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Growing Cucumbers

Melissa is the assignment editor and contributing writer for SheKnows Home and Living. While other little girls were playing dress up with Barbie, Melissa was busy remodeling Barbie's house. She now lives out her dream covering design an...

Cucumbers are a quick-growing, beautiful addition to the spring garden.

Cucumbers add a fresh garden flavor to salads and slaws and are used in a number of beauty products and treatments. There are a great number of cucumber varieties available for home growing. Whether you grow long Armenian cucumbers or small pickling cucumbers, you’ll find growing cucumbers to be a fun and exciting garden hobby.


Cucumbers add a fresh garden flavor to salads and slaws and are used in a number of beauty products and treatments. There are a great number of cucumber varieties available for home growing. Whether you grow long Armenian cucumbers or small pickling cucumbers, you’ll find growing cucumbers to be a fun and exciting garden hobby.

Plant cucumber seeds when soil temperatures are at least 65 F. Seeds will germinate in about five days, and most varieties are ready to harvest about two months later. Cucumbers need rich soil, so add compost or manure to the soil. If transplanting, start transplants indoors several weeks before your region's last frost. Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart.

Cucumbers have shallow root systems, so planting in a hill can be beneficial for weeding. Water frequently--to a depth of 12 inches whenever the top inch of soil is dry.Mulch the top few inches of soil with alfalfa hay to maintain moisture and keep the soil cool in summer.

Cucumbers work extremely well for vertical gardening. Place a trellis near the plant and gently curl the tendrils to grip the trellis. The plant will begin to climb on its own, which will save you garden space and keep the fruit off the ground.

Cucumber plants produce separate male and female flowers, and may require assistance with pollination if your garden doesn't have many bees. Inadequate pollination can result in misshapen or off-flavor fruit, so I recommend hand-pollinating regardless of bee presence. Male blossoms appear first and contain the pollen. The male blossoms can begin blooming a week or so before females appear, so don't fret if a week goes by with only flowers and no fruit. When they do show up, recognize female flowers by the baby cucumber present between the flower and the stem. To pollinate, rub a clean cotton swab first inside the male and then the female flowers to transfer pollen. Once the female flower is pollinated, it will drop off and the small cucumber will begin to grow.

Plant sunflowers near cucumbers for sweeter cukes. Harvest cucumbers when they are dark green and an appropriate size to eat. Waiting too long to harvest will decrease their flavor. Once you begin harvesting, check for new fruit every day to ensure you pick each cucumber at its prime.
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