Growing cucumbers can be a rewarding experience with a little bit of knowledge and luck. Traditionally used for pickling, cucumbers or cukes are popular as condiments, in salads, or enjoyed fresh. Cucumbers have a very light water like taste that is subtle and pleasant. GrowCucumbers.com gives you the how to information you need to successfully grow your own cucumbers.
The cucumber (Cucumis Sativus), related to the squash and cantaloupe in the gourd family, originated over three thousand years ago in India and spread across the the world, even being mentioned in the epic Sumerian poem, Gilgamesh. The cucumber plant is a warm season vine crop that roots in the soil and then grows on the ground or up a supporting structure wrapping it's tendrils around anything it comes into contact with. The leaves of the cucumber plant are large, often times hiding the fruit underneath the leaf canopy. Cucumber fruit is long and cylindrical that can grow up to two feet long in some varieties. Cucumbers are picked and eaten fresh or pickled before the fruit ripens.
Cucumber Growing Tips
Cucumbers are easy to grow vegetables that require full sunlight, well drained, loamy soil, and plenty of room to grow. If space is limited use a trellis or other support so the cucumber plants grow upwards, off the ground. In areas with a long enough growing season, cucumbers can be grown from seeds sown in the late spring or early summer, otherwise start seeds indoors two to four weeks before the last frost in your area. Cucumber seeds will not sprout in soil that is fifty degrees or below, germinate slowly in soil temperature around sixty degrees, and do the best in soil that is seventy degrees consistently.
As cucumbers are often grown on the ground, it is very important to make sure that the soil in your garden is well drained meaning that water does not pool up at the surface after a good rain. If the cucumbers sit in water this can cause the fruits to rot, ruining your cucumber harvest. Cucumbers need a good amount of water regularly for consistent fruit development. Use mulch to conserve water in the soil. Do not plant cucumbers where other vining plants have grown in the last few years such as squash or melons.
Cucumbers are not particular about the ph of the soil they grow in with an average ph of 6.5 being ideal but not critical. Using organic compost will condition the soil properly to achieve cucumber success. Cucumber need to be regularly fertilized with an organic fertilizer that is high in nitrogen and has a good amount of phosphorus. Cucumber plants are heavy feeders. If the leaves are yellowish, this can be a sign of low nitrogen. Once the plant starts to vine, side dress with compost or aged manure. Fertilize one to two times per month and as the first blooms appear.
Plant cucumbers near nasturtiums, radishes, marigolds, sunflowers, peas, beets, carrots, and dill.
Avoid planting cucumbers near tomatoes or sage.
A healthy bee population will help to pollinate your cucumbers.