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When we realized we could make our very own pickles we immediately decided we needed to start growing cucumbers.
Is growing cucumbers easy?
Aside from the initial effort of tilling and planting your crops, cucumbers are a really low effort plant. The most effort we had to put out for cucumbers is to remember to turn our sprinkler on and carrying in the heavy harvest basket from the HUGE loads of cucumbers we got almost every day.
In fact, I would say cucumbers are so easy, they should get an honorable mention on our list of easy & productive crops. The only reason they are not on there is we had not grown them at the time of writing.
Since they are so productive, you’ll need to preserve them via canning like pickles. Or, you can freeze your cucumbers.
Like with any crop, we did have to deal a bit with various cucumber pests. However, we do not use any pesticides and they were never a big enough issue that our harvest noticeably suffered. We went with a live and let live pest strategy.
How to grow cucumbers
Like any crop, cucumbers come from seeds. You need to figure out what kind of cucumbers you want. We went with Sumters because they are good for pickling and snacking. But there are many varieties; some that may fall into the unusual vegetables category.
Once you know what kind of cucumbers you want, check out your local farm store and pick up some seeds. You can also find some reputable distributors online. We like organic and non-GMO crops so we usually get our organic seeds online.
How to plant cucumbers
Your seed packet will likely have instructions on the back. But if not, this guide should be able to give you all of the information you need.
You can also directly sow these seeds into your garden. You just want to make sure that your soil temperature is between 70 and 95 degrees.
How far apart to plant cucumbers
We like to use the square foot gardening method. All that means is we plant in grid based boxes instead of your more traditional rows. We find that it saves us a lot of space and allows us to grow a larger garden with less effort.
When you are ready to either plant or transplant your cucumbers, you will want to decide on whether you will be using a trellis or not. If you do not want a trellis, your cucumber plant spacing is around every 36 inches. Push the seeds gently into the ground about ½ inch.
Growing cucumbers on a trellis
If you plan to train them to a trellis, which we HIGHLY recommend, you can plant every 18 inches. You will notice once your cucumber plants get going, they will start to put out thin little vines. These allow them to “climb” up a trellis.
When you start noticing them, you can pick the plant up from the ground and literally wrap those vines around your trellis. It also helps to weave your cucumber plant upright through the trellis.
The more you do this, the more your cucumber plant will be trained to grow up and not out. This, again, will allow you to plant much more in a much smaller space.
How long does it take for cucumbers to grow?
Cucumbers grow really quickly. After planting you will see germination as quickly as 3 days but can take as long as 10 days. They will reach maturity around 56 days. Cucumbers are actually one of the fastest growing vegetables we grow.
When to harvest cucumbers
You can pick your cucumbers when they are still small to medium sized. The way we would usually tell is they would usually have lost the blossom on the end and they would no longer be prickly.
The cucumber as it grows will be covered in small stiff hairs, like a tiny green porcupine you can eat (maybe that’s a bad example). They will almost feel like small cacti (better example). Once they are ripe, the needles will mostly just brush off.
You will want to cut the cucumber off at the stem to allow more cucumbers to grow in it’s place.
And, finally, in case you wanted to ask if cucumber is a fruit. Yes, they are a fruit and not a vegetable. They have seeds on the inside and therefore are a fruit. Take this one to your next trivia night.