Cucumber is easy to grow as long as a few basic tips are followed.
Key cucumber facts
Name – Cucumis sativus
Family – Cucurbitaceae (gourds)
Type – vegetable, annual
Height – 1 ½ to 6 ½ feet (0.5 to 2 m)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – ordinary but well drained
Harvest – 3 to 4 months after sowing, from end of spring to mid-fall
Caring for your cucumber from seed to harvest will require you to diligently carry out a few key steps to develop well.
Also, it helps to know that cucumber and pickle are exactly the same plant! You can harvest young cucumbers and turn them into pickles!
Sowing and planting cucumber
Sowing seeds is the most common option, but it’s also increasingly easy to find cucumber plants in nurseries and garden stores.
Sowing cucumber seeds
Sow in seed holes with 3 seeds per hole from March to June.
Transplant to the growing bed in May at the earliest, since freezing still occurs before that.
- Space plants 32 inches (80 cm) apart.
Planting cucumber seedlings
If you purchase cucumber seedlings from a nursery, plant them directly in the ground when the last frosts are past, after the middle of May.
Pruning and caring for cucumber
The trickiest step is pruning. If well pruned, a cucumber plant will grow well and the harvest will be plentiful.
Pruning for sprawling cucumber along the ground
This is for cucumber plants grown directly in the ground.
- Pinch just above the second leaf, and wait for two new stems to form.
- Pinch each of these two stems just after the 4th leaf, and then prune all following branches one leaf after each fruit.
Pruning for cucumber along a single stem
Often the case for cucumber plants grown vertically in greenhouses.
- Let the main stem grow up to about 6 ½ feet (2 meters), then pinch it at the tip.
- Side shoots will form between each leaf, called “suckers”.
- Along the lower 28 inches (0.70 cm), remove suckers regularly, as well as any fruits that develop directly on the stem.
Pruning for pickles
- Nothing special is needed other than pinching the head off just after the second leaf.
- Harvest fruits more regularly because leaving them on the plant will lower productivity.
- You can choose the size yourself: pickle for the small ones, and gurken for the palm-sized ones.
Common cucumber diseases
To avoid this, avoid wetting leaves. Cucumber is very vulnerable to diseases, especially powdery mildew.
In order to avoid such illnesses, water directly at the base of the plants to keep them from catching it.
Learn more about cucumber
Cucumber likes heat and requires regular but reduced watering.
Smart tip about cucumber
Planting cucumber in hot weather will stimulate growth.