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How to grow cucumbers

How to grow cucumber

Photo by Kelly Neil on Unsplash

While cucumbers are a highly adaptable crop, they do have specific needs. Here's how to grow cucumbers in your garden!

Know your climate

The growing season for cucumber is long, but the plant requires a lot of heat. If you live in an area that experiences frost, protect your cucumbers by covering them with plastic or row covers until they're ready to be harvested.

Choose an open space where the vines can spread out and receive full sun throughout the day. This will help them produce plenty of fruit!

Pick a suitable variety

Research the cucumber varieties that are most suitable for your area. Cucumbers are grown in many different parts of the world, so it's important to choose one that will thrive in your climate. In general, large-fruited slicing or pickling varieties perform better than small-fruited salad types because they require less irrigation water and fertilizer.

However, they tend to produce fewer fruits at a time and may need staking or caging. If you'd like to grow organic cucumbers (and who wouldn't?), check out our article on how to do so here!

Space plants properly

Cucumbers are best planted in single-row raised beds. If you're growing them in a different type of row, make sure that the plants are spaced far enough apart so that they can grow properly and produce large fruits.

The planting distance depends on the variety and on soil fertility; it varies from 10 to 24 inches (25 to 60 cm). For example, if you're growing a slicing cucumber like Green Beauty or Ruby Pickle, plant them 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) apart; if you're producing pickling varieties like Cornichon or Lemon Cucumber, space them 14 to 20 inches (35 to 50 cm) apart.

The size of the plants is also important when determining how much space they need: large plants require more room than smaller ones do—you may have noticed this when shopping for cucumbers at grocery stores: small cukes tend not only cost less but also sit closer together on racks than their larger cousins!

Cucumbers like potassium

Cucumbers are a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, which includes squash and melons. The cucurbita group has a particular affinity for potassium, which is one of the most important nutrients for plants to receive. Potassium regulates water movement throughout the plant's tissues and helps promote photosynthesis.

Prune to promote fruit production

Cucumbers are a vine plant, and will grow in any direction they can find. This means that if you don’t prune them, they may eventually grow over other plants or cover your entire garden. The best time to prune cucumbers is in early summer when new leaves emerge.

For best results allow the plant to mature for about six weeks before starting your pruning process and then remove any shoots that are longer than 1 ½ feet long. This will prevent shading from occurring under the canopy of the plant and ensure that all of its energy goes into growing fruit instead of foliage or vines.

Temperature control

The ideal temperature for cucumber plants is around 70°F (21°C) to 85°F (29°C). The optimal daytime temperature is about 75-80 degrees, with a night-time low of 65-70 degrees. The majority of your time should be spent between 80 and 85 degrees.

Because cucumbers are sensitive to heat, avoid direct sunlight during the summer months when temps are rising above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have an area in your home that gets plenty of indirect light but no direct sunlight, such as an enclosed porch or balcony, this may be a good spot for your cucumber plants during these times.

Water appropriately

As with most plants, the health and productivity of your cucumbers depend on getting the right amount of water. Cucumbers are thirsty plants that need plenty of water to thrive. Proper watering is also important for preventing diseases, so it is recommended that you water every day if possible.

You should always check the soil before watering to make sure it does not feel dry at all times; otherwise, you can over-water your cucumber plants—which is not good for them either! If you have a sandy soil like I do (it drains really well), then try keeping it moist but not soggy unless there’s been no rain in over 5 days. This may mean having to go out once a week when we have a drought here in Southern California.

In addition, make sure to only give them enough nutrients they need while avoiding excess fertilizer since this can harm them instead

Harvest at the correct time

In order to harvest at the correct time, it's important to pay attention to both the fruit and the stem. Look for a green stem and yellow flower, which mean that your cucumber is ready for harvest. You'll also want to check for a firm fruit—if it feels soft or watery when you press on the skin with your thumb, then leave it on the vine until it gets firmer. The last thing you want is a grumpy customer!

If you harvest too early, though, then your cucumbers will be bitter. So make sure not to rush things! Harvesting too late means that some of your produce won't ripen properly before frost hits; this can cause anything from mildew to rot depending on how cold (or warm) it gets where you live.


Cucumber plants are easy to grow, but they're sensitive to too much heat and cold. They need at least six hours of sunlight every day and fertile soil with plenty of organic matter. If you plant seeds directly into the garden, make sure you prick them out when they're big enough or they'll get root-bound!