Like okra, cucumbers are tropical warm weather vegetables. Both
should be planted at the same time, when soil temperatures are 70 degrees. Soil
temperatures will reach 70 degrees typically when day time temperatures are in
the 80’s and night temperatures are in the 60’s. Cucumbers will produce fruit 50 to 80 days after seeds are planted, depending on variety.
Cucumbers come in bush form and as a vine. Vines produce larger yields and although they take up a ton of room in the garden, they can be caged or grown up trellis. Bush types are better for smaller gardens or container growing. For caged cucumbers, plant 1 cucumber on each side of the tomato cage, 1 foot apart, allowing for 2 plants per cage.
By putting pine straw or wheat straw down after planting, you will help increase soil temperature while giving your cucumber a nice footing to grow on as to not have fruit sitting in the mud, rotting. Pinestraw is also tough to navigate for cucumber loving insects like slugs and cucumber beetles. Consistent watering is the key to produce beautiful, good tasting cucumbers, as inconsistent watering can produce weird shaped, bitter fruit. Cucumbers need 1 inch of water per week. ½ inch twice a week works well.
The biggest problem cucumbers face is pollination. Because cucumbers have separate male and female flowers, an absence of cross-pollinators can cause the plant to not bear fruit. You can read more on this by reading an article named Pollination problems with cantaloupe, cucumber, pumpkin, squash and watermelon.
Water soluble fertilizer like Miracle Gro Tomato Vegetable works great and can be applied every 2 weeks or a slow release vegetable food with micro-nutrients is another great option for cucumbers. Ideal soil pH is 6 to 6.8.
Once the cucumbers get big enough, pick them, as they can over-ripen and taste bitter if left on the vine too long. Plant bush cucumbers in succession, 2 weeks apart as they will produce all at once and doing this can prolong the harvest season. Take your pruners to harvest, as pulling them from the vine can damage the plant.
Keep an eye on your plants, as cucumbers produce quickly. Cucumbers can be stored in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days so too many cucumber plants might have you eating salad for dinner and pickles for lunch.
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