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Grow a Healthy Crop of Cucumbers

Updated on July 30, 2019
MarleneB profile image

Marlene is an urban farmer who enjoys preparing meals from fruits and vegetables grown in her garden. Her friends call her, "Garden Girl!"

Huge cucumber harvested from my garden.
Huge cucumber harvested from my garden. | Source

Growing Cucumbers

Of all the vegetables in my garden, I find cucumbers to be the easiest to grow. I start with seeds each year and watch them grow into enjoyable produce that can be eaten raw, as well as cooked in soups and stews.

It is easy to start cucumbers in a small starting pot. Plant 2 - 3 seeds 1-inch deep in each pot. Pat the soil down lightly and keep soil evenly moist. You will start to see seedlings in about 7-14 days. When the seedlings are about 2" - 3" tall, they are ready to be transferred to your outdoor garden. Plant about 6" to 8" apart in hills 36" apart.

Cucumbers become mature and are ready to harvest in about 55 days. My husband and I planted the Garden Sweet Burpless Hybrid cucumber which is known to get at least 10" long. We planted our seeds on June 6, 2019 and harvested a 12" cucumber on July 25, 2019 (49 days).

Cucumbers are a vine-growing vegetable that can grow from one to six feet tall. You will need a large area to grow cucumbers because they can sprawl as much as 6 feet in length. On the other hand, you can train your vine to grow up a trellis or fence which actually makes it easy to see the fruit as it grows.

Because cucumbers feed heavily on nitrogen, they require a well-drained, highly fertile soil to grow. Cucumbers grow best in soil that is a pH level of 7.0. Water them well. When you water your cucumbers, give them at least an inch of water.

Your personal watering system will determine how often and how long you water your cucumbers. Keep an eye on them. They will tell you when they need to be watered. If they start to wilt, then you know you need to water them.

When To Plant Cucumbers

Plant cucumbers in the spring, after the last frost.

To find the last frost date for your area, use the free online tool provided by The Old Farmer's Almanac. Enter a zip code in the search box and you will discover the area's Altitude, Last Spring Frost Date, First Fall Frost Date, and the number of days in the Growing Season.

Will Cucumbers Grow In Your Area?

Cucumbers grow heartily in plant hardiness zones 4-12. A plant hardiness zone is a numbering system developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is based on the climate in a particular location. The number helps you determine which plants are likely to do well in your garden.

Use USDA's free online interactive map to discover your plant hardiness zone. All you need is your zip code and the map will show you your zone number.

How Many Plants Should You Grow?

Cucumbers are prolific growers. In fact, four or five plants will supply a moderate consumption of cucumbers for a family of four through the summer.

Video Tells How To Grow Cucumbers Like A Pro

The following video by master gardener, Ed Buker, also known as, “Farmer Ed” shows you how to plant and grow cucumbers like a pro. Get additional gardening tips on how and when to plant, plus how to train your cucumber plant to climb up a trellis.

Today's Harvest - Cucumber

My husband and I have a small garden on our property and each day we select something from the garden to prepare for that evening's meal.

Today's harvest was a huge 12" cucumber.

I decided to make a simple cucumber salad to go with the BBQ'd chicken already planned for dinner.

I found this easy-to-make cucumber salad on the Betty Crocker website. I modified it a bit for my own taste. This is a very light and crisp salad. It is made with a tangy vinegar marinate and goes well with any meat or seafood dish.

Easy Cucumber Salad

This tangy cucumber salad was made with a cucumber harvested from my garden.
This tangy cucumber salad was made with a cucumber harvested from my garden. | Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 3 hours
Ready in: 3 hours 10 min
Yields: Serves 6 people

Ingredients

  • 2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup cider or white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dill weed, finely chopped, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped, optional

Instructions

  1. Place the cucumbers in a small glass or plastic bowl. Note: Since my cucumber was extremely large, it was the equivalence of four average-sized cucumbers. So, I sliced up and used only 1/2 of my cucumber.
  2. Place the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pepper into a glass container that has a tight-fitting lid. Place the lid on the container and shake well. Pour this mix over the cucumbers. Cover the cucumber dish with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to blend the flavors. Note: I used a Mason jar for this step.
  3. Drain the cucumbers.
  4. Sprinkle with dill weed and/or parsley.
  5. Serve. To store this dish, cover it and keep it in the refrigerator.

Additional Salad Options

Some people include some or all of the following in their cucumber salad:

  • Thinly sliced red onions
  • Thinly sliced black olives
  • Finely grated carrots, and
  • Thinly sliced tomatoes

Note: Because this is a light salad, other vegetables should be sliced thinly so that they do not overwhelm the flavor of the cucumbers and so that they can absorb the marinade evenly.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/2 cup
Calories 30
Calories from Fat0
% Daily Value *
Fat 0 g
Saturated fat 0 g
Unsaturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 7 g2%
Sugar 6 g
Fiber 0 g
Protein 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 200 mg8%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
5 stars from 1 rating of Easy Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Trivia

Botanists believe cucumbers originated in India, then traveled to Africa and Southeast Asia before arriving in North America.

When someone says they are “as cool as a cucumber,” they mean they are calm and unruffled.

I can see my competitors sweating, and I am cool as a cucumber.

— Adam Rippon, American Figure Skater

Resources

Aggie Horticulture, via Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

Cucumbers, via Cornell University Growing Guide.

First and Last Frost Dates, via The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Interactive Zone Heartiness Map, via United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Nutrition Information for Raw Fruits, Vegetables, and Fish, via US Food and Drug Information.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Marlene Bertrand

Comments

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    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      5 weeks ago from USA

      Indeed, Nithya Venkat, they are very refreshing in salads. And, cucumbers are prolific growers so I always have plenty to share with friends.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 weeks ago from Dubai

      Cucumbers are refreshing and are great in a salad. You have made growing cucumbers easy, it is a great feeling when we prepare veggies that we have grown minus the pesticides. Thank you for sharing the recipe will try it.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      2 months ago from USA

      Dora you are so kind with words. And, thank YOU for sharing. I did not know cucumber skins have insulin. I like to eat the skin, but my husband doesn't like the bitterness. Normally, when I include cucumbers in a dish I make a batch with the skin on and a batch with the skin off. It's just the two of us, so it's not a big deal. But, now after reading your comment, I want to learn more about the benefits of cucumbers.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you for sharing. You make the growing seem easy enough. Interested especially after reading that cucumber skins might have some insulin. Thanks also for the salad idea.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      2 months ago from USA

      Ha! Larry you are so right. Cucumbers are my all-around favorite vegetable.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      2 months ago from USA

      Hello Chitrangada! I am so glad you found this article helpful. You will enjoy the extra fresh flavor of cucumbers when you grow them yourself.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      2 months ago from USA

      Hi Linda,

      I agree, cucumbers make salads taste extra delicious. I also enjoy eating them sliced all by themselves. Better than potato chips! They are so easy to grow, I could not see having a garden without them.

    • Larry Slawson profile image

      Larry Slawson 

      2 months ago from North Carolina

      Nothing better than a good cucumber! Thank you for sharing!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      2 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Cucumbers are in our menu, almost everyday. There are many nice recipes, and they have so many health benefits. But I had no idea, how to grow them. It’s a great feeling, when you have grown them yourself.

      Thanks for sharing the details, through your well illustrated and well explained article. Now, I would follow your instructions.

      Thank you.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I've never grown cucumbers, but I'm tempted to after reading your article. Thanks for sharing the instructions and the recipe. I think cucumber slices are a great addition to a salad.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      2 months ago from USA

      Hi Eric, I like that you can grow them all year long. Because of how much I enjoy them, I wish I could, too.

      I think there is a little bit of effort involved with taking the seeds from cucumbers and growing them. When I researched about it, it seemed like it was easier to run to the store and buy the seeds than the extended process of fermenting the seeds, drying the seeds and everything else involved. Which makes me wonder how Mother Nature does it like it's no biggie.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      2 months ago from USA

      Hi Devika, congratulations on your success with cucumbers. I do enjoy them in salads, too.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I just love this. I theoretically I can grow them year round. "Baby" ones are our favorites.

      Did I miss about them "going to seed". I mean can I take the seeds out of one or just kind of let one "melt into the ground?

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      2 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      We did too, planted this season and had a few. Like this hub on cucumbers. Easy to grow and the best to have in salads.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      2 months ago from USA

      Bill, I get you! We have a mint plant that came up out of nowhere! We're keeping it! But, one of the first things on our planting list every year is cucumbers. They are so delicious. I like to slice them thin and eat them instead of potato chips.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      They are so easy to grow that we have one growing this year that we didn't plant this year. LOL I love it when that happens.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      2 months ago from USA

      Hello Patricia! I don't know why, but cucumbers seem to be very easy for me to grow. The locals say it's the soil. Could be. Thank you for stopping by. Many blessings to you Patricia.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      2 months ago from sunny Florida

      I would love to. But cucumbers have never been something I have had success growing. Maybe one day. Thank you for sharing Angels headed your way this evening ps

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      2 months ago from USA

      Hi Pamela. Gardening is such a relaxing activity for me. I was looking for something quick and easy to make with the cucumber and the cucumber salad was perfect.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I use to grow cucumbers, and I have used a recipe just like the excellent one you posted. I can't have a garden anymore, and I sure do miss it. This is a good article for a delicious vegetable.

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