Direct sow bush cucumber seeds now for a bonus second season harvest. These cucumber plants bear fruit earlier than vining types, and they are easy to care for and harvest into the fall season. Perfect for containers.
Pickling cucumbers are shorter, blockier--'designed' for the pickle jar as well as the sandwich. Pickling cucumber plants yield heavy crops of fruit just over a few weeks. Harvest them at any stage to make pickles of any style.
Asian cucumbers are very long, sweet cucumbers with thin skin. Their flavor is extremely mild, and they are also burpless--very easy to digest. A trellis is essential for Asian cucumber plants to grow long and straight.
The preferred method of planting cucumber seeds is direct seeding in the vegetable garden after the soil has warmed as the cucumber seeds will not germinate in soil colder than 60 degrees. Just push two or three cucumber seeds an inch into the soil, spacing the plantings 18 to 36 inches apart. If using a "hilling" method, sow 4-6 seeds about 3" apart in hills 36" apart. Cover lightly with 1" of fine soil, firming lightly and keeping evenly moist. Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days.
How to Grow Cucumbers
A continuous water supply is necessary for growing the best quality cucumber plants. A drip irrigation system is ideal in the cucumber patch. If this is not possible, water cucumber plants deeply once a week, applying at least one inch of water. Frequent but shallow watering will reduce overall yields. Use black or brown plastic mulch on your cucumber bed to keep soil moist and warm. This will speed up growth and increase yields by conserving soil moisture and maintaining a high soil temperature. The mulch will also keep weeds at bay away from your home garden.
Like most vegetables, cucumbers are tender and tastiest when harvested young before their seeds are fully developed. Slicing cucumber varieties are generally ready for harvest when about six to eight inches long; pickling cucumber types at three to five inches- both in about 50-60 days from seeding. Don't allow the fruits to become overripe on the vine as this signals to the plant that the seed-development process is nearly complete and it will shut down. Keep mature cucumber fruits picked to encourage further production. Harvest the cucumber fruits early in the morning before the sun hits them for the best flavor and texture.
When cucumber seeds are direct-sown along a cucumber fence, vines can be trained to grow upright for easy picking and to save space for other plants to grow. Good companion vegetable plants are direct-sown radishes, bush snap beans, and transplants of compact herbs, peppers, eggplants and tomatoes. Attract bee pollinators by planting daisies such as sunflowers, cosmos, zinnias and coneflower, and mints such as bee balm, sage, oregano and lavender. More bees mean more chances flowers will be pollinated and develop into fruits.
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