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Introduction on how to grow cucumbers at home.
You can grow all kinds of cucumbers. Pickled cucumbers are smaller, fast-growing cucumbers that grow with bunches on a plant. it’s also possible to grow bigger cucumbers you can eat raw in salads and taste like godly food.
If you read this article on how to grow cucumbers at home, you’ll have all the info you need to start and even prevent some potential problems.
What is a cucumber?
this is what we find in the dictionary. A cucumber is a long, green-skinned fruit with watery flesh, usually eaten raw in salads or pickled.
A cucumber plant is the climbing plant of the gourd family which yields cucumbers, native to the Chinese Himalayan region. It is widely cultivated but very rare in the wild.
The cucumber or Cucumis sativus is widely cultivated and belongs to the gourd family called Cucurbitaceae.
There are 3 different kinds of cucumber. You can grow the slicing cucumber, the pickling cucumber or the seedless cucumber.
The cucumber plant can be a creeping vine that will root everywhere it touches the ground. It can also be a plant that grows up trellises, this is the method I prefer. It takes far less space then creeping over the soil.
Cucumber plants have spiraling tendrils. With these tendrils, they can hang on and crawl up trellises.
Did you know there’s also a bushing cucumber type? This is the compact, bushy version of the cucumber plant. It does grow fewer fruits than the vining types.
Where to grow cucumber plants?
You can grow your cucumber plants in the ground. It’s possible to grow them in pots or even grow bags. As long as you treat the plant well, it will gladly reward you with a lot of fresh, tasty fruits.
Cucumber plants love a fertile, well-draining, moist soil with a PH-value between 6 and 7.
When to grow cucumbers?
If you want to know how to grow cucumbers at home, you have to know when to sow the seeds.
You can start quite early with seeds if you have the option to start indoors. I personally start my seeds end March or begin April. I have to keep them indoors until half of May because cucumbers don’t like frost.
If you have to start your plants outdoors, you have to wait until the last chance of frost has passed. Temperatures below 0°C or 32°F will kill the plants.
When starting your seeds in an unheated greenhouse, it’s possible to start a couple of weeks earlier than the last frost but there’s still risk in starting this early.
taking care of cucumbers
Cucumbers are quite sensitive plants when it comes to fungal diseases. That’s the reason why I like to grow my cucumbers on trellises. Make sure there’s a good airflow between the plants.
When growing cucumbers in the greenhouse, the same applies as growing them outside. Make sure there’s airflow and the greenhouse is vented from time to time to avoid diseases.
Sowing cucumbers is really easy. Just put two seeds per seedling pot to make sure at least one sprouts. If both of them sprout, keep the strongest one and cut off the other one. The seeds must stay moist at all times. Don’t let the soil dry out when the plants sprout because this can stunt the plants.
There is one thing you have to think about when planting cucumbers in the greenhouse. It’s possible that there is no pollination inside the greenhouse. You’ll have to pollinate the cucumbers manually if so.
You can manually pollinate the female flowers with a paint brush.
I’ll try to explain how it works. You first have to search a male flower. Male flowers are flowers with no fruit attached. A male flower only has a stem, a female flower has a stem, a small fruit and then the flower itself.
When pollinating, you first have to rub the paint brush in the male flower to get some pollen on your brush. After that, you brush on the stigma of the female flower to deposit the pollen. So the male flower has the anthers and the female flower has the stigma.
As soon as I can make pictures of it, I will, I promise.
Transplanting or planting
As I already mentioned, I use trellises to grow my cucumbers. The distance for the plants is one foot or about 30 centimeters in the row.
If you plan on growing the plants on the soil, you need at least 50 inches and more, that’s about 125 centimeters. The plant needs the space to crawl around. One thing about growing on the soil is the danger of disease. Because most of the diseases live in the soil, every connection with the soil can start disease.
Of course, you need 1 square foot for one plant, when using the square foot gardening method.
I harvest my cucumbers with scissors or a really sharp knife to avoid ripping off the fruits. By making a precise cut, the wound has more chance to heal safely.
You can start harvesting cucumbers as soon as they have the size you want. Don’t let the cucumbers become too big as this will make the cucumbers bitter. Too big cucumbers are also unhealthy and slightly poisonous.
diseases and pests
Powdery mildew can be caused by a whole bunch of different fungus species but the symptoms are the same. Infected plants display white powdery spots on the leaves and stems.
To flourish, powdery mildew needs dry, windy, and warm weather. The spores are spread by the wind and can infect quite a lot of different plants.
Bacterial wilt is spread by the cucumber beetle. The plant will start to wilt and it’s the end of the plant. There’s no product to fight the disease.
I don’t have any photos about the disease but I found a good youtube video that really explains the problem.
When you start to see signs of angular yellow spots on the leaves of your cucumber plant it’s almost certainly due to the downy mildew disease.
You have to pull the diseased plant to stop the infection from spreading.
Downy mildew or Peronospora parasitica is a quite common disease. Bordeaux mixture can prevent the disease from growing but once the fungus is developing, only the removal of the infested plants will help contain the disease. Also, be careful when using Bordeaux mix because this is borderline organic.
Cucumber mosaic virus
This disease is another dangerous disease that can spread over all your plants. As soon as you have a diseased plant, pull it out and burn it.
There is a good scientific document about the mosaic virus. You can find the document here.
No matter what disease you come in contact with, crop rotation is one of the best ways to prevent it.
You must disinfect your tools as soon as you have come in contact with a disease.
I know there are still a lot of bugs and diseases that can threaten the cucumber plants. As soon as I have the right pictures and information, I will amend the article.
So this is it for this article on how to grow cucumbers at home, I hope you’ve found it interesting. If so, please share on social media, with friends, and other gardeners.
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Thanks for reading and see you in the next post.