A popular addition to sandwiches and crunchy salads, cucumbers might sounds like a daunting and scary vegetable to grow in your garden, but it’s easy than you might think. This vegetable can be grown from the start of Spring right up to the end of Summer, and will be ready to harvest in 6-8 weeks!
What you’ll need:
Small Flower pots
Sow seeds indoors
To start off, you’ll need to plant 2 seeds 3cm/1 inch deep in small plastic pots or you could even use polystyrene/ cardboard cups. Plant this in general purpose potting mix soil and water well. To germinate, cucumbers need temperatures of at least 20 degrees, so while these start off indoors, you could place them on the window sill or on the top of your gas/water heater to ensure the soil is nice and warm. Leave these indoors for 2-3 weeks.
While the seeds germinate…
During the germination process, you could start to collect any clippings of grass and kitchen waste such as vegetables or eggs shells to make a fresh compost. This will give the new plants lots of nutrients and ensure they have the best chances of growing lots of cucumbers. Collect this into a tub and buy some multi compost to go alongside it, as well as some top soil. Start to plan where you’re going to create your vegetable bed for cucumbers. This should be in a spot that gets around 4-6 hours of sunlight during the day. Once you’ve picked your spot, dig in the soil and compost.
Keep the best seedlings
Once the seedlings start to appear (this should happen in 2-4 weeks), remove the weakest plant to leave just one cucumber plant per pot, ensuring the plant is always in moist soil.
Once the plants have reached around 4 inches tall, you can remove these from indoor pots to your outdoor soil beds. The best material to plant these cucumbers in are rich, fertile soils, so dig in well-rotted compost, and use fresh compost if you’ve got some. Set plants around 45cm/ 18 inches apart and place next to your trellis, this is what the cucumber plants will use to grow upwards on. Once they’ve been planted, generously water enough for the water to reach around 3 inches deep into the soil and compost to get to the roots.
As an option, you can use fertiliser on your plants to encourage growth and promote nutrients, these are easily found at garden centres. You can start using this as soon as you’ve planted your vegetables, every 2 weeks.
Nourish with water
Make sure you water regularly for the best results! Stick your finger into your soil and if it is dry beyond the first joint of your finger, you’ll know they need a top up. Try and water around 1 inch at least once a week, ensuring you only water the roots, avoiding the leaves to prevent the plant from getting diseases. Once veg starts to appear, you’ll need to up the watering to around 1 gallon a week.
In around 6 weeks, cucumbers should start to appear on your plants. These will be around hand size vegetables, letting them grow too big will mean they start to taste bitter towards the ends. It’s best to pick these while they’re still small and tender by cutting through the stalk with a sharp knife. As soon as this vegetable starts to appear, you’ll want to check this plant everyday, looking underneath the large leaves in case any cucumbers are hiding.
Toss into a salad and enjoy!
These vegetables are suitable for freezing, and are best enjoyed as soon as you’ve picked them. Store in the fridge for freshness and consume within 1-2 weeks.
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