Cucumber plants are one of the standards and most loved plants to grow for many gardeners, no matter your zone. They can be grown in a variety of different spots too! Big gardens, small gardens, raised beds and even patio gardens all are great spots for growing cumbers. Though they may not be the hardest plant to grow, there are some simple tricks you can use to ensure you have a massive crop without needing to plant many plants!
There are a few things to consider when where you will plant your cucumbers. Cucumbers need sunlight and consistent water. You can usually drag a hose wherever you need it, but you want to consider sunlight when choosing where to plant your cucumbers. Cucumber plants that do not get enough sunlight are more likely to have a sparse fruit set and produce an overall lower yield. Therefore, it is best to plant them in areas that get at least 8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
When it comes to water, cucumbers need consistent water. If plants get too dried out you will have lower yields, and risk killing your plant altogether. If you are wanting to plant a cucumber plant in a pot, commonly referred to as a patio garden, keep in mind the smaller the container, the less water it holds, so the more often you will need to water your cucumber plant. Don’t worry; I’ll be sharing my hack to that in just a bit!
You also want to keep your soil in mind. Cucumber plants are heavy feeders which means that they require a lot of nutrients. You will want to fertilize them, again more on that in a bit, but if you can start out with good soil, your plants will do better. Cucumbers prefer loamy soil. A few weeks before planting, you can amend the soil in your garden with compost or manure to help bring in nutrients for your cucumbers.
If you are growing cucumbers in a garden then you can choose just about any type of cucumber you like. Just make sure to read the tags when planting them to ensure you are giving your plants enough room to grow without crowding their neighbors! This year I decided to grow Straight 8 cucumbers are great for slicing and are a remarkably uniform cucumber that has a small seed cavity and crisp, fine-grained flesh. This variety is a heavy yielding cucumber.
If you are planting them in a patio or small raised garden, I suggest going with the Bush Champion variety. Bush Champion Cucumbers have a smaller plant size, so they don’t take over in smaller places. They are great slicing cucumbers and grow to about 11 inches on a more compact plant!
I live in a zone 3 which means I don’t really get to plant much in the garden until late May or early June. Though cucumbers have a maturity date of about 50-65 days, I prefer to purchase plants that are already started, instead of from seed. Though plants from seed catch up quickly I still prefer the plants.
Once you have chosen your spot, and your variety it’s time to get those babies in the ground! Be sure to read the tags on your plants or on the back of your seed packets for exact directions. Cucumbers can be planted in rows or in mounds or planted at the base of a trellis the spacing will be slightly different based on the way you choose to grow them.
I grew my cucumbers on a trellis this year. Mainly because I love the way they look if I’m totally honest. As a photographer, I love to make my garden ascetically pleasing as well as functional! I planted four plants in a square about one and a half feet apart from each other. My raised beds are 3 feet by 6 feet, so this little square took up about half of one of my raised beds.
Water is super important to cucumbers, but it can be done wrong, and create a ton of problems. How in the world do you water wrong? One of the biggest problems you will have with cucumbers is powdery mildew. Powdery mildew happens when plants get too much water on their leaves, and they start to mold. The best way to avoid this is to make sure you water under the leaves if you are watering by hand, you can gently move the leaves out of the way of avoiding water splashing on the leaves. This means you want to avoid watering with a sprinkler whenever possible.
The best thing I did this year for my cucumbers, well for all my plants really, was to install drip irrigation to my raised beds. I knew we were going to be camping a lot, and traveling this summer and I really wanted my garden to be a success even though I wouldn’t be home to water every single day!
You can see in the drip irrigation in this bed where the little black distribution hose connects to the brown drip tubing and then snakes throughout the bed.
I’m actually planning on recording a video to show you exactly how I hooked up my system in the coming weeks! However, here are the materials I used!
I love the Bluetooth water timer. It makes it incredibly easy to adjust water based on the weather. I can use a rain delay or up the time or frequency of water during the heat of summer! When plants are freshly planted, especially if you are direct sowing seeds, you don’t want your plants to dry out!
Drip irrigation is also helping me to save water. I can water early in the mornings to avoid water evaporating, and I can make sure I’m only watering what needs to be watered!
Once your plants start producing fruit, yep technically cucumbers are a fruit, you want to keep harvesting them. If you let them stay on too long, it suppresses the plant from producing more flowers. Cucumbers that are left too long on the vine become bitter with tough skin. The best way to remove cucumbers from the vine is to use scissors or clippers since pulling them off can damage the plant.
There you have it a beginner’s guide to growing cucumbers! I hope you enjoyed this comprehensive break down! Here are some other blog posts I’ve written you may find interesting as well!