How to Grow Cucumbers

cucmber garden
As this is my second successful year growing cucumbers, I am eager to teach about cucumber growing. One should start a few seasons before you are planning to harvest the cucumbers. So now (summer of 2012) would be a fine time to start working on how to grow cucumbers for spring 2013.

First, where are you planning to grow them? Got sun? Pick that spot. You are going to need to prepare that area. I make compost in my backyard, and my cucumber plants grow right near my driveway, the sunniest spot in our yard. Do a lot of digging in the area in which you plan to grow, and add amendments to the soil such as manure and compost.

If you have animal problems (like groundhogs), you might want to grow your cucumbers in a cage. See my cucumber plant below growing in a caged in area in my backyard. This spot doesn’t get as much light as the front, so it grows a little slower.
cucumber cage

Once you have prepared the soil, you can relax a little while. Order your cucumber seeds toward the end of winter. I bought a packet of pickling cucumbers seeds from Johnny’s Select Seeds in Maine. You might also want to get a packet of marigold seeds – the orange flowers are easy to grow and look pretty next to all those green cucumber leaves. I also have petunias growing near my cucumbers that my daughter bought for me on Mother’s Day at a nearby plant nursery.

When spring time comes (I start right after Passover), it’s time to plant those seeds in a seed starting mix. I soak the seeds first (for a few hours), then I add them to little seed containers (see right side of top photo). You can use your fingers to poke down the seed; cucumber seeds are on the larger side and easier to handle than other seeds. Keep taking care of those seed containers until around Mother’s Day. That’s a good time to plant them in the ground. Make sure you have at least one true leaf of the cucumber plant showing before planting the seedling.

Then the fun part begins – your cucumber vines begin to grow, so you can drape them over sticks and other supports. When you see a yellow cucumber flower like this one, you are so close to getting a cucumber:
yellow cucumber flower

Keep watering the base of your cucumber plant every few days, and add some compost or manure once every two weeks to the bottom of the cucumber plant. Your plants need to be fed just like humans need food and water. The cucumbers start to grow out of those flowers. At first, they look like tiny little tubes. But have patience, and you soon get your big cucumbers.

tiny cucumber end of yellow cuke flower
cucumbers growing on a cucumber vine, marigold nearby
I either pickle my cucumbers, eat them in a salad with tomatoes, or eat them straight up, skin and all.

cucumber and tomato

Have you ever grown cucumbers? Any other vegetables? Words of advice?

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16 thoughts on “How to Grow Cucumbers

  • Thanks for the tips. Here zucchini grow fine but not tomatoes. We have tried this year but there are still no signs of even a tiny one.

    • And if I tried to grow lemons or bananas, I assume they would fail! I tried zucchini – the plants grew to a flower, then died. I read somewhere it could be borrer worm. As I am not crazy about zucchini, anyway, I gave up on those. But I’ve been really successful with the cucumbers.

      Our tomato plants have lots of fruits, but most of the tomatoes are green. They are slow to turn red (if I take them inside, they turn red faster, plus they don’t get eaten by animals).

  • Thanks for sharing!

    The kids thought that it was very funny when I told them that we used to peel cucumbers in the States. 🙂 (They’re sold here without wax, and so there’s no reason to peel them.)

    • Well, even without the wax, the ones I grow have tough skins. So many people prefer them peeled. It depends how well one deals with fiber.

  • Great post. I used to grow cucumbers every year but have gradually stopped growing my vegetables. I miss it so who knows, maybe next year. I love the shots with all the flowers as well as the cucumbers.

  • I never would have thought to incorporate flowers in with veggy. Here I am thinking I have no place to grow anything and I do. I have room in my side garden. I think I would have to protect it, but it could be done. Years ago..maybe 30 years, we had a backyard veg garden when my daughter was about 3 and something came and ate a lot of what we had. Now I can’t even remember what we grew but we didn’t keep it up..shame. I should have..Michelle

    • There are practical reasons for growing flowers with vegetables. I don’t remember the details, but certain flowers match well with certain vegetables.

      Yeah, our “somethings” that eat our food are deer and ground hogs. This is my first year growing in a cage.

  • I love cucumbers. We grow them in an Earthbox and they do well. I’m the only one who eats them, though, so we always have lots to leave on people’s doorsteps. 🙂

    • I know what you mean about being the only one who eats them! But my children surprised me when I made a tomato cucumber salad with bits of basil (all home grown)…two out of three ate some! My eldest said no way.

      I ate a cucumber for breakfast today, peel and all.

  • Hi Leora, thanks for sharing your tips on growing cucumbers. I used to love my mom’s recipe when I was young. But, I am not able to eat them now at all. Maybe I could grow them and put them on my eyes, aren’t they good for the dark spots around the eyes. Not sure though. Great post, have a wonderful day.

    • Too bad you can’t eat them. Yes, I have heard of people using them for facials. No idea how, however. You grow them and sell them… (I’m always after the business angle).

  • The photos are wonderful, and the growing tips are fantastic. Thank you for sharing this.

    I have grown tomatoes…beefy, cherry and roma. I have grown baby romaine, broccoli, and a few other vegetables. I can’t wait to start my cucumbers.

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