Crispy crunchy cucumbers are a favorite of mine. Whether eating them straight off the vine, in a salad or as yummy dill pickles, these are always a part of my garden. My Mom made the best pickles ever using fresh cucumbers from our yearly garden. Here’s five tips for growing great cucumbers that will make them a welcome addition to your garden too.
1. Plant after the last frost. Cucumbers are a warm weather crop. Cucumber seeds will not sprout in cold soil. Plant cucumbers well after the last frost. The soil must be higher than fifty degrees Fahrenheit for them to sprout. They also grow better in warmer weather, so be sure to plant in a sunny location. Give them room to grow up as well.
2. Keep them off the ground. Cucumbers are highly susceptible to fungus. One of the best ways to keep them from growing fungus is to keep them off the ground. You can do this by using a trellis, cage or teepee for them to climb up. You can also plant them next to a chicken wire garden fence to avoid added expense. Fencing must allow light to come in.
3. Use sandy soil or cornmeal. Another way to keep fungus at bay is to mix your soil half and half with cornmeal or sand. You can also use a spray made from vinegar and water. Apply the spray weekly just before a watering. Dry molasses added to soil will discourage fungus as well. Be sure soil is well aerated for good drainage. Water only when soil is dry.
4. Avoid used soil. It’s not a good idea to plant cucumber in the same soil previously used by other vining plants. Vining plants take a lot of nutrition from the soil. They can also leave behind undetected fungus. Always use fresh soil when planting cucumbers and other vines. Make sure pots are sterile if you are a container gardener.
5. Watch for yellowing. When cucumbers begin turning yellow, it’s not always a sign of fungus. They could just need to be fertilized. Cucumbers need a lot of food to grow properly. Use a good nitrogen based fertilizer or compost tea on a weekly basis to keep them happy. If plants turn yellow despite being well fed, they could have a fungus. Fungus infected plants should be disposed of immediately to prevent fungus from spreading.