire ants will feast on your planted seeds before they germinate in the ground. In order to have a successful crop, we have had to start our cucumbers in peat pots and transplant here in Florida where fire ants are
trying to dominate the world a major problem.
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. The soil temperature needs to be 70° F or warmer. 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.
Plant seeds 6″ apart and thin to 12″ apart after first true leaves appear for vining cucumber varieties, for bush cucumber varieties, thin to 18″-24″ apart. Transplants can be planted every 12″.
Choose an area with full sun, they love the sun! Cucumbers also love water, and need to be kept moist. 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. For vining types, they 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.
Harvest time will depend on the type of cucumber you grow- around 55-65 days for most types. Be sure to pick them before they get too large, lest they may become tough and bitter. Picking often will also cause your plant to produce even more cucumbers. You’ll have cucumbers for days and hopefully stored for months.
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 as pickles. Our favorites are dill and bread and butter pickles. I’ve also recently learned that you can fry cucumber slices just like fried green tomatoes. I haven’t tried it yet but plan to soon. You can thank Patara at Appalachia’s Homestead for that little tidbit.
You can definitely expect a large harvest of cucumbers. There will be 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.
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!
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