Cucumbers are a tasty, refreshing vegetable, filled with water, yet still they pack a great crunch! There are a number of cucumber varieties, but unfortunately, most grocery stores only sell the generic, large, dark green variety that is covered in wax! For people that appreciate the skin of the cucumber, that wax renders it almost completely useless.
To have one’s pick of a good selection of cucumbers whose skin have not been tampered with, one needs to either find a reputable farmer’s market or stand, or grow their own! The good news is, the cucumbers are very easy plants to cultivate. They grow well, rendering generous amounts of fruit per plant and taste even better out of one’s own soil than they do bought at a grocery store.
The bad news is that not every has room on their property for a garden. Not everyone has property to have room on! Many feel that limitations like these will relegate a person’s “green thumb” to tending flowers in window boxes. This simply isn’t so. There are a number of ways you can grow your own cucumber plants despite a lack of outdoor planting area. It all depends on how much you want to do it, and the way you will do it is pots.
Cucumbers grow very easily in pots and there’s only a few things that must be done for success. Before we get to those, let’s start with the basics. The first thing you should decide is whether to plant the seeds yourself or purchase already-potted plants. If you do it yourself, keep in mind that a 20 inch pot can grow up to 6 plants. By sowing the seeds yourself, you can decide how many to grow in each pot.
Timing is important. If you’re going to plant them yourself, you’ll want to get started between March and April. If you want them already planted for you, you’ll have to wait until May, but by making this choice, you’ll be narrowing the margin of error. You’ll also need to provide the plant with sunlight, at least 8 hours of it, in fact. This is one of the few things that are absolute musts. It’s OK to grow the plant indoors, but growing in the garage is probably not a good idea, unless you plan on using a sun alternative. You’ll need to make sure that wherever the plants grow, there is adequate access to sunlight, which, if grown indoors, means windows. You’ll also want to make sure the temperature these “cukes” are exposed to is constantly around 70. In this way, it’s sometimes better to keep the plants inside, where climates can be controlled and “killing frosts” can be avoided.
Another item that is an absolute must for your plants is water. I realize you probably consider this a given, but with your cucumbers, you must understand – if their soil gets dry, you’re killing them. As mentioned before, cucumbers are mostly water, so just like us, they need to be constantly hydrated. Letting the soil get dry for too long will result in hollow cucumbers, and what does come out ok will be poor in flavor, even bitter.
Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to watering is drainage and fertilizing. You’ll want to fertilize after you water. Also, keep in mind when selecting your pots that they will need holes at the bottom. If you’re concerned about soil leaking out, there are a variety of cloths you can use, including planting cloths, cheese cloths, or just plain old rags you have lying around (washed first). If you really want a good discounted option, use newspaper. You just put the newspaper in the bottom of the pot before laying the soil in. Works like a charm.
It’s up to you whether you want your plant to grow on a trellis or let the vines gather around the ground. A trellis is a good idea, because it saves space and keeps the fruit off of the ground
Lastly, the picking! Pick them small, don’t let the plant put out too many. If the fruit stays on the vine too long, the plant stops producing.