Cucumbers belong to the Cucurbitaceae family and are fruits that grow as a creeping vine, although there are different varieties of this plant that you can grow.
When it comes to growing cucumber, the process is actually simple as long as you provide plenty of water and sunlight to the plant. You can then pick out the cucumbers once they have grown sufficiently (and not too much).
To learn the details about how to grow cucumber, you can go through the following steps and considerations. Let’s begin!
There are several varieties or types of cucumber plants that can serve different purposes. For instance, you can use some for pickling while the others can work better for eating them fresh.
The former variety is typically smaller and thinner with different shades of green while the latter is longer and thicker with a more even green color.
Similarly, within these varieties, some grow as a vine while some grow in a cluster. The latter can be better if you have a smaller yard or garden or if you want to grow your cucumbers in a pot. However, you can also simply grow the vines vertically instead of letting them creep horizontally.
The planting season for cucumber can vary a bit depending on how and where you want to grow it. If you are growing them in your yard, then it is best to plant or sow them towards the end of spring (in the month of April). You can also wait until May.
It is important for you to start growing cucumbers only once the winter has fully passed, especially if you live in a cold climate. Frost can damage the plant, so make sure you grow it indoors if you want to sow it around February-March and provide it with enough heat through a container or growing light.
Where you grow your cucumber can depend on your requirements and the availability of your space. Your backyard can be an ideal location for growing cucumber as long as that area receives enough sun. If it does not, however, you can find a spot indoors on a windowsill or a growing structure.
You can either sow them directly in the soil bed or you can grow them in a sufficiently deep container.
The best way to grow and propagate cucumber is through seeds. There are several steps involved in this process that you should be cautious and aware of. You can go through these below.
- Buy the seeds from a reliable source or use seeds from a mature cucumber plant.
- Take a damp paper towel and place the seeds in them. You can also directly soak them in water for a day or 24 hours.
- If you are planting them in your yard and have space restrictions, it is best to grow them vertically.
- Sow the seeds at least an inch into the soil and around 10 inches to a foot (or 12 inches) apart so that the roots can have sufficient space to grow.
- Cover the seeds with the soil and some organic matter like hay or leaves.
- Add a trellis or climbing pole in the soil once the seeds germinate so that the plant can grow vertically.
- Provide enough light, water, fertilizer and protect the plant from pests and diseases.
Cucumber Care and Maintenance
You should keep the following care conditions in mind when it comes to growing and maintaining cucumber plants. It’s important to keep a close eye on your vegetables throughout the different cucumber growing stages.
Cucumber needs lots of sunlight to grow well. Make sure the planting spot in your yard receives at least 8 hours of sunlight as well as a bit of shade in the peak afternoon. Temperatures of around 70ºF or 21ºC are essential during the growing season, going up to 35ºC in the summer.
USDA hardiness zones between 4 and 12 can work well.
The soil that you use for growing cucumber can be an organic and fertile starter or potting mix combined with some old manure, compost, or peat. Keep the soil moist throughout but ensure that it can drain out the excess water well. Use soil with a light acidic to neutral pH around 6.0-7.0.
You should water the cucumber regularly, giving it a good amount of water once a week. Make sure you keep this schedule up since cucumbers have large water content and need this amount of water to taste well. You should, however, avoid watering the leaves.
Use organic substances in your soil and keep adding them to it on an occasional basis. If you have not added these, however, then you can make use of a fertilizer with 5% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 10% potassium by adding it to the soil roughly a week after the plant blooms. Continue adding it once a month.
Pests and Diseases
Some common pests and diseases that can affect cucumbers include aphids, root rot, cucumber beetles, mildew, whiteflies, squash bugs, cucumber virus, and several others. You can prevent these through proper care and by growing the plant vertically.
If the plant already has these conditions, you should remove the damaged part and try to recover the rest of it.
You can harvest the cucumbers roughly two months after they germinate. However, this can depend on the size and varieties as well, since pickling cucumbers should be around 3-4 inches long while slicing varieties should be around 8 inches long. Do not let them grow too big since this can ruin their taste, making them bitter.
Make sure the cucumbers are fresh and green and not yellow. Once you start harvesting them, you might need to keep picking them once every few days or so.
Now that you know how to grow cucumber in your backyard, you can go ahead and get started with this simple and quick process. As long as you provide it with the right growing and care conditions, you will be able to obtain delicious cucumbers at the time of harvest.