I previously wrote about my first foray into container gardening. One of my favorite vegetables is the cucumber, which I love to use in salads, as a replacement for crackers and for general snacking. Cucumbers contain several anti-oxidants and the cucurbitacins that are present in cucumbers have been getting some press recently for their possible cancer fighting properties. I’m no doctor, but anything that tastes good and has things that help my body are a win-win in my book!
My first cucumber plant was a seedling from the local nursery which I started in a 5-gallon plastic pot. The cucumber plant grew much faster than I had envisioned, and after a short period of time I realized that I needed to either let it cover my entire patio or install some type of trellis system and grow it vertically. I decided to grow it up and put a Tomato cage around it to offer some support. The tomato cage worked ok at first, but after a month or two it had outgrown it and I didn’t have any other choice but to let the plant grow where it wanted to.
After about two months (I started super early) of growing cucumbers I realized that I had plenty of time to grow more. I had an extra Earthbox available so I followed the Earthbox planting guide and planted four Marketmore cucumbers. It didn’t take long and these plants started to grow out of control and produce tons of flowers and tiny cucumbers. Given my previous experience I decided to trellis these with 6 foot supports, so I picked up two 6′ tall pieces of bamboo and placed them in the sides of the earthbox. I then tied these off to a rail and used twine every 12″ or so to give the plants support. This worked GREAT, and my plants have now hit the 6′ mark and are still growing. They are also producing one to two cucumbers a DAY, and booooy do they taste delicious!!!
For those who like to see veggies here ya go:
My first try at growing cucumbers went extremely well. We are picking cucumbers daily, and other than filling the Earthboxes with water there is ZERO maintenance. This has definitely been a set it and forget it experience. To allow me to remember everything for next season, I figured I would summarize my thoughts on growing cucumbers:
– You need to have pollinators for your cucumbers.
– Make sure your cucumbers get plenty of water and nutrients. Water especially!
– Growing cucumbers vertically reduces space and provides easier access.
– Prune off the runners or your plant will quickly get out of hand.
– Cucumbers can be pollinated by hand.
– Cucumbers do wonderful in Earthboxes.
– Lady bugs are great for patrolling your leaves for pests.
Cucumbers are also super easy to start from seed, and all four of my marketmore cucumbers were started from seed. To start my cucumbers from seed I grabbed a natural coffee filter and ran it under water to moisten it. I placed 8 seeds in the coffee filter and then folded it over and placed it in a zip lock bag. I left the bag out on my patio for a couple of days in the shade and when I came back to it ALL of the seeds had sprouted. I picked four of the larger sprouts and placed them in small pots filled with a combination of seed starting and potting mix. I kept watering the pots and transplanted the seedlings approximately two weeks later. I’m hoping to test out some alternative methods to sprouting next spring. Specifically I want to try the tupperware greenhouse method as well as a soil cube. There are so many things I want to experiment with!!!