How To Grow Cucumbers
Cucumbers are a favorite vegetable of many home gardeners. One reason for this is they are a vine and can be grown vertical and barley takes up any room in the garden. Another reason is you can grow only a couple of vines and have an ample supply during the summer months. Cucumbers originated from the dessert and in the Northwest our cool weather inhibits us from planting them in the spring. Do not get discouraged however, the perfect temperature is around 70 degrees and we usually hit that late May or early June. Patience is key to a great crop.
Cucumbers are ample eaters and need quite a bit of compost and fertilizer to continue producing. A great way to insure they will thrive is to dug a couple of holes in the garden and fill them with compost or aged manure. With the remaining dirt mix it with fertilizer and place on the top layer. Create a mound and then flatten the top. Now you can plant your seeds, about 4 seeds per mound. You will later thin these to 2 plants per mound. Remember that cucumbers will trail as they grow so leave tons of space if they are not growing vertical. Cucumber seeds will likely geminate with in 6-9 days if the temperature is warm. When the true leaves of your cucumbers have emerged you can now pick the strongest seedlings to keep and sadly toss the others. Each cucumber plant should produce around 8-10 cucumbers.
Caring For Cucumbers
When your cucumber vine has 7 leaves on it pinch the tip off. This growing method will force the vine to send off shoots and that equals more flowers that turn into cucumbers. If you find a vine that has no flowers pinch that off, these are called suckers and will continue to steal nutrients from the vine. Growing cucumbers is easy when you understand their needs. This is the most important thing to know. Cucumbers have both male and female flowers. So, I am hoping you can read between the lines on that. If not, I guess we are talking about the “Bees”. Once the flowers have emerged pollination needs to occur to created baby cucumbers. You will know this is not happening if you see dead flowers near your plants an no sign of fruit. Do not go into panic mode…this is an easy fix. Find a small male flower and using a q-tip gather the pollen. Transfer it into the female flower and wala. You can now say your reasonable for a new life! While your cucumbers are growing make sure you are watering them thoroughly. After all they are made up of mostly water.
Cucumbers are a lot like zucchini’s in the sense that a small to medium size vegetable is better than trying to break world records. The more you pick the more the vine will produce. A great size cucumber is about 4-6 inches long. Get your mind out of the gutter! To harvest get a sharp knife and simply cut off where the vine meets the fruit. Don’t ever just tug on them, you will likely harm the vine. Cucumbers once harvested will only last about a week in the fridge. If you end up with more than you can eat slice them up and add pickling spices. Leave them in the fridge for 1-2 weeks and then enjoy.
Tips For Growing Cucumbers
To aid in pollination plant flowers near your cucumbers this will attract bees.
Flea Beetle, Aphids, Slugs, Snails
Cucumber Mosaic Virus, Black Rot
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