Cucumbers should have a place in every kitchen garden. The taste is completely different to the ones you will buy in the store. The flesh is more crispy with a more flavoursome taste.
- There are two main types of cucumbers:
- If you are growing in a cooler climate such as the UK you will benefit from a polytunnel or greenhouse when growing cucumbers.
- Outdoor varieties sometimes have spikey skin with ridges, but in my opinion tend to have a better taste than indoor varieties.
- While Outdoor varieties are hardier than indoor, they are definitely not frost resistant. It is best to wait until your last frost date before planting outside and make sure you finish your harvest before the first frosts set in.
- The key to success when growing cucumbers is to grow in a sunny spot with fertile soil, and good moisture retention. Good moisture retention is important if growing in containers, as cucumbers hate drying out.
Sowing & Growing
- When growing cucumbers it is best to sow both varieties in small pots or seed modules undercover or inside a greenhouse.
- Do not be tempted to start sowing too early, April is a good time to sow, as they need 22*C to germinate. If you have a propagator this will really help speed up germination while locking in the moisture the cucumbers will love.
- Sow seeds on their side 2cm deep. You can also plant directly outside, but they need to be protected with a cloche.
- Transplant when the first true leaves have fully developed.
I like to grow in individual 30cm pots and train them up the greenhouse roof as cucumbers are fantastic climbers.
- If planting in rows, plant 45cm apart, in rows 75cm apart.
Between each plant
Between each row
Start feeding every 2 weeks once they start flowering.
If you don't have a heated greenhouse wait until late spring before planting on.
If growing indoor F1 remove the male flowers otherwise the fruit will be biter. Leave male flowers on outdoors.
Keep compost evenly moist.
For outdoor varieties pinch out the top of the vines when they reach the top of the greenhouse.
If side shoots reach 6cm without flowers remove them.
- Cucumbers are relatively fast to harvest, normally around 12-14 weeks
- Small cucumbers can be slightly bitter, but if you continue to pick them small the plant will continue to fruit
- Harvest all cucumbers before the first frost
Outdoors : Bush Champions, Marketmore, Masterpiece, Tokyo Slicer
Indoor: Femspot, Pepinex 69 F1, Telegraph Improved