How to Grow Lots of Cucumbers
Growing cucumbers is so fun. They are relatively easy to grow.
And you can make pickles.
I’m going to cover the basics of growing cucumbers and how to deal with some common cucumber problems.
Cucumber seeds can be directly sowed into the garden. A seed packet costs about a dollar and will have enough cucumber seeds in it for several plantings.
Those little ‘cucumber seedlings’ sold at the store are cucumber seeds that were shoved in soil-filled cells a week ago. You don’t need them – you can grow your own from seed.
Why I grow from seed:
- It’s cheaper
- The plants will be stronger
- The plants will not go through the shock of transplanting
- It’s cooler
Another thing I love about cucumbers (and squash) is that there isn’t a hard deadline that they must be planted by. If you have a long growing season, it is likely you can get in several plantings of cucs.
A Second Planting
70 Days after planting a cucumber plant will have produced 12-16 (average) cucs and the vines will turn brown and quit. This is the normal life-cycle for a cucumber plant.
To ensure cucumbers until fall, use succession planting. About a month after I sow my first set of cucumber seeds, I’ll plant another crop. This can be done throughout the growing season.
Cucumbers really want to climb. There are vining varieties and bush varieties. My experience has been that they both take over the garden if not given something to envelop.
If you have plenty of space, you can let them sprawl.
If you have a limited amount of garden space – growing upward is the way to go.
My favorite garden trellis is cattle panels. These are 16 feet long and are sold at Tractor Supply for $19.99. I cut them in half and make a teepee out of them. Seeds can be sowed on either side and the plants will climb to their heart’s content.
I mulch most of the plants in my garden because I hate weeding. When you cover the ground – you don’t have to worry about weeds sprouting.
The open ground in the center of a trellis can be a weed nightmare if it’s not properly covered. Mulch this area and around plants to save yourself some work.
Cucumber plants bloom with the cutest yellow flowers. They make me happy.
There are male flowers and female flowers. The female ones make the cucumbers. The male flowers are the first to show up and for every 1 female flower, there will be 10-20 male ones.
To determine if flowers are female or male, look behind it for a small immature cucumber. The female flowers all have a tiny baby cucumber right behind them. The males will just be connected to the vine by a stem.
Some folks remove a few of the male flowers to help with pollination (with fewer male flowers, the insects will be sure to hit the female ones). I don’t do this. I just let nature take its course, and I have never had a problem with pollination.
It doesn’t take much time for the cucumbers to grow so watch them closely.
Harvest cucumbers while they are smaller and they will be tender and sweet. Harvesting often will also encourage the vine to make more fruit.
The biggest problem I have with my cucumbers is powdery mildew. This can be prevented with plenty of air circulation and spacing plants generously. Of course, sometimes mother nature throws us a wet summer and mildew is just unavoidable.
The second problem I have encountered is cucumber wilt. This is actually caused by the cucumber beetle. He is yellow with black stripes. As he feeds on the plants his mouth and feces spread the disease. Once a cucumber plant has been infected with cucumber wilt, it usually cannot be saved and will not produce fruit.
To stop cucumber wilt, you must stop the cucumber beetle.
How to get rid of Cucumber beetles:
- Prevent them with DE (Diatomaceous Earth). Sprinkle on plants, especially vines and where the plant comes from the ground.
- Get rid of them with DE. Ifyou notice some of the beetles on your cucumber vines, a little DE could run them off. Sprinkle some of the white dust on the plants and the beetles will probably move elsewhere.
- If the beetles have already spread their venom and your plants are goners, plant another crop (in a different location).