When it comes to growing cucumbers, following a few key tips can make the difference between struggling plants or a great harvest. An easy-care cucumber that loves sun and water, cucumbers grow quickly if they receive constant watering and warmth. Don’t let the cucumbers get too big before picking them, otherwise they will become bitter! See how to grow and harvest cucumbers.
There are varieties of cucumbers suitable for growing outdoors or in a greenhouse. Outdoor cucumbers, also called “backbone cucumbers”, tolerate cooler climates and are often prickly or rough to the touch. Greenhouse cucumbers form smoother fruits, but they need extra heat to succeed. Some varieties will be happy to grow indoors or outdoors in a sunny, sheltered place in the garden.
There are two main types of cucumbers: slicing and pickling. Each type is presented in several different varieties. Slicing species are long and usually grow to about 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) in length, while the types of digestion are shorter, reaching about 8 to 10 inches after ripening. There are now many bush or compact varieties of cucumbers that are ideal for growing in confined spaces.
Growing cucumbers in the open air
Open cucumbers should be planted when the soil warms up in late spring or early summer. Gradually acclimatize the plants for a week or two in advance. The cold frame is useful for this hardening period. In warm climates, you can sow the seeds directly in the final growing position. Cucumbers prefer rich, fertile soil, so dig a lot of well-rotted organic matter, such as compost, before planting. If you grow cucumbers up with supports such as wallpaper, place the plants at a distance of about 18 cm from each other. If you leave them scattered on the soil surface, plant them at a distance of about 90 cm from each other.
Pluck the growth points after the six leaves have formed to stimulate the plants to give fruiting side shoots. Cucumbers may need to be tied to vertical supports, especially when heavy fruit begins to develop.
Caring for cucumber seedlings
When growing seedlings indoors, be careful not to linger, ie long spindle-shaped plants. Seedlings become “long-legged” when they receive too much heat and not enough light. If you start them on the windowsill, make sure they get as much daylight as possible. You can make a makeshift light box by placing a sheet of reflective foil on the room side of the seedling tray. This will reflect daylight on the dark side of the plant.
If the plants are on a heat bench or in a propagator and look spindle-shaped, reduce the heat and try to give them as much light as possible. If 2 cucumber seedlings have sprouted in any of your pots, you need to remove the weaker one. Do not pull out the seedling, as you will damage the roots of the one you want to keep. Pinch the unsuccessful nail or cut with scissors.
Although cucumbers cope best with loose sandy soil, they can be grown in any well-drained soil. Cucumbers should be grown in full sunlight. Because their roots reach a depth of 36 to 48 inches, do not plant them where tree roots deprive them of water and nutrients.
Before preparing the soil, remove stones, large sticks and debris. Leave small pieces of plant material, such as dead grass and small weeds, as they will help enrich the soil when sowing.
Spray the soil to a depth of 8 to 12 inches. This is about the depth reached by most shovels or forks. Turn each shovel over to cover the ground with all plant material. Treat the soil to beds 4-6 inches high and at least 36 inches apart. Ridges are especially important on heavy soils and with poorly drained areas, as cucumbers must have good drainage.
Cucumbers are grown for slicing or pickling. Cucumbers that are best suited for slicing are 6-8 inches long and 1 inch or more in diameter when ripe. Cucumbers grown for pickling have a ripening of 3 to 4 inches in diameter up to 1 inch. Any type can be used for marinating, if you collect it small. Varieties that will be grown in Texas for pickling include Calypso, Carolina, Fansipack, Multipic and National Salting. For slicing varieties include Burpless, Dasher II, Poinsett, Pointsett 76, Slice Master, Straight 8, Sweet Slice and Sweet Success.
Planting your cucumber seed
Cucumbers require a warm temperature and can not withstand frost. Do not plant cucumbers until all the danger of frost has passed and the soil begins to warm up. Cucumbers are a grape crop that needs a lot of space. The vines can reach 6-8 feet in length and more. In large gardens, cucumbers can fall to the ground. Plant them in rows on previously prepared ridges. Using a hoe or stick, make a small furrow about 1 inch deep in the center of each ridge.
Drop three to four seeds in groups every 12-14 inches down the row (Fig. 3). By planting a few seeds, you are more likely to get a stand. Remove excess plants shortly after emergence. Sprinkle the seeds with about 1 inch of fine earth. Use the flat side of the hoe to secure the soil over the seeds, but do not pack it.
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In small gardens, you can train cucumbers on the fence, wallpaper or in a cage, if there is wire (Fig. 4 and 5). Plant three to four seeds on hills 4-6 inches high along the wallpaper or cage. To save space, fast-growing crops such as lettuce and radishes can be planted between the cucumber hills. They will be harvested before the cucumber vines become too large.
Cucumbers need a lot of fertilizer. Sprinkle 1 cup of complete fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 or 10-20-10 on every 10 feet of row; then apply fertilizer to the soil and leave the surface smooth. When the vine is 10 to 12 inches long, apply about 1 cup of fertilizer for every 10 feet of row or 1 tablespoon per plant.
Care during the season
Keep cucumbers as many weeds as possible. Do not plow or dig deeper than 1 inch, as you may cut the roots of the feeder and slow the growth of the plant. Cucumbers give two types of flowers – male and female. Male flowers (Fig. 6) open first and always fall. Female flowers (Fig. 7) form a cucumber and should not fall.
Soil and care
Cucumbers need warm, fertile soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8, although they tolerate slightly more alkaline soil to 7.6. To improve the soil and help create the root environment needed for a great harvest, place a few inches of compost-enriched Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® compost-enriched soil in the target soil a few inches of existing garden soil. (Compost or composted manure will also work.) Plant the seedlings 36-60 inches apart, depending on the variety (check the stick). For the vine, which is trained on the wallpaper, space plants at a distance of 1 foot?
In areas where spring is long and cool, you can warm the soil by 3-4 degrees, covering a hill or a row of black plastic. your favourite organic mulch soon after planting. If the weather is unusually cool, you can wait a while to mulch until the ground is warmed by the sun. Mulch is especially important for maintaining fruit purity for types of shrubs and vines that do not grow on the wallpaper. It is believed that straw mulch is unpleasant for snails and creates unpleasant support for cucumber beetles, helping to keep them in fear.
If possible, trim the wallpaper with vines. This keeps the fruit clean and saves space. A cage with a diameter of 12 to 18 inches, made of a fence of welded wire 4 or 5 feet long or wire for pigs, will support 2 or 3 vines. The wire easily grabs the tendrils of climbing cucumbers during plant growth.
Making a bed house
Obviously, this will depend on whether you can pick up new, fresh straw manure. Place a generous pile of compost on top of fresh straw manure, this pile should be about a meter in diameter for each plant. A small wooden bed is ideal for this purpose. Allow the manure to cool for a couple of days until the first burst of heat subsides. The pile will depend on how many cucumbers you plant, but the distance between the plants is 45 cm to give you an idea.
Plant cucumbers in compost at a distance of 45 cm from each other. The trick here is that the straw manure keeps the roots of the cucumber warm and well drained, helping to avoid problems with root rot. If it gets cold at night after planting, you can throw the plants on fleece, the heat from the manure will keep them cozy.