How to Grow Great Cucumbers

The Gardeners Kitchen

Cucumber sandwiches will always remind me of my grandmother, my mother’s mother, my nanny. Our next door neighbour back when I was much younger, used to grow cucumbers, my father focused on tomatoes, big beefsteak one, but Mr. Sanford grew a number of vegetables and cucumbers were one. He would share his surplus with us and my nanny would make sandwiches, in those days, on white bread with mayo and the crusts cut off. They were delicious.

Of course, the cucumber and tomato sandwich is a prince among sandwiches with a leaf of romaine lettuce and some black pepper it is a sandwich to be respected and devoured.

As the years rolled by, the cucumber remained a staple in our summer/fall kitchen. By now, I was adding lettuce and black pepper, then one day I decided to try combining two things that I liked peanut butter and cucumber and a new taste sensation was born. I still look forward to fresh cucumbers in season. The ones I get in the store in winter are too watery.

Another item that makes an ideal companion for the cucumber and tomato sandwich is a dill pickle, which is, that is correct, a cucumber. Cucumbers come in a number of varieties which include picklers, slicers, gherkins, white, and bush cukes. You can pickle or preserve any small cucumber,

Cucumbers are from the subtropics and grow best at relatively high temperatures, 65-75 degrees F being the ideal temperature range.

Frost is a serious threat and in northern climates you are best to start your cucumbers indoors about four weeks before you plant them out.

The cucumber is a demanding plant. They have an extensive root system that requires regular watering and good healthy soil to grow best. The plant will tolerate a variety of soils but it will do best in a loose well-drained soil that is complemented with organic matter such as well-rotted manure or compost before planting. The soil pH should be between 6.0 and 7.0.

If you have limited space you can still grow cucumbers, just think vertically. The vines of the cucumber will grow up a trellis and as long as the sunlight is available you can grow them in a large container with a trellis on your patio or balcony.

The best support for growing cucumbers vertically is the tomato cage. You will have to guide, at first, the vines through the wires of the cage or the trellis but in a short time they will know what to do.

Pests may be a problem and vigilance is the key. Aphids, cucumber beetles, leaf miners and squash bugs are the most common invaders.

Some advise keeping cucumbers away from potatoes, sage and aromatic herbs, on the other hand, good companions for your cucumbers are corn, peas, radishes, beans and sunflowers.


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Cucumber Vine

courtesy sa-ku-ra-  flickr
courtesy sa-ku-ra- flickr

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Comments 35 comments

Nolimits Nana profile image

Nolimits Nana 7 years ago from British Columbia

Cukes are one of my favorites too - diced, with dill, yoghurt and a touch of balsamic vinegar. Yum!


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick Author

that does sound good. Thanks for dropping by.


CennyWenny profile image

CennyWenny 7 years ago from Washington

Thanks for answering my request Bob, it's always a pleasure! I think it may be just a bit cold where I live right now (I'm higher in elevation) but I will perservere! Thanks for the tips on companion plants too, I'll put them next to the peas next year.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick Author

You are welcome, you may want to put them under a poly tunnel for first part of season.


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

I think a lot of people today forget about how great a cucumber sandwich can really be. Here in Florida they grow like weeds.


dllhubpages profile image

dllhubpages 7 years ago from Southeastern US

I have ample gardening space but I still like to grow cucumbers vertically because they are much easier to see and pick.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Jerilee, sometimes the simple things are best. Vertical growing has a number of advantages. Thank you both for dropig by.


myra636 profile image

myra636 7 years ago from Viginia

My husbands family make a dish with cucumbers that you can drink at is great when it is hot you blend the cucumbers with a little lemon juice and and suger to tast you make thick or like a drink it might not sound good but it tast great.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick Author

It does sound tasty, cucumber and lemon go well together, Thanks for dropping by.


marcofratelli profile image

marcofratelli 7 years ago from Australia

Cucumber+yoghurt+garlic+mint = lovely greek tzatziki. Great as a dip and even better as a salad with a rice dish.

I heard if you're a woman and you expose yourself for a minute to the cucumber patch regularly, it helps to make them grow bigger. Similarly, it makes tomatoes blush redder. I don't know if that's true though... :)


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick Author

I suspect that is not true but hey, you never know. :-) Thanks for dropping by.


barb2082 profile image

barb2082 7 years ago from Amsterdam/Chicago

Great a fellow Cucumber grower, great info Bob. @Marcofratelli, grin.. to me this sounds more like a daring analogy then a gardening fact. But then it all depends on your definition of a Cucumber patch :-).

Tzaziki is nice!!


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks for dropping by


myawn profile image

myawn 7 years ago from Florida

I love tomato sandwiches and cucumber salad. Pickles are tasty from your own garden cucumbers Thanks!


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick Author

You are welcome, thanks for dropping by.


nwright1080 profile image

nwright1080 6 years ago from New York, USA

never had a green thumb but i bet my wife would just love to read this hub. thanks!


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick Author

You are welcome, and thanks for dropping by.


Julie McM profile image

Julie McM 6 years ago from Southern California

Thanks for the tips on growing cucumbers. Companion planting with peas, radishes, beans and corn not only utilizes your garden space more efficiently, the plants actually help each other.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Placing plants that can assist one another, near each other, is wise design, thanks for dropping by.


tom t 6 years ago

a great dish for cukes, slice 1/4 inch thick along with some slices of fresh slices of tomatoes romas work well sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil a little fresh dill and basil and some crumples feta cheese, chill for about an hour before serving.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick Author

sounds tasty, thanks


Christine 6 years ago

I am growing cucumbers in a topsy turvy....they seem to be doing ok have 1 cucumber so far, my question is...the vines are hanging down and are pretty long, they are touching the ground. Should this be ok or do I need to get a trellis for them? Also, will they grow down then up a trellis? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!!!! :)


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick Author

I have never been asked this before but I think a trellis to keep the vines off the ground is a good idea; they should grow up it. The only other alternative would be to raise them up but that could be considerable work.


Christine 6 years ago

Thanks!! I will try the trellis.


stephen simmons 6 years ago

my pickling cucumbers are round and yellow


Indoor Greenhouse Guy 6 years ago

What a great Hub Bob, the memories of cucumber sandwiches really sets me reminiscing! I've never thought about growing cucumbers before, I'm not too sure why though. My usual harvest consists of several different tomato types, beans, peas and onions. I'll be certainly trying cucumbers next however, so fingers crossed. Most of my produce is grown indoors so I'm interested in seeing what happens!


laughing loon profile image

laughing loon 5 years ago from South Los Angeles

I built a trellis for vining plants like cucumbers and squash or green beans. I used copper pipe thinking it would slow down the snails but the cucumber plants over whelmed the trellis and the snails won. There were fgewer but their was some. I spend some time looking under the leaves for the hiding pests when I am angry, better than the other things I thought of. The smell of a fresh cut cucumber is wonderfull. Keep growing and writing as I do enjoy your articles.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks and happy growing.


Esmeowl12 profile image

Esmeowl12 5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

I had already decided to try growing cukes this year and this article was very helpful. Thanks.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick Author

All the best and happy growing,


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Have a great growing year and thanks for dropping by.


Erin Eisenman profile image

Erin Eisenman 5 years ago from Montana

Great hub! I just planted my cucumber seeds for this season! Cukes are one of our best selling crops at the farmers' markets and at the local grocery stores! Seems everyone has fond memories of cukes just as yourself...they are memory makers!


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 5 years ago from New Brunswick Author

I had no thought about cukes and memory until I began writing this hub, some foods do evoke memory. Happy growing and selling.


Tom Champagne 4 years ago

Take a 2 x4 and cut it in half lengthwise. At several locations (on one side ) screw in several screws leaving most exposed. Drive in the two boards at leact one foot into the ground and several feet apart. Now use plastic deer fence and just drape them to the screws. Plant the cucumbers in a trench at the base of the now hung fence. Shortly the plants will grow easily up the deer fence providing the grower with an over abundance of cukes.Watering is easily done because of the trench that they were planted in. You will have to keep the new small cukes from growing inside the small spaces in the fence.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 4 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks for your comment Tom.

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