How to Grow Cucumbers in Your Vegetable Garden
By: Julie Day
The first cucumbers have to be one of the highlights of the summer garden season, with their crisp, cool crunch arriving just in time to relieve the summer heat. You can grow cucumbers in vegetable gardens or containers, here’s how.
Cucumbers are warm-season vegetables that thrive when temperatures are in the 70s-80s F. They’re planted after the last frost of spring, and they can be planted again in midsummer for early fall harvest.
Cucumber plants are fast growing vines that typically take over any trellis you give them, though there are more compact bush varieties available that might be better suited for small spaces or containers. Cucumbers are pretty plants, with large leaves, yellow flowers, and curling tendrils.
This year, I planted cucumbers to grow up the side of my shed, where they are both useful and decorative. You could also grow them on fences, arbors, and in containers with a sturdy stake or cage.
The varieties of cucumbers are usually divided into two categories:
- Slicing Cucumbers: These are the 6”- 8” cucumbers we’re used to seeing in the grocery store, which are perfect for salads and dips. Examples include ‘Burpless,’ ‘Salad Bush,’ ‘Longfellow,’ and ‘Fanfare.’
Cucumber Growing Conditions
- Trellis: A sturdy trellis allows for vertical growing, which takes up less space, increases yields, and reduces pests and diseases. Also, vertically-trained vines will produce straighter cucumbers; cucumbers grown on the ground tend to be curled.
Cucumber Growing Tips
- Cucumber Problems: The most common problems are aphids, bacterial wilt, and cucumber beetles. Keep an eye out for critters and diseases and address them before they spread to other plants.
How to Harvest Cucumbers
- Cucumber Storage: Cucumbers keep in the fridge for a few days. The only way to preserve them is by pickling.
- Cucumber (University of Illinois Extension)
- Cucumber: How to Identify Male and Female Flowers (Completegarden’s)
- Vegetable Garden: Planning and Layout (article)
- Vegetable Garden: Growing Warm-Season Vegetables (article)
- Vegetable Garden: Growing Cool-Season Vegetables (article)