Cucumbers are a delicious addition to the culinary world. There are so many varieties and so many ways to enjoy this vegetable. It is a vegetable, right? Wrong! Though considered a vegetable, from a botanical perspective, they are fruits.
Regardless of their status, cucumbers are a versatile ingredient to include in your home garden. They are easy to grow, and you can even plant them indoors. However, there is a certain level of patience and care required to get them to plant roots.
Varieties of Cucumber
Before you move on to the growing part of the article, let’s review the three main varieties of cucumbers available in stores and gardens.
- Slicing cucumber varieties are commonly found at the grocery store. They are grown for fresh consumption and characterized by tough skins, uniform color, and long sizes. Their thick skin makes them last longer on the shelf.
- Pickling cucumbers have opposite characteristics compared to the slicing variety. While you can pickle any cucumber, this particular variety is specially intended for that purpose. They are shorter, plumper, and irregularly shaped than the slicers. They also have bumpy spines, unlike the slicers.
- This variety of cucumber has a mild taste. The taste can be attributed to the reduced levels or lack of cucurbitacin, the compound responsible for the bitter taste of cucumbers. They are easy on the stomach and are grown nearly seedless with thin skin.
These varieties of cucumbers encompass many types, including the English cucumbers, garden cucumbers, gherkins, Kirby cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, etc.
When To Grow Cucumber Seeds Indoors?
Cucumbers require warm weather to grow. They cannot tolerate cold or frost. So the best time to plant seeds is just after the last frost melts away and the warm weather rolls in.
However, if you are starting their growth indoors, you can start a few weeks before the frost melts. Since you will be able to control temperatures inside, you can ensure the proper growth of the seedlings. Once they have reached optimum growth, you can then shift them outside, just in time for the growing season.
How to Grow Cucumber Seeds Indoors?
There are several steps to growing cucumber seeds indoors. The process follows the same methods as growing other plants under a roof.
Pick Your Seeds
This is the first step to growing any plant. Select the seeds of your choice. What variety of cucumbers do you want to grow? The selection is also dependent on the availability of space if you are not planning on transplanting them outside.
Once you have chosen your seeds, you can move on to the next step.
Plant the Seeds
You need to pick a pot with a nice depth, preferably an 8-inch pot. Once you have chosen your pots and seeds, plant just one or two seeds in the loosened soil of each pot. The preferable soil pH level for cucumbers is 6.5 to 7.5. Place the seeds at a minimum depth of an inch within the soil.
Under ideal conditions, cucumber seeds germinate in around 10 days. They take eight to nine weeks to get harvest-ready.
The growing plant loves the sun. Make sure to place them in an environment where they will receive continuous sunlight. If that is out of the question, then either provide artificial light or place them in a sunny spot for as long as possible.
Even the seeds need light to break out of their cover and germinate.
Once the flowers are ready to turn into fruits, ensure they get eight hours of light (natural or artificial) every day.
Cucumber plants thrive in a specific range of warm temperatures of around 75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. If you place them in a cooler environment, they will germinate, but not as rapidly as in a warm environment.
They are quite tender, and even the lightest of frosts can reign damage or even kill them.
Water is an important aspect of cucumber care. They require a lot of water and quite consistently too. Deep watering is essential for healthy growth. If you slack off in your watering duties, you risk the fruit turning bitter.
At the first sighting of seedlings, water the plants regularly and avoid getting the foliage wet, as this can lead to leaf diseases. You can also spread around mulch to help the soil retain moisture.
Once the growth spurt starts, switch to infrequent watering but keep the water levels at one to one and a half-inch each week. The soil must be moist but not too moist as this can lead to disease.
Cucumbers prefer organic soil. Organic soil with the required nutrients will help them thrive and produce the best fruit.
The nutrient requirements vary depending on the type of soil. For instance, heavy clumps of soil tend to lock in nutrients, whereas sandy soils lose nutrients pretty quickly.
Well-aged compost is the best fertilizer for cucumber plants. In addition to providing nutrients, they also improve soil quality and help prevent diseases.
Cucumbers require less nitrogen but higher levels of potassium and phosphorous. Excess nitrogen will adversely affect the plant’s fruit-bearing abilities. You will get more vines and leaves but no blossoms for a fruit.
Be wary of overfeeding your plants, especially with commercial-grade fertilizers. While they will grow your plant, you will not enjoy the end result.
The Final Word
Growing cucumber seeds indoors is a relatively easy process. You just have to make sure to fulfill all the proper growth requirements. Once the seedling has sprouted, make sure there is enough space in your pot, or else transfer them to a bigger pot if you plan to grow them indoors.
If you want to transplant them outside, check to see if the weather has turned warm, and the frost has passed. If not, keep them indoors longer, in a roomier container or pot, until the conditions outside are ideal for transplanting them.
Once the cucumbers are ready for harvest, pick them and serve them up however you like!