How to Grow Cucumbers That You’ll Crave
Cucumbers are an iconic summer crop. Consisting mostly of water — but chock-full of vitamins A, B, and C — a fresh cucumber can provide cool, nutritious refreshment on a hot afternoon.
And a cucumber fresh off the vine? Now that’s hard to beat.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to grow your own crisp cucumbers with Tower Garden.
Fun fact: Inadequate or inconsistent watering can cause cucumbers to develop an odd shape and poor taste. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about watering with Tower Garden!
Selecting a Cucumber Variety
Before you grow cucumbers in your garden, you must first decide which type you want to grow. Here are two popular varieties:
- Slicing cucumbers are what you’ve likely seen in the supermarket. This type is delicious served fresh in salads and sandwiches.
- Pickling cucumbers are smaller, often thinner-skinned, and — as you might guess — perfect for pickling.
Beyond these, you also have specialty cucumbers, which may come in unusual shapes and sizes (like the lemon cucumber and the Bolivian cucumber) or have unique characteristics (like heat-resistant varieties).
All cucumber plants grow in either a vining or bush-like fashion. Bush cucumbers are a little easier to manage, as they are more compact. But vining varieties tend to produce bigger yields and resist disease better.
So you have several choices! Fortunately, you can grow any type of cucumber with Tower Garden.
Planting, Pruning and Pollinating Cucumbers
Cukes grow quickly and are relatively hassle-free as long as you provide the right conditions. They require full sun and warm weather — they don’t tolerate cold well. So wait to plant them until temperatures are consistently above 70˚F.
When starting cucumbers, plant about one seed per rock wool cube. Seeds should germinate within 10 days. After this happens, place the seedlings outside in the sun to increase their hardiness. They should be ready to transplant within a month after sprouting.
Tower Tip: For step-by-step instructions on starting seeds and transplanting seedlings, reference page seven of the Tower Garden Growing Guide.
Cucumbers need space, so we recommend you plant them in the bottom of your Tower Garden and either let them cascade over the edge and onto the ground or train them to climb a vertical support structure, such as a trellis.
The latter option is ideal, as it prevents fruit from touching the ground, maximizes available space, and improves air circulation — which reduces the risk of disease. Another way you can prevent plant disease is by thinning and pruning occasionally.
As aggressive growers, cucumbers will wrap their vine tendrils around virtually anything close by. So keep that in mind when picking a location for your Tower Garden.
Tower Tip: If your cucumbers produce flowers for several weeks and you never get any fruit, the problem could be pollination. Learn how to hand pollinate cucumbers »
Cucumbers produce hearty yields, which means they’re heavy feeders. So keep an eye on your water reservoir, and top it off as needed.
Common Cucumber Pests and Diseases
By growing with Tower Garden, you’ve already taken a smart, preventive measure against common gardening problems. Still, no garden is completely immune to pests.
Here are a few pests and diseases to watch for when growing cucumbers:
- Cucumber Beetles
- Spider Mites
- Bacterial Wilt
- Powdery Mildew
Harvesting and Eating
Pickles, cucumber water, gazpacho — excited for your first cucumber harvest yet? It’s going to be great!
Here are a few things to know:
- Cucumbers should be ready to harvest 50–70 days after germination.
- Most varieties are mature at 6–10 inches long, but smaller cucumbers are edible, too.
- Using a clean pair of shears, harvest by cutting the stem connecting the cucumber to the vine.
- Be sure to harvest before cucumbers become overripe (i.e., smooth, bloated, and yellow).
- Once they begin producing, check your cucumber plants at least twice a week, and harvest frequently to encourage continued production.
- Excessive heat will end fruit production and plant leaves will turn brown. If this happens, remove the cucumber vine from your Tower Garden (because it’s finished growing).
Once you harvest your healthy, homegrown cucumbers, the final step is to simply enjoy them!
Have questions about growing cucumbers with Tower Garden? Leave a comment below, and we’ll be happy to help you.
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