Planting and Growing Cucumbers

by David Schulze

This page talks about planting and growing cucumbers. It is based on David's experiences in the garden.

There is nothing more heavenly than a fresh cucumber harvested from the garden and taken straight to the kitchen where it is peeled and eaten. The taste is refreshing.

Cucumbers are part of the Cucurbitaceae family also know as gourds.  Most of the plants are vine growing plants. Cucumbers can be grown on some sort of trellis.

Cucumbers are green and there are some white ones. There are slicing and pickling which are called this because of their size. They are great whole or sliced. They are usually pickled with the skins on. Slicing cucumbers can be eaten with the skin on or peeled. I like to peel mine.

One thing to keep in mind when gardening as Bob Webster, who is the local garden guru, likes to say, "Gardening is a lot like gambling only the odds are worse."  If you approach it like this, then when things do not go as as planned, you will not get frustrated. Just dig it up and try again.

The first thing you should do is read our page on germination tips. There is a lot of good information found on this page.

Cucumbers like it hot. They do not like any cold weather. So make sure the last frost has passed and the soil has warmed to at least 70 degrees. Use a temperature gage to check. It needs to be a sustained 70 degrees. If it is right in the daytime but slips down into the 40s at night, they will not germinate.

I like to use raised beds. If you are new to gardening, you may want to use them as well. Get some good gardening soil. The best place is at a nursery or soil depot. I would not use the soil sold at discount stores because it contains more twigs and leaves than it does soil. This is because these things are lighter so it costs less to ship. Do a soil test. You are looking for a pH balance of 6 to 7. 

More on Planting and Growing Cucumbers

Choose your seeds. Good seeds are expensive. We recommend that you buy them from us but there are many good seed sellers out there. Even though they are cheaper, I would avoid buying any from China. Many times when they ship seeds, they commit fraud by saying that the package contains jewelry or a gift because if they say seeds, the seeds are confiscated by Customs.

Plant according to instructions. Most seeds are planted at a depth of 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch. This needs to be measured because 1/4 inch is less than you think. When I first got into gardening, I planted green beans. The pack said to plant them at one inch. I thought that if one inch is good two is even better. We explain why this thinking is wrong on our page on germination tips.

Water gently with a hose or drip irrigation. Be careful! If the water pressure is too high, you can dislodge the seed and it will die. If the temperature is right, the depth is right, and the moisture is right, the cucumber seeds should emerge in about 7 to 14 days.

Once they emerge and have grown to about six inches tall, fertilize with a weakened down solution of some organic fertilizer. Anything from Medina Agriculture will work. They are located about 40 miles from us so we have the advantage of buying directly from them. I like their products. You can google and find out where to buy them locally. 

When the plants are eight inches long, hit them with the full strength fertilizer. Also, I would add some Safer Soap and a fungicide just to be proactive against any insects. Of course, if like us, you have cutter ants, Safer Soap will not work.  You will have to use something stronger. We had over 100 cucumber plants growing beautifully and the cutter ants wiped them out in just a few days.

From here, just follow the manufacturer's instructions on when to harvest.

If you are only growing one type of cucumber and it is open pollinated, you can save the seeds. There are many online articles that give instructions on how to do this.

Happy plantings.