Cucumbers

  • Why you should grow it
    • Cucumbers are great to pick throughout the summer – a nice treat to snack on
    • They grow up on a trellis so they can use different space in the garden – if you have a packed garden they can use open vertical space
    • Pickle cucumbers you can’t eat right away for harvest throughout the year

 

  • How to start seeds
    • They are a warm crop so they need to start in warm soil
    • You can start inside in early Spring or direct sow starting in mid-May
    • Start with moist, seed starting soil
    • Plant a bit deeper as the seeds are large
    • Keep in a warm spot, once the seedlings appear they will need about 6-8 hours of good sunlight
    • Transplant into larger pots if the seedling is crowding the pot and you can’t plant it out

 

  • Tips for growth
    • Plant in loose soil near a trellis or fence – something the vines can trail up
    • They need good warmth and humidity to fruit
    • Add some compost before planting or around the base to give the soil a boost
    • During the heat of the summer, add mulch around the base to prevent evaporation – cucumbers need consistently moist soil

 

  • Harvesting
    • Harvest cucumbers regularly to encourage fruiting
    • Cucumbers left too long on the vine can become bitter
    • Harvest when they are 3-4″ long
    • Leave a little stem on the cucumber if you can, it allows for longer storage – cut off cucumbers with a pruner or knife
    • Pickle cucumbers if you can’t eat them in time and to have a harvest throughout the year

 

  • Saving Seeds
    • It can be complicated, cucumbers easily cross-pollinate with other varieties if planted close together
    • Isolate the cucumbers either by timing, space or by closing up the flowers and then hand pollinating the female plants
    • Label the flowers you have hand pollinated to know which ones to save the seed from
    • Then leave the fruit on the vine for as long as possible, this will ensure the seeds will store a lot of food, sugar, and then last longer on the vine
    • Scoop out the seeds, rinse and dry completely
    • Label and store in a cool, dry, dark place