A cucumber is a substantial, climbing plant of the gourd family. It’s thin, long, and pale green inside, and dark green skin outside. Cucumber is very refreshing and nutritious. It should be eaten unpeeled for you to get all the nutrients and benefits it provides. There are tips to consider in growing cucumbers that can help you achieve a great crop.
To grow cucumbers, plant the seed 1/2-1 inch deep, and about 1 to 2 feet apart in a row. Cucumbers do great in loose, sandy loam soil and prefer soil with a pH level between 5.5 and 7. However, there are a few things to consider when growing cucumbers in your backyard. First, you should know the type of soil you have, the best time to plant, how to properly take care of your cucumbers, and how to deal with pests.
In this article, we will discuss how to grow cucumbers in a backyard and will give you tips to successfully grow some in your garden. This guide will help you make a bountiful harvest of cucumbers.
Here are more guides on growing Vegetables:
The 3 Main Varieties of Cucumber
Cucumber consists of 95% of water, which promotes hydration. They contain high amounts of water and fibers, which aid in preventing constipation and improve your bowel’s condition, thus making your gut happy and promoting a healthy weight. Adding cucumbers to your diet and lifestyle may offer you a wide range of benefits as this plant contains micronutrients and antioxidants. Overall, growing cucumbers in your backyard is the best choice due to the many advantages you can get from them.
There are many types of cucumbers, which can be categorized into three varieties: slicing cucumber, pickling cucumber, and burpless.
- Slicing cucumber
Slicing cucumbers, or slicers, are often mixed in salads and eaten raw and fresh. They are characterized by smoother and much tougher skin and are longer, which gives them a long shelf life and a more uniform color. They can be 12 inches or longer.
- Pickling cucumber
Pickling cucumbers, or picklers, are intended for pickling. Compared to slicing cucumbers, picklers are bigger, shorter, thicker, and have rougher skin with black or white-dotted spines. They grow to about 2.75 to 4 inches long and 1 inch wide. Pickling with sugar, vinegar, spices, and brine make many flavored products from cucumbers.
- Burpless cucumbers
Burpless cucumbers have thinner skin than other varieties of cucumber. They are easily digested and have a sweeter and satisfying taste. They are almost seedless. They grow about 24 inches and produce less gas than other cucumbers after eating them.
How to Plant and Grow Cucumbers in a Backyard
The main secret when growing cucumbers is to plant them in ideal soil. Cucumbers are demanding about soil composition. The soil for cucumbers must be rich but not so substantial. Cucumbers do great in loose, sandy loam soil. In addition, the soil must be airy and light to have good drainage. Cucumbers love a soil pH between 5.5 and 7.
The higher the pH, the less vulnerable the plants to fungal diseases. The best procedure consists of adding a liberal amount of compost. A month before planting, cultivate and revise the soil with manure and compost. Compost helps retain the moisture in the soil. It is the ideal additive to grow healthy cucumber plants. Organic fertilizers help ensure that there are enough nutrients for the cucumber to absorb.
- Planting Time
Growing cucumbers is easy if you are aware of their needs. As with the construction of a building, a good foundation is required to successfully plant cucumbers. The better the soil, the better your cucumbers will grow. This plant needs a lot of sunlight to produce an abundant crop. Plant your cucumber in an area that receives 8 hours of sunlight every day. If possible, place your cucumber where there is morning sunlight.
Morning sunlight helps dry out the leaves and vines from morning dew that creates blight and mildew. Cucumber draws its origin from the tropics and prospers in damp, cozy environments. It requires extra-warm soil to germinate. Depending on your weather conditions, cucumbers grow finest from late spring to late fall.
These plants are very rewarding and easy to grow. Depending on the variety you picked (see the seed packet’s label for details), plant the seed 1 inch deep and about 2 to 3 feet apart in a row. To plant trellis, place those 1 foot apart. Cucumbers can be planted in hills; plant 2 to 3 seeds with a space of 1 to 2 feet apart. You can warm the soil by covering it with a black plastic bag if you live somewhere with a cool climate.
Once you’ve found a good location and know that it’s the right time to plant your cucumbers, you must know how to take care of them for them to successfully grow. Cucumbers will swiftly grow and surprisingly don’t demand much care. Basically, all they need to be happy is consistent water.
Make sure to keep the soil constantly moist so your cucumbers receive an inch of water every week or more if the temperature is high. Not enough or inconsistent water may produce a deformed or tasteless fruit. Also, keep your cucumbers away from weeds, which leave your plant malnourished as they compete for sunlight, nutrients, and water.
Pests have a direct effect on agricultural products. Plant pests interfere with the growth and damage growing plants. They eat plants’ leaves and suck out their juices. This damage may fail the plants. There are two ways to prevent pests in our cucumber plant: the natural approach and using pesticides.
Checking your plant every day is essential for pest prevention and control. Manually removing insects and visible eggs and putting them straight into soapy water or salted water is a big help. The best time to hunt pests is early in the morning, when insects move slowly in cold temperatures. The use of baited traps is also a useful trick to prevent pests. But, even natural pest control must be carefully used. Only use what you need.
The best and most accurate method to manage pests in your cucumbers is the use of pesticides. But as we know, there are many harmful side effects to using pesticides. Exposure to these effects can range from skin irritation to birth defects. Besides, the use of pesticides might kill the bees and butterflies that pollinate the flowers naturally.
When Is the Best Time to Harvest Cucumbers?
A variety of cucumber is ready to be harvested regarding the color and size. It requires a long cropping season and is usually ready for picking in 50 to 70 days upon planting. The fruits mature at various times in the vine. You must harvest them when they are ready to avoid a bitter flavor if left on the vine for too long.
The best time to pick cucumbers mainly depends on the variety you are planting. Generally, you should check the seed packet’s label to know the number of days needed until the harvest and the estimated size of a cucumber upon picking it.
What to Do When a Cucumber Plant Doesn’t Bloom?
Now that you have done the basic preparation and proper caring for growing your cucumber, you might still come up with the problem that your cucumber plant didn’t bloom. When you take good care of your plant, it must grow flowers as usual. One factor for this dilemma is the pollination problem. Using pesticides and bad weather conditions can also affect pollination. Indeed, rainy weather affects bees’ activity, which ends up in poor pollination.
The flowers may not be pollinated accordingly. They need to be pollinated to bear fruits. Cucumbers are monoecious plants — they produce male and female flowers in separate structures on the same plant. Although both flowers look the same, the female ones have immature and small fruits at their base.
The first flowers to pop up on cucumbers are mostly male ones. Pollination occurs when bees, butterflies, and other insects transfer pollen from male to female flowers. The female flowers develop into a fruit once fertilized and properly pollinated. The cucumber generates good fruits within a few weeks as the amount of female flowers escalates.
You can also do hand-pollination to ensure fruit production. To hand-pollinate a cucumber, use a cotton swab and dip it at the center of a male flower to get the pollen and transfer it to a female one. You will have a higher success rate if you make sure that all the female flowers are pollinated.
7 Tips to Successfully Grow Cucumbers
Cucumbers are a great vegetable to plant for beginners. Aside from them being easy to grow, they are packed with beneficial nutrients that are good for humans. Cucumbers mostly contain water and consist of electrolytes. They prevent dehydration and bring about skin benefits. Plus, they are rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory functions, which helps prevent and cure some illnesses.
In perfect time and weather and when providing them good soil, sunlight, and enough water, they will bloom. Here are 7 tips to successfully grow cucumbers.
- Pick a sunny spot
Cucumbers are native to the subtropics, and so, love humid weather and receiving a lot of sunlight. When planting cucumbers, choose a place in direct sunlight and fertile and well-drained soil.
- Choose your varieties of cucumber properly
There are three main varieties of cucumber: slicing, pickling, and burpless. Choosing disease-resistant varieties brings you a step closer to triumph. Also, select what best suits your taste and location.
- Use fertilizers
Cucumbers need fertile soil. Improve your soil by adding organic compost, like aged animal manure, to supply them with a lot of nutrients and give them a good start. If you intend to use inorganic fertilizer, choose slow-release granular fertilizer. It’s the best food for your cucumber plant throughout the growth cycle.
Cucumbers must grow in full sunlight. Since their roots reach 36 to 48 inches deep, do not plant them where tree roots will rob them of water and nutrients.
- Water constantly
Considering cucumbers are composed of 95% of water, they need an adequate amount of water. You must keep the soil moist and give them at least one to two inches of water per week. Cucumbers’ roots are up to 36 to 48 inches deep, so not planting them near tree roots will take off nutrients and water. If they don’t get sufficient water, they will probably produce bitter-tasting fruits. Water them more if there is no rain and if the weather is humid since cucumbers are vulnerable to fungal diseases whenever their leaves get moist regularly. Do water the base of the plant directly.
- Make a trellis
A cucumber is a vine crop. Planting one vertically on a trellis aids boost airflow and control the spread of foliar diseases. Plus, planting on a trellis prevents wetting the foliage and increases exposure to sunlight, thus increasing fruit production. It is space-saving and promotes healthy crops.
- Harvest frequently
The more you harvest your cucumber plants, the more fruits they produce. Thus, harvest your cucumbers consistently to encourage fruiting and flowering. Unharvested fruits left in the vine for too long will become bitter and be filled with seeds. Check your plants every day as they start to fruit because they grow big quickly.
- Consider your local weather
As we already know, cucumbers need a lot of sunlight to prosper. Thus, you must know when summer strikes in your location because it’s the best time to plant cucumbers. These plants thrive at approximately 75 to 85°F. Cucumbers cannot tolerate frost at the highest temperatures.
Growing cucumbers are perfect for beginners for they are one of the easiest vegetables to grow. Indeed, cucumbers are a great crop to start in your backyard, whether you want to use slicing or pickling varieties.
Many people want to plant cucumbers because they love to eat and enjoy the fruit of their labor. Once you taste your homegrown cucumber, you will no longer be satisfied with those you buy at the supermarket.