Grow it yourself: Cucumber

Grow it yourself: Cucumber
After tomatoes, cabbages and onions, cucumbers are the fourth most widely cultivated vegetable in the world. They are enjoyed on every continent and you will find them used in all types of cuisine. The world produces approximately 42 billion kilograms of cucumbers every year. It's time to grow some cucumber yourself!
Grow it yourself: CucumberFor the best-tasting fruit and optimum yields, grow cucumber plants in a sunny spot and in warm, fertile, and well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Raised beds are ideal. Cucumbers require a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Seeds should be sown or transplants set out only when all risk of frost has passed and the soil has warmed to at least 15 °C. An unexpected frost will kill your plants, and the vines will grow slowly and suffer from more stress in cooler conditions.

You can start seeds indoors three to four weeks before your anticipated planting date outside. Be careful not to disturb the roots when transplanting.

Cucumbers thrive in light, friable soil. Several inches of organic matter worked into the soil prior to planting will help achieve that goal. The cucumber plants are heavy feeders, so be sure to feed the soil with rich compost or aged manure. After the vines have developed runners and the first flowers have appeared, follow up with a side dressing of compost, aged manure, or organic fertiliser.

Grow it yourself: Cucumber

If the leaves become yellowish, the plants need more nitrogen. Grow trellised plants 6 to 7 inches apart. Hills with one or two seedlings should be spaced about 3 feet apart, with the rows 4 to 5 feet apart.

Cucumbers are thirsty
Grow it yourself: Cucumber
Keep your cucumber plants well watered, especially around the time the plant is flowering and fruiting. Any water stress during this period of rapid growth will cause an increase in the amount of bitter-tasting compounds in your fruit.

Cucumbers are vigorous growers and therefore need between 0.6 and 1.2 inches of water per week, depending on the weather and the characteristics of your soil.

The key is to keep the soil slightly moist at all times. You should water deeply about once or twice a week, or more often if you're gardening in sandy soil.

Growing tips
Use a trellis, such as a wire tomato cage, to increase the leaf-to-fruit ratio of your cucumbers. This will increase your yield of flawless, flavourful fruits and make them easier to pick.
To further increase your yields, mulch beneath the cucumbers with organic material.
Make two plantings a month apart to extend your harvesting season, and try to plant different varieties. If you experience super-hot summers, grow a second crop in early fall, using row covers.
If you’re planning crop rotations, note that cucumbers often do well following cabbage-family crops.