Did you know by following just six simple secrets, you can plant and grow your best crop of cucumbers ever – and have a massive harvest for salads, fresh eating, pickling and more!
Cucumbers are certainly high on the list of vegetables home gardeners love to grow. And why wouldn’t they be? Not only are they delicious to eat fresh or in salads – they are also the number one vegetable for pickling. Which, of course, is another great reason why growing a big harvest is a must!
But for many home gardeners, growing cucumbers can be frustrating. Whether it is struggling to have plants grow and mature, fighting off blight, dealing with pests, or simply not having their blooms turn into fruit – getting their plants to stay healthy and productive can be quite a challenge.
When cucumber plants fail to grow or produce, the issue can usually be traced back to one or two basic needs that are not being met for the plant. But by simply fixing the issue or issues and giving your cucumber plants what they need – cucumber growing success is usually quick to follow.
With that in mind, here is a look at 6 simple secrets for growing your cucumber plants big and strong – and of course, producing a big harvest too!
How To Grow Your Best Crop Of Cucumbers Ever – 6 Simple Secrets To Success!
#1 Plant Seeds, Not Transplants – How To Grow Your Best Crop Of Cucumbers Ever!
Although you can grow cucumbers from transplants, it is far better to grow them from seed. Cucumbers are one of the fastest vegetable plant growers of all. By planting from seed, they never have to go through the shock of transplanting or get acclimated to big weather changes or conditions.
Young, tender foliage often gets stunted and damaged when transplanted early in the growing season. The roots of transplants can also be injured or suffer when transferred into the ground. Instead, allow your plants to grow directly from seed.
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We have used this method over transplants for our cucumber plants for years now, and it always pays off. Usually, seed crops will take over transplants within just a few weeks – and then far outgrow and produce them from there!
When planting, plant two to three seeds per mound, thinning to the best two seedlings after a few weeks. By growing multiple vines per mound, they intertwine for added strength. It also gives double the chance for yields. Affiliate Seed Link : Eden Brothers Cucumber Seed Varieties
#2 Crop Rotation
Cucumbers are highly susceptible to attacks from both pests and disease. Unfortunately, when you grow your plants in the same identical space year after year, both can already be present in the soil and ready to attack.
Once established, soil born diseases can live in the soil for three to five years. And when pests take up residence on a plant in a specific area, they often lay their eggs to continue to come back each and every growing season.
By planting your cucumbers in the same spot – you make it easy for both to harm your crop. But moving your crop annually has even more advantages. At the top of that list is that new soil provides fresh nutrients to power big growth.
If planted in the same soil, prior cucumber plants have often already used up the nutrients the new plants need most. Especially if the soil has not been amended with compost or a cover crop!
Always rotate your crop to a new location in the garden each season. This allows the soil to recover, minimizes disease, and reduces the possibility of long-term infestation. For best results, wait at least three years before rotating back to plant cucumbers in the same location.
When growing in raised beds or confined spaces, still try to rotate your cucumber plants to a new spot in the bed. In addition, add lots of compost to help replenish nutrients. Finally, if planting in containers, always change out the soil each year so that it is fresh and healthy.
#3 Plant With The Morning Sun In Mind – How To Grow Your Best Crop Of Cucumbers Ever!
If there is one thing you can do to give your plants a chance to stave off health issues and produce better – it’s to plant them with the morning sunlight in mind.
First and foremost, cucumbers need a lot of sunlight to produce well. The plant relies heavily on photosynthesis to build strong, sturdy and productive vines. Photosynthesis needs sunlight to work. To allow that to happen, always locate your crop in an area that receives a minimum of six to eight hours of sunlight each day.
However, and this can be a big helpful key to success, try to make sure some of that sunlight will be early morning sunlight!
Why? Because early morning sunlight helps to dry off vines and foliage from the morning dew. Dew that if left to linger, can create the perfect conditions for mildew and blight. Morning sunlight also gives your plants the best opportunity to get growing early with photosynthesis.
#4 Provide Your Plants With Great Soil – How To Grow Your Best Crop Of Cucumbers Ever!
Whether planted in the ground or in containers, cucumbers need rich, fertile soil to grow strong and thrive. In addition, that soil needs to be light, airy and drain well. This helps seeds germinate quick, and powers early growth.
Whether you are planting seeds or using transplants, good soil is vital. Without nutrients to absorb, cucumber plants simply can’t grow, mature and produce. The good news is that you can fill your soil with power right as you plant.
When planting, mix in 6 to 8 cups (a few shovels) of compost to each planting mound or area. Compost adds vital nutrients that can easily be absorbed by the cucumber plants. But even more, it also loosens the soil to create excellent drainage.
In addition to the compost, mix in a quarter cup of worm castings to the area as well. The worm castings/compost combo is one we rely on every year to provide a slow and steady source of power to our plants. It is honestly amazing how much energy the plants absorb from it! Affiliate Product Link: Pure Worm Castings
#5 Elevate The Soil Where You Plant – How To Grow Your Best Crop Of Cucumbers Ever!
Cucumber plants are highly susceptible to rot. But a bit of “raised planting” will help keep the main plant stem out of sitting water during heavy rains or watering.
For garden planting, create tapered mounds approximately 18 inches in diameter that are 3 to 4 inches high in the middle. And remember – add in compost and worm castings to the mounds when planting.= to energize the soil even more!
In raised beds and containers, make sure the primary area of soil where you plant your seeds or transplant is higher than the soil line around the edges. Keeping the main stem of your plants above surrounding soil is one of the best ways you can help your cucumber plants out.
#6 Fertilize Lightly, But Often – How To Grow Your Best Crop Of Cucumbers Ever!
Finally, fertilizing is a must! Even with the best power in the soil, your cucumber plants will need more energy to really bloom and produce. But how you give your plants that power will make a huge difference in their performance.
Cucumber plants need to be fed low, slow and consistently. Instead of fertilizing your plants one or two times with a big dose of nutrients, give them regular but lighter feedings every 10 to 14 days as they mature. The best way to do this is with a liquid fertilizer, compost tea, or worm casting tea.
Liquid fertilizers absorb both through the leaves and the roots. By keeping the doses lower, the plant can mature slowly and not use excess energy to grow massive stems and leaves. When vegetable plants get too much energy too quickly, they stop bloom production and concentrate only on growing more foliage.
If using a commercial liquid fertilizer, mix at half strength and apply every 10 to 14 days. When using worm casting or compost tea, you can use at full strength as these will not provide too much energy to the plants at once.
Once plants begin to fruit, you can back fertilizing off to every three to four weeks. Affiliate Product Link: Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Edibles Liquid Plant Nutrition
A Few Final Secrets On Growing Cucumbers
Once your plants begin to grow and produce, be sure to harvest on a regular basis. This will help keep new blooms and new fruit coming on continually.
Cucumbers left on the vine for too long will become woody, full of seeds and bitter. Not only do they taste bad, the overabundance also causes the plant to shut down new bloom production. This occurs because the plant spends all of its energy ripening and over-ripening the cucumbers already present.
Last but not least, if you do notice any damage on the leaves of plants during the season, remove them as quickly as possible. This can help keep mildew and other disease from spreading quickly and taking your plants out in the process.
Here is to following the six simple secrets for growing great cucumber plants. And to growing your biggest and best crop of cucumbers ever this year! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary.
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