When it comes to growing a huge crop of cucumbers, there are four simple secrets that can make all the difference between smashing success – or a disappointing harvest!
Cucumbers are one of the most prized back yard garden crops for gardeners around the world. From fresh eating to making homemade pickles and more, the delicious vegetable has a plethora of uses. One thing is for sure, with its many uses, it’s easy to see why gardeners are always looking to get the biggest harvest possible from their plants.
But getting consistently good production can often be difficult. As much as gardeners love their fresh cucumbers, unfortunately, the crop has a bad rap for being one of the most frustrating vegetable plants to grow. Especially when it comes to keeping them healthy and productive all season long.
The good news is that growing cucumbers successfully doesn’t require mad gardening skills. Nor does it mean you have to follow a long list of expensive and/or time consuming chores in order to produce a big harvest.
In fact, by simply following four tried and true cucumber growing secrets below, you can all but ensure you will grow your most amazing crop of cucumbers ever!
How To Grow A Huge Crop Of Cucumbers – The Secrets To Success!
#1 Locate Your Cucumber Plants For Success
Where you grow your plants plays a huge factor in their health, vitality, and production. There are several factors that go into selecting the best location for your cucumbers, the first of which is making sure they will get enough sunlight all season long.
Cucumber plants need sunlight. Not only do they need it, they also need to have it on their foliage as early in the morning as possible. Why? Because cucumbers are one of the most susceptible plants of all when it comes to mildew. (See: How To Prevent Powdery Mildew)
Mildew can devastate an entire crop in short fashion. And one of the easiest and quickest ways cucumber plants can get mildew is when they are allowed to sit in moisture for extended periods of time.
Unfortunately, nothing creates more moisture on plants than early morning dew. Especially in warm and humid environments or early in the growing season when temperatures cool off at night. When this occurs, plants can stay moist for hours on end leading to mildew and mold issues.
The Importance of Morning Sun
By placing plants where the first rays of the morning sun can dry leaves quickly, the risk of mildew and disease is greatly diminished. Even better, early sunlight allows plants to get a jump start on absorbing energy.
Photosynthesis is a critical process plants use to grow and produce their blooms and fruit. And because light drives the entire process, the earlier plants get started creating energy, the better for the plant.
Beyond morning sunlight, always be sure to plant your cucumber crop where they will get at least six to eight hours of full sunlight each and every day. Not only will they be healthier, they will also grow bigger, better and produce more cucumbers too!
#2 Supercharge Your Soil – How To Grow A Huge Crop Of Cucumbers!
In addition to good sunlight, cucumbers need power from the soil. 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 giving them great soil to grow in begins at planting time.
Listen Below To Our Podcast On Growing Great Cucumbers!
There is no better way to build nutrients into your planting hole and area than by adding compost. 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 plants need to develop strong roots and tasty 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? It’s probably more than you might think! For maximum results, fill the area around each planting hole with a compost/soil ratio of about at least one-third compost to two-thirds soil. A 50/50 ratio is even better if your soil is more clay-like or nutrient poor.
Work the compost in thoroughly around the planting and growing area. This will allow the roots to spread easily. When growing your cucumbers in containers, start with a high quality potting mix and add 1 part compost to every 3 parts potting mix as you fill your container.
#3 Don’t Forget The Mulch – How To Grow A Huge Crop Of Cucumbers
Mulching the soil underneath your cucumber plants is vital to success! A thick layer of mulch under your cucumber plants helps to regulate soil temperature, slow evaporation of moisture from the plants and soil, all while helping to keep competing weeds from taking hold and stealing nutrients.
All of these are extremely critical for creating strong 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 helps to protect their tender outer skin from damage and scarring.
Lay a thick, four to six inch layer of straw or shredded leaves under your plants. This is more than enough to snuff out competing weeds, all while giving your plants incredible protection from the sun, dehydration and more.
#4 Fertilizing & Watering – 4 Simple Secrets To Growing Cucumbers
Finally, making sure your plants receive regular water and fertilizer is a must! Although mixing compost into the soil prior to planting helps supply cucumber plants with nutrients, giving plants a few additional doses of fertilizer as they develop is critical for developing abundantly productive plants.
Fertilize cucumber plants with a good all-purpose liquid organic fertilizer every 14 days as they mature. Cucumber plants respond amazingly well to liquid fertilizer. Not only do nutrients absorb through the soil, but also through the plant’s foliage as well. Affiliate Link : Miracle Grow Liquid Soluble Organic Fertilizer
As for watering, although most vegetable plants thrive on one inch of water per week, cucumbers require more due to the fact that the plant and fruit are largely made up of water. How much more? About twice the amount (two inches per week) for maximum health and production.
It is important to supply that water when rainfall is not providing it. For mature plants, one-half gallon of water applied near the plant’s roots two to three times per week will suffice. Cucumbers growing in pots or containers will require even more frequent watering.
Equally important is to not provide too much water to your plants. When cucumber plants and their roots become saturated, mildew and or yellowing of the leaves can occur. If your cucumber leaves begin to turn yellow, over-watering is usually the culprit.
A Few Final Tips & Tricks – 4 Simple Secrets To Growing Cucumbers
When selecting your plants, remember that there are two types of varieties when it comes to cukes – slicing cucumbers and pickling cucumbers. If you are looking for fresh eating, select a quality slicing cucumber. But if you are wanting to make pickles, you need to select and grow a quality pickling variety.
Cucumbers can be planted from transplants or directly sown from seeds. We prefer planting directly from seed into the soil. This allows the roots to grow uninterrupted, and is far easier to plant. However you plant, get your cucumber seeds early to have them in plenty of time for garden season! Affiliate Seed Link: Heirloom Cucumber Seeds
In addition, no matter what variety you grow, always be sure to keep your plants picked on a regular basis. This encourages the plant to continue bloom production. When plants become too heavily overloaded with fruit, it sends a signal to the plant to stop producing new blooms. And without blooms, there can’t be any more cucumbers to harvest!
Here is to growing your best crop of cucumbers ever this year!
This Is My Garden is a garden website created by gardeners, for gardeners. We publish two articles every week, 52 weeks a year. Sign up today to follow via email, or follow along on Facebook here : This Is My Garden. This article may contain affiliate links.