Cucumbers are one of the most popular plants in today’s home garden. Before you plant, consider how much space you can devote to growing cucumbers. The regular varieties require about 15 square feet per plant. However, they can still be grown in small gardens by training vines onto a trellis or wire fence. They may also be grown in containers.
Cucumbers require a planting site in full sun and even soil moisture. Mulch around plants to prevent soil from drying out between waterings. A straw mulch works best and will help keep them off the ground. Allow plenty of room for each plant, making sure that the soil is rich in organic matter and well drained.
How to Plant:
Cucumbers need warm soil and do not tolerate frost. Wait for warm spring days and soil temperatures above 60 degrees. Grow trellised plants 6-10 inches apart. When planted in hills and allowed to run, grow three plants to a 2 foot wide hill, with the hills spaced 6 feet apart. Apply an all-purpose organic fertilizer in early spring; then provide supplemental light feedings (side-dressings or foliar spray) monthly throughout the growing season.
Pick fruits as soon as they reach the size that you want. Cucumbers are difficult to spot among the leafy foliage. Keep a constant vigil so that they don’t become woody and tough. Harvest should occur 55 to 70 days after planting.
Insects and Diseases:
Use row covers to get plants off to an early start and to protect them from insect pests. Plant coreopsis as a companion plant to attract cucumber beetles away from your crop. If the leaves turn brown and eventually shrivel and die, suspect anthracnose. This fungal disease attacks all parts of the plant above ground.
Seed Saving Instructions:
Cucumbers will cross-pollinate, so isolate 1/4 mile from other cucumbers. Fruits for seed should ripen past edible stage and begin to soften and turn yellow. Cut lengthwise, scoop out seeds, wash, clean and dry. Seeds are dry when they break instead of bending.