Caring for Cucumbers

Mulching Cucumbers

Folks who are trying to get an early start on the cucumber growing season use black plastic mulch to warm the soil before planting their seedlings. This system works fine in the spring, but that plastic mulch creates a couple of problems in the summer--it seems to attract squash bugs, who like to hide under it, and it interferes with watering the soil beneath. So here is our recommendation. Use the black plastic in the spring to get a jump on the season. Then, in June, cut out the black plastic from around the cucumber plants and replace it with an organic mulch such as chopped leaves, hay or straw. About 3 to 4 inches of organic mulch will cool the soil, allow water to soak through, and keep down the weeds. Squash bugs may still inhabit the organic mulch, but predators such as spiders and ants will also be present.
For more information see file
Mulching The Vegetable Garden.

Watering Cucumbers

Cucumbers are among the thirstiest of vegetables. They like a consistent 1 inch of water a week during the spring, which should be increased to about 2 inches of water a week in the heat of July and August. An undependable water supply produces misshapen, bitter-tasting fruits. Water the plants when the top 4 inches of soil is dry or when the leaves are wilted in the morning. Cucumber leaves naturally wilt in the heat of July’s afternoon sun; don’t panic. One way to avoid that problem is to use drip irrigation set on a mechanical or computer-watering timer to deliver water.
For more information see file
Watering The Vegetable Garden.

Fertilizing Cucumbers

Cucumbers need some fertilizer in the soil when they are planted (a slow-acting granular fertilizer) and then like a foliar spray of a liquid fertilizer every three to four weeks during the growing season; however, if the soil has high organic content, the foliar spray is optional.
For more information see file
Fertilizing The Vegetable Garden.

Cucumber Health Insurance – For Better Production

There are several relatively new organic products available that when applied to cucumbers plants as a foliar spray, the disease resistance of the plant increases considerably and the plant’s ability to resist pest insects also goes way up.  In addition these products help insure the best health of the plant which leads to the largest fruit with the highest nutrition possible at harvest. 

Two products serve this benefit –They are Vegetable Thrive and Liquid Kelp.  You get the results if you foliar feed these two products on all the leaves of the cucumber plants once a month until harvest is completed.

Managing The Cucumber Trellis System

Cucumbers are reluctant climbers. To help train them, you can buy special tie-ups at the garden center. Or tie heavy twine through the springs of two clothespins, and clamp the pins to the trellis on each side of the vine. This method lets you adjust the tension on the twine and move it up or down the trellis without tying and untying a lot of knots hidden by foliage. If you are not growing a vining type cucumber on a trellis there is one trick called “tucking” that allows you to save some space. As the cucumber vines begin to reach 3 or 4 feet in length, begin taking the ends and tucking back under the foliage to grow back into the mass of the plant. This technique does not affect plant growth, pollination or production; it just saves some space.

Professional pruning technique - Prune excess growth to a single stem for each plant.  For the first three leaf nodes pinch out all side shoots and flowers -- cucumber plats grow their side shoots and flower buds (which become cucumbers) fron the angles (nodes) where the big leaves attach to the stem.  After that, leave one flower bud per node, but continue to pinch out side shoots.  As it grows, tie the stem to the trellis support.  The result will be a beautiful vertical cucumbrt plant with a long, straight fruit hanging down every six inches or so.  
For more information see the file
Vertical Growing In Vegetable Gardens


Remember, the more you pick, the more fruit the plant will produce.


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