Everybody enjoys the taste of fresh and ripe cucumbers. When you get the cucumbers from the market, they are often not as fresh because of sitting on the shelf for a few days. The best way to treat yourself to fresh cucumbers is to grow a plant at home. You can grow it in your garden or a pot.
Growing a cucumber plant is not a tedious job. All you need is a regular watering schedule and sunlight. Along with these two significant factors, there are a few other things that will ensure your crop turns out ripe and fresh. If you want to know how to grow cucumber plants, then give this article a read.
How to Grow Cucumber Plant
The first thing you need to keep in mind before you start shoveling the ground is checking the fertility of the soil and the overall location. If the soil is not fertile, you can use an organic fertilizer. Dig a 6 to 8 inches hole and add a 2-inch layer of compost. Once you have selected a spot that gets maximum sunlight and added compost to the hole, plant the cucumber seeds 1 inch deep into the soil. Plant each seed at least 2 - 3 feet apart from the other.
From my personal experience, it is ideal to add mulch to the area after planting to keep the pests away from your crop. If you do not want your crop to grow and spread on the ground, you can add a trellis, so the plant climbs onto that. After planting, make sure that you water your cucumber seeds regularly. Water and sunlight are the key components that make a cucumber plant thrive.
Cucumber plant seeds can be sowed both indoors in a pot and outdoors on the ground. However, when a cucumber plant starts growing, it goes up to a maximum of 8 feet. As you can not have such a gigantic plant indoors, it is ideal to transfer it to the ground when it starts growing. In the ground, the plant can grow as tall as possible without becoming a headache.
A cucumber plant goes upto 8 feet once it is fully grown, so you can not keep a plant this large in a pot. The ideal place for growing a cucumber plant is first sowing the seeds into the pot. Once they start growing roots, transfer them to the ground next to a trellis. Adding trellis is nifty as a cucumber plant grows rapidly, and if it grows and spreads on the ground, there is a chance that the plant will rot due to wet soil.
Growing a cucumber plant in the ground is the best way to get a ripe, edible crop. You can grow them on flat ground, planting a single seed in each hole. Cucumber seeds can also be planted on mounds and hills at a distance of 1 to 2 feet from each other. Add 2 or 3 seeds to each mound. The critical part is making sure the soil is fertile.
Just like most of the species of the plant kingdom, cucumbers also go dormant in winters. So, the perfect time for planting a cucumber plant is two weeks after the last frost. When they are being planted outside, the soil temperature should be no less than 70°F. If you wish to plant a little sooner than this, then you can first sow the cucumber seeds into a pot and then transplant them to the ground after 2 to 3 weeks.
The cucumber vines need a large amount of sun exposure to grow to their full size and bear fruits. This is why make sure you plant your cucumber plant in a place that gets maximum sunlight, especially the early morning sunlight. Your cucumber plant should get a minimum of 8 hours of sunlight every day.
The first step of caring for a cucumber plant is watering it regularly and consistently. The plants of mine that did not get consistent water turned out to be bitter, so watering regularly is crucial if you want to keep your crop edible. You can put your finger 1 inch into the soil, and if it comes out dry, it is time to water it. The ideal time for giving water to your cucumber plant is in the early morning or early afternoon. Once the fruit starts to appear on the vines, you need to increase the water quantity to a gallon per week.
If you are cutting a cucumber plant for pickles, it is best to pick them from the vine when they are 2 inches long. Harvest the dill cucumbers when they are 4 inches long. However, the regular cucumbers that are eaten fresh and raw should be harvested when they are about 8 to 9 inches long. Do not leave the cucumber on the vines for a longer period of time, as they will turn bitter.
There are two types of cucumbers, pickling and slicing cucumbers. So, when you go out to get yourself cucumber seeds, make sure you are getting the right ones. Another thing to keep in mind is not to leave the seeds on the shelf for a longer period of time. Planting the seeds as soon as possible is best as there are low chances of your crop going bad.
Similar to all the other species of the plant kingdom, cucumber seeds need to be sowed in soil that has good drainage. If the soil is too soggy and the water is not properly drained, the cucumber plant will not thrive. Along with drainage, the soil needs to be rich and fertile, and slightly acidic. The ideal pH for soil is between 6.5 to 7.0.
Moreover, the ideal temperature for a cucumber plant to thrive is above 70°F. Before you sow your cucumber plant seeds, add a few cups of compost to the soil. It not only adds essential nutrients to the soil but also improves the drainage of the soil. All in all, compost creates an excellent living environment for a cucumber plant.
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Whether you want to grow a cucumber plant at home or a huge crop in fields, both can be done if you choose the right spot and give proper care to the crop. I have shared all the points that helped me grow fresh cucumbers at home in this article.