The cucumber is a versatile vegetable that pretty much everyone loves in one form or another. The gentle, light flavor of this cool vegetable makes it wonderful in salads. Plus, without cucumbers, we wouldn’t have pickles! Not only are they delicious in their many forms, but cucumbers can also serve as an eye compress because they contain vitamins that help to reduce swelling, and they are especially comforting to sore eyes when they have been kept cool in the fridge!
If you’re anything like me, you go through a ton of cucumbers, which is a great reason to start growing your own! Below are some tips and tricks for growing delectable cucumbers right in your backyard.
Ensure you are in the right environment – Warm soil is an absolute must. Cucumber seeds are able to withstand hot summer weather and can grow rather rapidly when given the right environment.
Add compost – The cucumber plant prefers rich soil, so add compost before planting, and then supplement with a fertilizer and mulch as the plant matures.
Space your seeds appropriately – Although the plants are narrow, they do require a good amount of space when growing in the garden. The best way to grow cucumbers is to plant the seeds directly in the garden. The seeds should be planted 1/2 to 1 full inch deep, and about 1 foot apart from each other.
Provide support – Cucumbers will grow in a vine-like fashion, so feel free to plant them near a trellis for a beautiful background. Like tomatoes, some people prefer to use wire cages to support the plants. This is especially necessary in areas where there may be heavy winds.
Water your plants regularly – At the beginning stages of growth, adequate moisture is a must. Cucumbers require thorough watering, particularly in their germination stages, so be sure to water them on a regular basis.
Keep an eye on pests – Cucumber beetles are a common pest, so be sure to pay attention to this and take any steps necessary for elimination at the first sighting.
Harvest – You will know the cucumbers are ready for harvest when their skin transforms from a light to a darker green. You’ll want to harvest the vegetable before its seeds become hard. The plant grows rapidly, so the cucumbers should be harvested fairly quickly – pick them once every other day or so. It is a little-known fact that cucumbers are actually produced while the plant is still immature.