Cucumbers are so easy to grow from seed (and cheap) that it is almost criminal to purchase starter packs of this plant from a garden shop. The started plants will be set back (particularly if they were root bound in the pack) when transplanted and will not give any advantage in harvesting earliness.
When to Plant
After the ground has warmed up nicely – late May to early June in most parts of the country. Later plantings catch up to early plantings.
There is a technique for starting seeds in peat pots (the kind you can bury) two weeks before you want to put them outdoors. The seeds (one seed per pot) germinate and you can plant the entire pot without damaging the roots in transplanting. Plant the peat pot so that its top is at the soil line (don’t cover over the stem of the cucumber).
Where to Plant
In full sun in a soil that has even moisture supply. Remember that cucumbers are mostly water and will suffer in droughts or rot in too much water.
How to Plant
Plant seed approximately 1.25 cm deep in the garden. In the garden, cucumber seed is normally planted in hills (hoe the garden soil into a “hill” or mound approximately 7-9 cm above normal ground level and .6M across.
Six to eight seeds are planted in a hill. Build hills 1.25-1.8M apart. Thin to 4 plants when plants grow 4 true leaves.
If you are planting in a row, put two seeds in each hole and place the holes .6M apart. The rows should be 1.5-1.8M apart.
Care & Maintenance
Consider thinning “hills” to only four plants by snipping off excess seedlings when they are approximately two inches tall. In row culture, snip off one of the two seedlings in the row when it is 5 cm (2-inches) tall. Normally, you allow the seedlings with the most vigorous growth to survive.
Water regularly but do try to keep the vines dry. Drip irrigation is perfect for cucumbers.
Earlier plantings may be covered with Remay frost cloth or given some other form of protection.
If you are gardening in a small space, you can train the cucumbers to climb up netting or snow fencing supported on posts. Train the central leader (the fastest growing and original shoot) straight up the fence until it gets to the top. Then prune it off level the top of the fence. This four foot tall vine will then develop multiple side shoots which will bear profuse amounts of fruit.
Pick cucumbers regularly to keep the vine producing. If you stop picking, it will stop producing.
One of My Favorite Cucumber Soup Recipes
2 lbs cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut in 3″ pieces
1/4 medium onion
1 garlic clove
1 jalapeño, halved and seeded
8 large mint leaves
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 t. maple syrup
1 t. sea salt
3/4 cup plain yogurt
Put all ingredients in Cuisinart/food processor, pulse a few times so the ingredients are coarsely chopped, then process until soup is very smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. If you want it thinner, add water, a little at a time to desired consistency.
Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Leftovers kept quite well in the refrigerato for about 4 days.
If you want to garnish, try small yellow tomato cubes, chopped or tiny mint leaves or lemon oil
(courtesy of Mayo)
Feel free to add your own recipes in the comments section.
(all numbers rounded out)
1/4 inch = .6 cm
1/2 inch = 1.3 cm
1 inch = 2.5 cm
6 inch = 15 cm
12 inch = 30 cm
18 inch = 45 cm
36 inch = 91 cm