Cucumbers are a hearty vegetable that needs plenty of sun and water. Cucumbers are fast-growing vegetables that, when planted in the right growing environment, can flourish. Growing cucumbers from seeds require very little maintenance and can be grown inside and outside. The only difficulty with them is you may have too many because they flower quickly.
Close-up of cucumber branch with young vegetables. Fresh cucumbers growing in the organic vegetable garden. Once you know how to grow cucumbers properly, you can have an excellent crop perfect for salads, dips, or snacking! Read on to learn about how to grow cucumbers from seeds properly.
How To Grow Cucumbers From Seeds
If you want to grow your cucumbers from seeds in your garden, there are a few things you need to check on first. Each one is crucial to you being able to grow cucumbers successfully from seeds.
Determine Type of Cucumber
Before you can plant a cucumber, you need to decide what kind of cucumber plant you will grow. Both of them have different growing conditions and steps to make sure they succeed.
The two types of cucumbers are vining cucumbers and bush cucumbers. Both of them will flourish and grow if pleased in the right growing conditions.
Vining cucumbers are flowering vine plants that grow quickly and make large leaves. These cucumbers are best grown on a fence or trellis to keep the vine upright and the cucumbers away from the soil. These can be very long growing plants stretching over the entire wall.
Bush cucumbers are grown on a small bush close to the ground. They are known for being suited for containers and smaller garden areas. The most popular one is the Burpless Bush cucumber that you can use for pickling or slicing.
These cucumber varieties will grow nicely if planted in the right amount of sun and get enough water.
After you decide what kind of cucumber you want to grow, you will also need to determine what to use the cucumbers for. If you are pickling them, they do not have to grow as long compared to slicing cucumbers. If you decide this ahead of time, you can make sure your cucumbers do not become overripe.
Pay Attention to the Weather
After choosing what kind of cucumber to grow, you will want to pay attention to the weather for the proper planting conditions. Cucumbers are very susceptible to frost. To ensure they do not wither and die, you should plant cucumbers two weeks after the last frost.
If you are not sure when the last frost was, you need to ensure the ground is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If planting them outside is not an option, you can plant them inside for about three weeks. They will begin to germinate then.
If the ground outside is not warm enough yet, you can add a black plastic tarp over the land you will use, along with mulch. This will trap the heat inside and cause the ground to warm slowly. This will take a little time so check the temperature every few days until you get the right temperature.
When placing them inside, make sure there is a hot surface underneath. It will help warm up the soil to a toasty 70 degrees.
It is also essential to make sure you are not in a drought or a period of heavy rain. A drought will mean the soil has less moisture, and you will need to water your cucumbers more often. Heavy rain can cause overwatered plants and may wash out your plants and their nutrients.
Check the Growing Requirements
Before you plant the seeds, you need to make sure you are planting them in the best plant site for growth. First of all, cucumbers need lots of sunlight to grow and pick a spot that gets direct sunlight all day. This will make sure your plants get the most light and warmth possible. If the all-day sun is impossible, you may use a grow lamp to get them started inside.
You will also need to check the soil. Cucumbers need fertile, lightly compacted soil to grow. The soil should be moist and be well-draining to keep the plant happy. You are going to want to look for loose soil that allows moisture. If you live in a northern area, you should look for light sand soils because they warm up quicker than normal soil.
After checking the conditions of the soil, you need to perform a ph test on the soil. A cucumber plant can grow in soil with a relatively neutral balance of ph between 6.5 and 7.0. This is a fairly neutral soil meaning they do not grow well in heavily acidic or basic soil. You can find a soil ph test at your local hardware store, or you can make your own by looking for signs of bubbling in the soil when tested with acid.
If you notice any of these problems with your soil, it is best to add organic matter to the soil and slowly mix it to make it better. The ph level should change, and so should the moistness of the soil. The soil will soften and become better over time. Keep checking the soil every few days to see if the acidity changes.
Planting the plants in a greenhouse or a planter may be worth it if you want to control the environment. This will make sure you are giving them the ultimate amount of support possible.
How To Grow Cucumbers In A Garden
When planting cucumbers in your garden or along a fence in early spring, make sure you follow these directions.
- Make a small hole of about an inch thick in the soil. Then place seeds in the hole. Cucumbers tend to grow in clusters so that you can put more than one per mound.
- Keep making holes in a row about 1 to 2 feet apart. After your plants grow to four inches high, you can take out the weakest plants and leave one in its spot.
- After that, place organic matter like leaves or mulch around the plants. This will keep pests and diseases away from your plant.
- Depending on your climate, you can utilize plant netting to keep pests and animals away from your plants.
- In colder climates, you can use black plastic to cover the mounds till they get warm enough to germinate. Growing cucumbers in your garden can be tricky when looking out for critters or drainage issues, but usually, they grow strong if placed in an area of direct sunlight.
How To Grow Cucumbers In A Pot
- You will need a large pot filled with potting soil. Make sure there is proper drainage in the pool so the water does not oversaturate the soil.
- Then make a one-inch hole in the soil and ensure it is deep enough for roots to grow.
- After the hole is made, you can place a couple of seeds in the hole. Make sure you cover up the bases next and give them water.
- Place the plant in an area where it will get direct sunlight either outside or in. You may also use a growing lamp if you have one.
- After you water your plant, let it grow for a little while without the cage. Once it hits four inches tall, take out the weaker seedlings and allow the one plant to grow.
- Place some vertical wires, cages, or netting around the plant. This will train your plant to grow straight and tall and have fewer offshoots. Offshoots can cause bitter cucumbers and cause a need for more nutrients and water.
- Growing cucumbers in a pot are beneficial for increasing bush cucumbers. This helps keep them away from the ground and disease when planted.
How to Grow Cucumbers In Containers
If you are growing your cucumbers in containers, it needs to have proper drainage. Find a container with holes to ensure there is drainage so the plant does not become overwatered.
- Fill the container with potting soil and make sure there is plenty of room for the roots to grow in the container.
- Make a couple of one-inch holes in the soil and place a couple of seeds in each one. After that, cover it up.
- Take the container and place it in a light space that gives the plant direct sunlight.
- Then while the plant grows up to four inches, you can weed out the weaker cucumber plants. By having cucumbers grow in containers, you control the drainage and keep disease out of the plants. You can also use this system to keep the plants inside to maintain the environment more.
Care For Cucumbers In The Ground, Containers, or Pots
In any of these growing conditions, you have to make sure you’re following the proper care. Environmental conditions are necessary, but you have to take care of the seedlings and plants after they are in the right place. It would help if you watered your plants at least once a day. Cucumbers are made up of mostly water. This means watering your plant regularly is crucial for your plant to grow and flourish.
They require at least one inch of water per week. You can check to see if the plant has enough water by putting your finger in the soil and making sure the soil is damp.
You will also want to use a mulch to keep the soil moist and ensure you are not getting the foliage wet to keep the plant healthy. You can also use liquid fertilizer to give the plant nutrients that the plant needs and plenty of water after the first week.
Another essential part of care is ensuring that bees are pollinating the plants to grow more fruit. You can spray the vines with sugar water to attract bees and get more fruit.
How to Grow Cucumbers in Greenhouses
Greenhouses can be an excellent environment for growing cucumbers. Greenhouses are usually placed in places with a lot of light and are humid. This will help your cucumbers flourish because they need warm environments to grow.
To grow cucumbers in greenhouses, you can do the following.
- Use flower beds, containers/pots, or to grow your cucumbers.
- If you use a flower bed or container, you can follow the same steps as the containers or garden beds.
- Then use netting or wire cages on the beds or pots. You can train the vines to climb the cages and will help create offshoots for the plant.
- You are then going to want to use liquid fertilizer for the plants in the greenhouse. The fertilizer will soak into the soil quicker and help the plant grow faster.
- Due to how these plants are growing, you will want to remove the male flowers because they will be bitter. Care for Cucumbers in Greenhouses
If you are growing your cucumbers in a greenhouse, you will want to employ some of the same measures as the other planting methods.
You will want to make sure you give your cucumbers up to one inch of water a week. After the plant begins to flower, increase the water up to one gallon each week. Make sure whatever you are growing the plant has proper drainage. This will ensure the plant has the right amount of watering.
Also, you will need to trim the plant regularly to make sure it does not become overgrown. If you let your plant grow without properly weeding it, it can overtake other plants and not get enough nutrients from the water and fertilizer you will use.
How to Identify Disease/Pest Damage and How To Fix It
One of the essential parts of caring for your plant is identifying disease and pest damage before it gets out of hand.
- If you notice your plants are not growing fruit, this could be a pollination issue. It would be best to have male and female plants growing together to cross-pollinate and create the fruit.
- They also might not be growing due to a lack of bees. If it has rained a lot or insecticides have been used on, there is a less likely chance that bees have been able to pollinate your cucumbers.
- Mildew and mold can grow on your plants if they are exposed to too much moisture. If your fruit is touching the ground, it will be infected with mold or mildew. If you notice mold or mildew, spray your leaves with a fungicide to eliminate the problem.
- There is also a possibility of pest damage in your plants. Make sure you are utilizing mulch and pesticides to ensure the plant does not become damaged.
How to Harvest Cucumbers
Part of the growing process is harvesting your cucumbers. If you allow them to wait too long and get too large, they will become bitter. If you start to notice yellow dots on the cucumber, they may be too bitter to eat.
It would help if you were harvesting your cucumbers as soon as they begin to ripen. If you let them turn yellow, they are no longer eatable. You are going to want to make sure you are checking them daily for greenness and firmness. Once they have become firm and green, you can pick them.
As they ripen, if you wait too long to pick them, it may cause your plant to mature. If your plant matures, it will stop growing fruit. This will cause you to clear out the plant. Your plant can also stop flowering if it has been destroyed by pests or disease. Pay close attention to what the plant looks like if it has stopped flowering.
Because cucumbers are a quick-growing fruit, you are going to be harvesting them every couple of days. It might be an even shorter period if you are growing pickles because they do not have to grow as long compared to slicing cucumbers.
If you are using sliced cucumbers for salads or eating, you will want to wait till the cucumbers are 6 to 8 inches long.
This will make sure they are ripe and usable. If you are pickling cucumbers, they need to be between two to three inches long. When you are harvesting your cucumbers, make sure you are picking them in the morning. If you delay, the sun will hit them and can cause them to have an uneven texture and flavor. They can become bitten and overripe if left for even a little too long.
It would be best to harvest your cucumbers so that you do not pull them off the vine when you gather them. If you pull them off the vine, the flowers could become damaged and not grow more fruit.
If you pinch them off the vine, they will not ruin the plant and allow more cucumbers to grow. Pinching does not of the growing process but still allows the plant to regrow another plant.
Now that you know how to grow cucumbers, you can enjoy a hearty vegetable crop. You will also know to keep your crop healthy and grow fast. A garden will give you as much love as you put into it, so growing and harvesting properly are imperative to getting the best yield out of your garden.