Grow Cucumbers

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Grow Cucumbers at home!  Cucumbers are one of my favorite fruits. They are an excellent source of vitamin A, magnesium, phosphorous and manganese. They also contain significant amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium.

A cup of cool crisp cucumbers contain less than 8 calories! It is one of the most popular plants among home gardeners. Cucumbers are a warm weather plant. They require long warm days, lots of sunshine and moisture. They do best when soil temperatures reach 70 degrees or higher (air temperature between 75 -85 degrees is optimal).   Cucumber tend to be very sensitive to cold weather.

I have had great success growing cucumber over the years. Fertile soil, lots of watering and adequate vine support is essential. Cucumbers grow very quickly and with appropriate attention, you will generate great yields.

TYPES OF CUCUMBERS

There are two major types of cucumbers that you should know about

Slicing Varieties

Slicing cucumbers will take up a lot of space. You can still grow cucumbers in your container gardens by growing them vertically. I will typically use a bean trellis or tomato cage to accommodate their growth. It is important to use plant clips or twining to secure the plants to the trellis/pole as the cucumbers can be quite heavy.

Popular Slicing varieties include:

Bush Slicer, Straight Eight, Sweet Burpless, Early Spring BurplessOlympian

Pickling Varieties

Pickling varieties are much smaller and are ideal for smaller containers. You should still use a small bean trellis or tomato cage to accommodate growth.   Plant clips and twining is extremely important as it will help train the plant to grow vertically.   Pickling varieties will produce quickly and in high volume.

Popular Pickling varieties include:

Bush Pickle Hybrid, Northern Pickling, Baby Cucumber, Crystal White

Grow cucumbers in loose, well-drained nourished soil. I typically use a mix of top soil, peat moss, garden lime and organic fertilizer. Be sure to wait until all danger of frost has passed and soil has warmed to 60 degrees before planting. Plant cucumbers 4 – 5 inches apart – four to five seeds per foot– when using small containers it is best not to overplant as it will reduce yields. Moisture management is very important. Many container gardeners will use mulch to help reduce rotting and weed growth.   Straw, wood chips or newspaper work well. It is important to keep the plant well-watered as the fruit matures (it will help enhance flavor).

Protect the plants from cucumber beetles, aphids, mites, pickle worms and powdery mildew. Hand picking the insects or use an organic insecticide (garden soap or concentrated pepper extract).

Cucumber plants will typically take 57 – 68 days to mature. It is important to avoid picking too early as you might experience a bitter flavor. Also avoid picking the pickling variety too late as you will get larger seeds. Harvest by cutting the stem one quarter inch above the fruit.


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