When it comes to growing cucumbers successfully in a traditional garden or in pots and containers, a few simple tips and hints can carry your plants to a bountiful harvest.
Cucumbers are one of the most beloved crops of all for the home gardener. Not only do they lend amazingly fresh flavor to salads, sandwiches and more, they can also be turned into delicious pickles. Which, of course, is just one more great reason to get the most production you can from the cucumber plants!
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Here is a look at 5 simple but effective tips that will have you growing your best crop of cucumbers ever this year:
The 5 Simple Secrets To Growing Cucumbers
#1) Amend The Soil – The 5 Simple Secrets To Growing Cucumbers
Cucumbers thrive in loose, fertile, well-draining soil. Plain and simple, the better the soil, the healthier and more productive your plants will be. And the best way to build nutrients into your planting area is by adding a big dose of compost into your soil prior to planting.
Whether planting in containers or a traditional garden space, compost provides cucumber plants with everything they require. It is full of the balanced nutrients and minerals they need to develop strong roots and big fruits.
Not only that, it also promotes better drainage by creating air pockets and channels, all while improving the overall structure of the soil. So how much compost? More than you might think!
A soil mix of 25% compost and 75% potting or garden soil is the perfect blend to encourage strong, steady growth. Work the compost in thoroughly around the planting and growth area to allow for the roots to spread easily. For pots and containers, the mix is fairly easy to judge. For planting into gardens, work the compost in to the area where the roots will develop.
#2) Plant In The Right Location – The 5 Simple Secrets To Growing Cucumbers
Where you plant your cucumber plants can make all the difference in their health, vitality, and production. First and foremost, cucumber plants need sunlight. And not only that, they need that sunlight in the early morning.
Cucumbers are one of the most susceptible plants of all when it comes to mildew. In fact, it can devastate an entire crop in short fashion if allowed to take hold. But the best way to avoid mildew is by allowing your plants a healthy dose of early morning sun.
If allowed to sit in moisture for long periods, the foliage cucumber plants can easily develop mildew. And nothing can create more moisture than early morning dew, especially in warm and humid environments,.
But by placing plants where the first rays of the sun can dry the leaves quickly, the risk of mildew and disease is greatly diminished. Not to mention, the plants get a daily jump start on absorbing energy, which happens to be a critical part of the photosynthesis process needed for strong growth.
For best results, select locations that receive at least 6 to 8 hours of full sun each day. Keep in mind, of course, the earlier that sunlight hits them the better!
#3) Mulch Your Plants – 5 Simple Secrets To Growing Great Cucumbers
Although all vegetable plants can benefit from a layer of mulch, cucumbers absolutely thrive with it! Mulch helps to regulate soil temperature, slow evaporation of moisture from the plants and soil, and help keep competing weeds from taking hold.
All of which are extremely critical for creating strong, cucumber growth and production. But beyond that, mulch also helps to protect young blossoms and developing fruit from direct contact with the soil. When laying directly in the dirt, blossoms are much more susceptible to early failure and rot. In addition, as the cucumbers develop, the mulch can protect their tender outer skin from damage and scarring.
A 3 to 5″ layer of straw or shredded leaves underneath the stems and foliage of plants will make a huge difference in both the quantity and quality of your harvest.
#4 Fertilizing Cucumbers – The 5 Simple Secrets To Growing Cucumbers
Although mixing compost into the soil prior to planting helps supply cucumber plants with nutrients, giving plants a few additional doses of organic fertilizer as they develop is critical to developing abundantly productive plants.
For best results, fertilize plants with an organic fertilizer at around 4 weeks of age. Then, supply the plants with one more dose again near the 6 week mark. That extra power is needed most just as the plants begin to take hold and begin to flower and produce.
Cucumber plants respond amazingly well to liquid fertilizer as it is absorbed through the soil and the foliage. A few doses of compost tea, worm casting tea, or an all purpose organic liquid fertilizer will make a huge difference in their overall production.
Once fruits begin to set and harvesting begins, fertilizing should stop to allow the plants to focus on production. In addition, be sure to keep plants harvested on a regular basis to encourage them to continue bloom production. Plants too heavily overloaded with fruit will stop producing new blooms.
#5) Selecting The Right Variety – The 5 Simple Secrets To Growing Cucumbers
Last but not least, make sure you are selecting the right variety for your needs!
One thing is for sure, not all cucumber varieties are the same. And selecting the wrong cucumber at planting time can certainly lead to big disappointment come harvest time.
So what are the “right” varieties? That all depends on what you want from the cucumbers you grow There are two main types of cucumbers, slicing and pickling.
If you are looking for cucumbers simply for fresh eating, you need to select a quality slicing cucumber. like the Straight 8 variety. On the other hand, if you want to make pickles, you need to select and grow a quality pickling variety like a Boston Pickling cucumber.
Here is to growing an amazing crop of cucumbers this year, and enjoying the fruits of your labor!
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