Be Cool as a Cucumber (and never get in a pickle)!

how to grow cucumbershow to grow cucumbers

Cucumber Growing Guide

Crisp, delicious cucumbers are one of the easiest and most rewarding garden vegetables, requiring little work but giving you so much in return. From the short, plump picking varieties to the longer slicing types, they're all incredibly easy to grow. They're also very heavy yielders, so there's always plenty to share!

Cucumbers will not tolerate any frost so you should start seeds indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost date. Seeds and seedlings should be exposed to bottom heat and kept in the sunniest window possible to prevent the plants from getting leggy. Seeds can also be direct sown once the soil temperature has warmed to 70 degrees.

Seeds should be planted ½ inch deep. Cucumbers do best when planted in hills, four plants to a hill, with hills 4-6 feet apart. If direct seeding, plant 8 seeds per hill and thin to 4 plants 12 inches apart. Cucumbers can also be grown along fences or in containers with trellises.

Cucumbers require lots of water, but are very susceptible to root rot when young. It is best to water in the morning. Cucumbers do best in rich soil that is then fertilized when the plants are still young and upright. Once vines have reached 4 feet, the size of the vine can be controlled and fruiting encouraged by pinching off the fuzzy growing tip. It will not hurt the plant and it will increase the number of fruits produced.

Most cucumber varieties produce heavy and continuous yields, so you can experiment with your cucumber harvesting times based on how you want to enjoy them. As a general rule, pick your cukes when they're about 5 inches long when the texture is still firm and the seeds are small. This helps ensure the best flavor and optimal crispness. Harvest them even earlier for "baby" pickles, and pick every 2-4 days to encourage more cucumbers to form.

Did you know? Cucumbers actually have the ability to cool the blood. That's why they're so commonly used to reduce facial puffiness around the eyes and cheeks and can help reduce swelling. That's also why we have the phrase, "Cool as a cucumber!"