Cucumbers


Cucumbers are great for taking your garden vertical. They are vining plants that will thrive if you let them climb a trellis. This would save space in your garden and allow the fruits to grow clean and straight. Their large foliage forms a screen, which can create privacy around your garden, but if you have the space and prefer, let your cucumbers sprawl along the ground. However, if you do not have space for sprawling or a trellis you can grow them in a bush.


Fact: Cucumbers are about 95% water.


Types of Cucumbers:
Slicing:

Also known as garden cucumbers. These include the standard types we all know and love, as well as the more "exotic" English and Japanese types, which are long, slender and often wrapped in cellophane at the grocery store.

Pickling:

These cucumbers are smaller than slicing cucumbers, with thinner skins, firmer flesh and smaller seeds which make tasty and crisp pickles.

How to plant:
Cucumbers like warm temperatures, above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore plant them when all the dangers of frost have past. They also like space, if you are going to trellis your cucumbers, plant them 18-24 inches apart and if you letting them sprawl out, allow three to four feet between each plant. Bush cucumbers should be planted 18-24 inches apart or in a large five gallon sized pot.

Cucumbers are mostly water, therefore they do not like to dry out or wilt. Consider mulching your plants with garden mulch or grass clippings to hold moisture in the soil.

Install your trellis just above and behind your plants within a couple weeks of planting. Cucumbers have tendrils that will grab the supports; therefore you should not have to tie the vines.


Common Problems:
Powdery mildew is the most common disease that affects cucumber plants. It is a whitish powder that appears on the foliage and is spread through the air. The best prevention is to grow disease-resistant varieties and to keep the foliage dry by watering at the base of the plant, directly to the soil, which is a good practice for all vegetables.


Harvest Time:
As with squash, pick your cucumbers when they are smaller for the best flavor and tenderness. There is no set time when they are ready, you decide when you want to eat, or pickle them. Be sure to watch your cucumbers, they can grow an inch or more a day and leaving over-matured fruit on the vine can slow the growth of new fruit. Therefore, harvest often and regularly because the more you pick, the more will grow!



- Burpee Home Gardens