Growing Cucumbers

by April Reinhardt
(last updated August 6, 2014)

All at once waxy, prickly, and warm when picked from the vine, the odd shape and tough exterior belies the succulent fruit inside of the cucumber. Though some people consider the cucumber a vegetable, it is of the gourd family and, thus, a fruit. Cucumbers are relatively easy to grow as long as you provide ample space for the vines and resulting fruit. Some people choose to start cucumber plants indoors, and then transplant them to a garden. I've always grown cucumbers from seed in the garden, sometimes using the previous year's seeds. After harvesting and cutting cucumbers to eat, I saved the seeds from within, dried them, and placed them in Ziplock bags for next year's crop. Whichever way you choose to grow cucumbers, follow these tips to grow a healthy, abundant crop:

  • Wait until all danger of cold weather and frost is finished before you attempt to plant. Choose a well-drained, sunny location of your yard for your cucumber patch.
  • Buy cucumber seeds from a reputable nursery.
  • Cultivate your soil with a hoe and rake, removing all weeds, grass, and debris. Rake and then cross-rake your cucumber patch before planting.
  • Plant your seeds one inch deep and at least six inches apart, with three seeds per hole. Allow plenty of space for the vines to grow. If you are planting more than one row of cucumbers, leave at least eight inches between rows.
  • Fertilize your cucumber patch until the plants start flowering. Use manure compost and work it into the soil, adjacent to the plants.
  • While it is true that cucumbers grow well in moist soil, do not over water since doing so can cause your fruit to rot in the soil.
  • Inspect your crop while it grows, if there are signs of rot, try gently turning the fruit so that all sides can face the sun periodically. A canopy of leaves will grow over the top of your crop, shading it from direct sun, but it is good to allow the sunlight to shine directly on the fruit at least a few hours each day.

Cucumbers typically grow to maturity within two months. Harvest your cucumbers when they are completely firm and dark green. Novice gardeners sometimes make the mistake of allowing their cucumbers to grow too large, resulting in a bitter-tasting fruit. Cucumbers will turn yellow if left too long on the vine, and the fruit inside will be dry and mealy. A word of caution concerning growing cucumbers; since they are a ground fruit, with a canopy of leaves overhead, the environment is perfect as an arbor for snakes seeking shelter from the sun. For that reason, be cautious when growing and harvesting any vine-bearing food.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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