In keeping with my trend of growing everything up this year, I thought I would post a quick post about growing your cukes up. Last year I grew them in tomato cages and they were a great success. We had way more than we could eat. Plus to my surprise one of my cucumber plants turned out to be a lemon cucumber plant. I had never seen one of these before and was a bit freaked out when they started growing. Much to my surprise though, they were quite tasty. Tastes much like a traditional cucumber.
This year we are only growing pickling cukes. Neither of my children are particularly fond of cucumbers (because they don’t like to eat “seeds”). Once I though I would outsmart them by buying the seedless ones, but still they were not a hit. There is one thing in our house though that we all love and that is pickles. Any kind of pickles will do, but last summer we figured out that we could can our own bread and butter pickles very easily. Making pickles is much easier than I would have thought and I will post more on this another time (recipe included).
For right now, let’s just focus on growing cukes. Cucumbers are really quite easy to grow, but there are a few tricks that will increase the quality and quantity of the fruits. So here are a few things to remember.
1. Cucumbers will do well in either containers or directly in the garden. Many of the smaller varieties of cucumbers can even be grown successfully in hanging baskets. What fun to have a big basket of cucumbers hanging from your deck. If you grow them in a pot, it would be advisable to provide them with a cage or trellis to grow up so that they do not grow all over the place.
2. Cucumbers are pretty fragile as seedlings and should not be planted outside until there is no longer a danger of frost. Cucumbers like warm weather and do best when the temperatures average above 70 degrees. They also require full sun.
3. Cucumbers LOVE compost. I have heard of people who report that they have had cucumbers grow along the edge of their compost pile from cucumbers that have been thrown into the compost pile. That is so awesome to be growing new food from your decomposing old food!
4. In addition to good compost, cucumbers also like to be fertilized. A 5-10-5 fertilizer would be much appreciated by your cukes.
5. In most area you will be able to get a second crop of cukes out of your garden this year. I usually start a second crop in July for an early fall harvest. Just plan it so you will have your harvest before the chance of frost begins.
6. Keep your cucumbers watered. They love moist well drained soil. If you choose to grow them in containters, make sure to water them often when it is very hot outside. They may need to be watered more than once per day.
That is really all there is to growing cucumbers. I have found that cukes are very rewarding to grow because you can get a great harvest with a very small time and monetary investment. One more thing, I have found that it is easier to grow cukes on a trellis or tomato cage than it is to stake them like zucchini. This is because they tend to have a lot of little arms that grow out of the main stem. They certainly can be staked but I find it easier to use a cage for them. They can easily be trained to grow up. Sometimes they are a little stubborn to get going but keeping training them and eventually they will catch on and take off. It is amazing how many cukes you can grow in your garden when you grow them vertically. You can grow one plant in about 1 sq. foot. That is pretty awesome compared to if you did not grow them vertically.
Have you tried to grow cucumbers vertically before? What are some of the tips and tricks that you have for successful cucumber gardening? Thanks for reading and happy gardening!