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Cucumbers

A cucumber plant makes an excellent introduction to vegetable gardening for children, and the whole family will enjoy the mild-flavored crunch cucumbers add to meals. Several fruit types are available: short, stout pickling; spiny slicking; long, thin Asian types; seedless; and a number of novelty kinds including egg-shaped, yellow, and white. Gardeners with limited space should also look for dwarf or compact varieties.

Habit
Long, sprawling vines with big foliage, may be trellised; compact varieties are bushier.

Days to Harvest
45 to 65

When to Plant
The seeds are best directly sown when danger of frost has passed and soil is warm. Can be started indoors, but fleshy roots must not be disturbed when transplanting.

Light
Full sun

Soil
Rich topsoil, amended with plenty of compost before planting.

Watering
Succulent fruits and large leaves require a great deal of water for best performance. Mulching reduces drought stress in hot summers.

Fertilizing
Fertilize frequently with a nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer.

Pest problems
Cucumber beetles cause many problems. Look on underside of leaves for adults and larvae; hand-pick and destroy. Squash vine borers are also problematic.

When to Harvest
Cucumbers can be harvested very shortly after fruit set. All are best harvested young and tender and before seeds develop. Harvest daily once production begins.

Recipes
Cucumber-Ginger Fizzes
Dill-Pickle Chips
Smoked Mackerel, Cucumber, and Potato Salad with Mustard Dressing
Cucumber Salad with Radish and Dill

Comments (2)

  • 29 Feb, 2008

    From my understanding, when cucumbers are bitter it is because they did not get enough water. I'm fairly sure this is the reason. Same thing happened to me two summers ago.

  • 9 Feb, 2008

    Dear Martha I love gardeing I am not an expert but do try to grew few things in my back yard like tomatos ,ladies fingers ,bitter melon radisheven and alot of different plants..last year i grew cucumbers in my backyard the vines were full of cucumbers they look so good but unfortunately for some reason they were so sour/bitter i wonder why?I will appreciate your reply.Thank you