Hi I'm Tricia an organic gardener. I grow organically for a healthy and safe food supply for a clean and sustainable environment for an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Cucumbers are a delicious and easy vegetable to grow in the garden i'll show you how. Cucumbers are Cucurbits this family contains watermelon, squash, melons, gourds and pumpkins. Cucumbers tolerate a broad range of soils but their favorite soil is loose well drained and with a slightly acidic pH between six and seven. Before planting the cucumbers I worked some compost into the soil, this will help provide drainage and organic matter. Cucumbers sprawl so they take up a lot of space my cucumbers sprawl right out over the raised bed. If you don't have tall raised beds you can trellis your cucumbers vertically so that they take up less space and keep the fruit off the ground, vertical trellising also encourages nice straight growth for slicers and increased light to the plants and air circulation helps prevent some fungal diseases.
I direct seeded these plants after the danger of frost was passed and when the soil heated up to about fifty degrees. Plant the seeds a half an inch deep, plant two to three seeds every foot if you're trellising, if you're not plant four to five seeds in a hill spaced four to five feet apart. I'm planting Sumter cucumbers which are disease resistant to powdery mildew and other mildews and other diseases you should be sure and plant disease-resistant varieties for diseases that are prevalent in your area. After your seeds have sprouted you wanna thin them to about one plant every foot for the trellis method and for the hill method three plants per hill. Cucumbers can also be started indoors about three to four weeks before the last frost. Cucurbits like cucumbers don't like their roots disturbed, you can start them in trays as long as you have big cells however they prefer to be started in pots that can be planted directly in the ground like the cow pots, the coco pots or the soil blockers.
When your cucumbers start vining and you see the tendrils coming off the stems thats time to side dress with a little bit of all-purpose fertilizer you can mulch them as well to help conserve water. Cucumbers are shallow rooted plants so it's important to keep them well watered. One of the most serious pests for cucumbers and other Cucurbits is the cucumber beetles, not only do they eat the plants but they can spread diseases like mosaic virus and bacterial wilt, you can cover your cucumbers with this Agribond floating row cover which will help protect them from cucumber beetles. Make sure to remove the row cover when the plants start to flower so that the pollinators can get in and do their thing. You can trap out or monitor the cucumber beetles with these adhesive traps this trap is attractive to four different species of cucumber beetle, if you find the insects stuck to the trap come out at night and dig around the stem of the plants to make sure that you don't have any larva if you do make sure and destroy them.
Cucumbers need to be pollinated, they set male flowers which are these skinny ones and female flowers where the immature cucumber is visible, if cucumbers don't get proper pollination they can grow misshapen. Make sure you plant flowers in your garden to attract bees and other pollinators. Harvest your cucumbers in the morning when the turgor pressure is at its highest, turgor pressure is like blood pressure for vegetables it's what makes them crisp instead of limp. You can pick them from two inches long up to when they start to turn yellow slicers are usually harvested when they're one to one-and-a-half inches in diameter. Cut the stem about a quarter of an inch or so above the cucumber, the more cucumbers you pick the more you get so try to come out and harvest every other day. Cucumbers can be bitter but that's more based on what kind of variety you're growing rather than any cultural practices and peeling them can remove the bitterness so grow your cucumbers and grow organic for life!