Always thought about growing cucumbers? Then this is the year to make it happen!
Cucumbers are one of the most versatile crops a home gardener can grow. They are perfect for slicing, dicing and eating fresh.
But perhaps, they are even more well-known for their ability to be turned into all kinds of delicious homemade pickles. See : Making Homemade Icebox Pickles
And with a few tips under your belt, growing cucumbers might just be easier than you think!
Secrets To Growing Cucumbers
#1 Start By Selecting The Right Cucumber.
Knowing what type of cucumber you want before you plant is the first key to success.
There are two major types of cucumbers, pickling and slicing. There are also two main style of cucumber plants, bush and vining.
Bush varieties are compact plants that are easily contained in smaller spaces. Vining styles on the other hand will meander and grow at will. They lend themselves well to trellising, or even small fences or cages.
Now back to the types. If fresh eating is your goal, slicing cucumbers are an excellent choice. They grow long and true, and are perfect for salads and more.
But if pickles are the name of the game, then a pickling cucumber should be your choice. Pickling cucumbers tend to be smaller, more compact cukes, and are perfect for making those wondrous fermented treats.
#2 Find The Right Location
Cucumbers need to be located in an area that receives generous amounts of sunlight. Morning sun is best, as it helps to dry dew quickly from the large leaves.
Cucumbers can easily fall victim to mildew, and keeping plants from staying too wet for long periods is important to keeping these issues at bay.
#3 Good Soil
Cucumbers thrive on rich, fertile and well-drained soil. Add in generous amounts of compost when planting.
Adding a bit of organic fertilizer will help to ensure that plenty of nutrients are on hand for the roots to absorb. The better the soil, the better the crop!
#4 The Importance Of Mulch
When it comes to growing cucumbers, mulching around plants is a big key. The mulch helps keep competing weeds at bay, and controls fluctuations in the soil temperature.
Mulch also helps to keep soil borne disease at bay. The protective layer of mulch keeps soil from splashing up on the leaves when watering, or during rainfall.
#4 Plant Right
You can plant cucumbers in rows, mounds, or even containers. The key is no matter how you plant, leave plenty of space.
Cucumbers love to spread their foliage, and can take up 2 to 3 feet of garden space easily. You can plant cucumbers as soon as the threat of frost is over, either directly by seed, or via transplants.
In a garden space, small mounds are ideal for planting. as it keeps plants off the ground and away from too much low-lying moisture. Create mounds with an equal mixture of soil and compost.
An ideal planting mound should be about 18 inches in diameter, and 4 to 6 inches high. Mounds should be planted with 3 plants per mound, allowing 3 feet between mounds for additional plants.
If planting in containers, use a high quality planting mix with plenty of drainage. Plants can be allowed to trail down and over, or use wire or rope trellises to train up.
For container plants, regular fertilizing every few weeks is a must to keep the soil charged with nutrients. Compost tea or worm casting tea are both excellent choices.
# 6 Keep Up With The Harvest!
Cucumber plants need to be harvested on a regular basis to keep plants producing at peak levels.
Plants overloaded with cukes will begin to slow down, and even stop production of new blooms. They instead convert energy to only the maturing cucumbers on the overloaded vines.
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