Cucumbers are easy to grow, full of nutrients and come in a variety of colors, shapes and textures. Cucumbers are very productive – 10 seeds can produce a bushel or more for salads and pickling.
There are two types of cucumbers, bush and vining. If you are planting the vining variety, you will need to plant close to a fence or create a trellis or tepee so the cucumbers can climb as they grow. Bush varieties need less space and do not need trellising.
Slicing cucumbers are generally larger and have thicker skins while pickling cukes tend to be smaller and have thinner skins. Both are delicious fresh, so grow what you like to eat the best.
Planting Bush Cucumbers:
- Start with fertile soil in full sun.
- Dig in compost and composted manure if needed.
- Mound soil to form a hill and plant 6-9 bush cucumber seeds 1” deep in each mound, at least 3’ apart.
- Thin to 3 plants per hill 2 weeks after sprouting.
- Scratch slow-release vegetable fertilizer, preferably organic, into hills and water after thinning.
Planting Climbing Cucumbers:
- You will need a fence, trellis or a 48” high tomato cage for support.
- Use a trowel to open a trench 1” deep along both sides of the support.
- Space seeds 12” apart and cover with soil.
- Sprinkle slow-release vegetable fertilizer over the seeded areas and water well.
- Mulch with shredded leaves, straw or pine bark to keep soil moist and cool during summer heat.
Cucumbers require 1 to 1-1/2” of water weekly. Provide plants with plenty of moisture, especially around the time the plant is flowering and fruiting.
If you’re growing cucumbers in a hot climate and consistently see temperatures in the mid 90s, provide plants with filtered afternoon shade to help cool things down. You can either strategically plant taller crops beside your cucumber plants, or add a shade cloth that will block 40 percent to 50 percent of the sunlight.