How To Grow Cucumbers
Growing Cucumbers In Your Backyard or Garden
Easy to grow and nutritious to eat, cucumbers are a great vegetable to include in your summer garden. Here are a few tips from the experts at Southern States on how to grow and store your summer crop of cucumbers.
First, choose which type of cucumbers you want to plant. There are two types: slicing varieties and pickling varieties. Slicing cucumbers are smooth and dark green in appearance. Slicing cucumber varieties sold by Southern States include: Early Spring Burpless, General Lee, Hybrid Calypso, Marketmore 76 and Stonewall Hybrid. Pickling cucumbers are smaller than the slicing varieties. They have a bumpy texture and a thinner skin for absorbing pickling spices. Pickling cucumbers available at Southern States include: Sassy Hybrid, National Pickling and White Wonder.
Like most vegetables, cucumbers need lots of sunshine and warm weather to grow. Your vegetable garden should have 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Cucumbers like well drained soil that is rich in organic matter. When preparing your garden soil, mix in some compost. Cucumbers can be planted in rows, raised beds, or hills. Cucumbers are vining plants and will need plenty of space. If you have limited space, they can be trained to grow up a vertical trellis, fence or vegetable cages.
You can start your cucumber seeds indoors using a grow light about two weeks before your last spring frost. The seeds should sprout within five days if kept moist and warm. Cucumbers are susceptible to frost damage, so plant outdoors after the danger of frost has passed. Water the soil thoroughly before planting. Sow seeds or seedlings (3-4 weeks old) directly into the prepared soil approximately 18 inches apart.
Depending on the variety, cucumbers are ready to harvest about 50-60 days after planting. Pick cucumbers early in the morning before the sun has a chance to heat them. Choose the cucumbers that are dark green in color and about six to eight inches long. Once they start to turn yellow, they are overly ripe and their quality and flavor will diminish.
When storing your freshly harvested cucumbers, keep them in a cool location. You can store them in the refrigerator for a short period of time, usually up to five days. Cucumbers are sensitive to temperatures below 50°F and they will quickly deteriorate when left in cold temperatures for an extended amount of time. When storing your cucumbers, keep them away from tomatoes, bananas and melons. These fruits emit a natural hormone known as ethylene gas and close exposure will reduce the life and quality of your cucumbers. You should eat cucumbers within one week of harvesting.
For all of your gardening questions about cucumbers and other vegetables, trust the experts at Southern States. Stop by your local Southern States or shop online for all of your gardening needs.