Cucumbers are easy to grow. They prefer a sunny spot and in warm, fertile, and well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Raised beds are ideal. Soil temperatures should be in the 70 degree range before setting plants out as they are very frost-tender, so plant your seedlings 2 weeks after the last frost date.
Cucumbers are vigorous growers and require between 1-2” of water each week. Watering deeply once or twice a week will help keep your garden soil moist. I put a stake in with the plant to help me remember where the roots of the plant are and to alleviate any unnecessary watering of the vines. Lack of water during the flowering time can result in oddly shaped and bitter tasting fruit.
Bush types –
Mulch is especially important to keep the fruit clean for bush types and vines not grown on a trellis. Straw mulch is preferred and may keep away unwanted garden pests. Space bush varieties 3 feet apart in all directions. Keeping your area weed free will increase the season’s yield.
Vining types –
Cucumber plants can be grown on the ground, but do much better when allowed to climb a trellis of some sort. This keeps the fruit clean and saves space. Hog wire panels or chicken wire work well as a trellis. The wire is easy for the tendrils of climbing cucumbers to grab as the plant grows. Grow trellised plants 8 to 12 inches apart. Hills with one or two seedlings should be spaced about 3 feet apart, with rows 4 to 5 feet apart. Keeping your area weed free will increase the season’s yield.
Cucumber cucumis sativus
Burpless Supreme Cucumber
Slicing variety. Sweet, dark green fruit,
many are seedless. Fruit is 11” long.
Pollinator is needed.
Harvest 55 days.
Bush-type habit. Great for small gardens
or containers. Produces abundant
crop of nice, straight 6-8” cucumbers.
Harvest 62 days.
Bush Pickle Cucumber
Pickling variety. Bush-type habit is perfect for
small gardens/containers. Crisp and tender with
cool, mild flavor. Fruit is 4-5” long. Harvest 54 days.
Dark green, 8-9” fruits stay green and mild-tasting
even under heat stress. Disease resistant. Vigorous
and highly productive. Harvest 65 days.
Short, thick 5” cukes with blunt, tapered ends. Perfect
for pickles or in salads. Striped, medium green skin with
black spines. Heavy producer. Harvest 52 days.
Straight 8 Cucumber
Slicing variety. Vigorous, productive plants with
dark green cylindrical fruit. Fruit is 7-8” long.
Harvest 63 days.
Cucumber culture –
Cucumbers are members of the gourd/melon/squash family. They generally grow on creeping vines that bear numerous cylindrical fruits. Although technically a fruit, much like tomatoes and squash, most people think of them as vegetables and are usually more than 90% water. There are three main varieties of cucumber:
Slicing – Cucumbers grown to eat fresh are called slicing cucumbers. They are mainly eaten in the unripe green form. As they ripen and turn yellow their flavor becomes bitter or sour.
Pickling – Although any cucumber can be pickled, commercial pickles are made from cucumbers that grow 3-4” long. Pickling cucumbers allow for an extended shelf-life. Compared to slicers, picklers tend to be shorter, thicker, less regularly shaped, and have bumpy skin with tiny white or black spines or hairs.
Burpless – Burpless cucumbers are sweeter and have a thinner skin than other varieties. Easier to digest they have a pleasant taste. They can grow as long as 2 feet, are nearly seedless, and have a delicate skin.
Cucumbers are standard fare in fresh salads, but here are a few other ideas for you to consider:
Use half-inch thick cucumber slices as ‘plates’ for chopped vegetable or chicken salads
Add diced cucumbers to sugar snap peas and mint leaves then toss with rice wine vinaigrette
For refreshing cold gazpacho soup – simply purée cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers and onions, then add salt and pepper to taste
Add diced cucumber to tuna fish or chicken salad recipes