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How to Grow Cucumber Plants

Gardeners just love growing cucumbers. "Cukes" are a vining crop that's easy to grow, produces an abundance for fruit, and is healthy for you. When in peak production, cucumbers are so plentiful, you will likely have ample extras to give out to eager friends and relatives.

Cucumbers belong to the Cucurbita family. Other members include pumpkins, squash, and gourds. If you have the space, allow them to sprawl across the garden where they can develop secondary roots to maximize growth of plant and fruit. If your space is limited, train them up a fence or trellis.

Fresh cucumbers are a crispy treat in salads. They are perfect for vegetable trays, too.

There are a wide variety of cucumbers. They are generally categorized as either slicing or pickling cucumbers. We suggest you try some of the increasingly popular "burpless" varieties, which are easier on the digestive system.

How to Grow Cucumbers:

Cucumber plants like full sun and warm, relatively dry weather. They prefer a rich, well draining soil, Add lots of compost prior to planting for these heavy feeders. Fertilize regularly. Keep the soil most for maximum growth.

Sow cucumber seeds outdoors after all danger of frost has past, and the soil begins to warm. Seedlings can also be started indoors two to three weeks prior to the last frost date. Plants are very susceptible to frost and cold. Do not transplant them outdoors too early.

Plant in rows or hills, planting them one to 1 1/2 inches deep. Cover very lightly with soil.Water the first day and if there is no rain, every two to three days until they germinate.When planting in rows, sow seeds 2 to 3" apart. Plant four to five per hill. Thin to two to three seedlings.

Cucumber vines will grow and spread rapidly. Allow ample room for the vines to grow. You can grow cucumber vines up a fence. This works well for space limited gardeners.

Encourage new fruit development by picking regularly. Do not allow them to get overripe on the vine, or they will stop bearing new fruit.

Cucumbers are susceptible to spring and fall frost. They grow best in temperatures between 60 to 80 degrees.

Harvesting Cucumbers:

Days to Maturity: 55 to 65 days, depending upon variety. We suggest two crops to to space out the harvest.

Cucumbers grow quickly and are at their best when picked before they get too big. Pick regularly, and often.

Insects, Pests and Disease:

The Cucumber Beetle is the dreaded pest of cucumbers. Cucumber Beetles are either striped or spotted. They feed on the leaves of the plants, and spread disease from one plant to another. Treat early with insecticides. Mild insecticides, like Sevin, are most commonly used for effective treatment.

Squash Vine Borer is also a major problem. This insect pest bores into the vine, usually near the tap root. Left unchecked, it eats right through the vine. Once it gets inside, the only way to kill it is to surgically remove it. Cutting Squash Vine Borers out of your vine is done by slicing up or down from the entry area until you find the pest. Then, apply fungicide around the wound to minimize disease. More on Squash Vine Borers

Powdery mildew is a big problem n hot, humid weather. Treat with fungicides early, before hot weather arrives in your area.

More Information:

Garden Recipes - Find Cucumber recipes and garden recipes galore!

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