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Grow a Healthy Crop of Cucumbers

Marlene is an urban farmer who enjoys preparing meals from fruits and vegetables grown in her garden. Her friends call her "Garden Girl"!

Huge cucumber harvested from my garden.

Huge cucumber harvested from my garden.

Growing Cucumbers

Of all the vegetables in my garden, I find cucumbers to be the easiest to grow. I start with seeds each year and watch them grow into enjoyable produce that can be eaten raw, as well as cooked in soups and stews.

It is easy to start cucumbers in a small starting pot. Plant 2 - 3 seeds 1-inch deep in each pot. Pat the soil down lightly and keep soil evenly moist. You will start to see seedlings in about 7-14 days. When the seedlings are about 2" - 3" tall, they are ready to be transferred to your outdoor garden. Plant about 6" to 8" apart in hills 36" apart.

Cucumbers become mature and are ready to harvest in about 55 days. My husband and I planted the Garden Sweet Burpless Hybrid cucumber which is known to get at least 10" long. We planted our seeds on June 6, 2019 and harvested a 12" cucumber on July 25, 2019 (49 days).

Cucumbers are a vine-growing vegetable that can grow from one to six feet tall. You will need a large area to grow cucumbers because they can sprawl as much as 6 feet in length. On the other hand, you can train your vine to grow up a trellis or fence which actually makes it easy to see the fruit as it grows.

Because cucumbers feed heavily on nitrogen, they require a well-drained, highly fertile soil to grow. The soil bed should be at least 6 to 8 inches deep for the roots to provide adequate nurishment to the plant. Cucumbers grow best in soil that is a pH level of 7.0. Water them well. When you water your cucumbers, give them at least an inch of water.

When To Plant Cucumbers

Plant cucumbers in the spring, after the last frost.

To find the last frost date for your area, use the free online tool provided by The Old Farmer's Almanac. Enter a zip code in the search box and you will discover the area's Altitude, Last Spring Frost Date, First Fall Frost Date, and the number of days in the Growing Season.

Will Cucumbers Grow In Your Area?

Cucumbers grow heartily in plant hardiness zones 4-12. A plant hardiness zone is a numbering system developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is based on the climate in a particular location. The number helps you determine which plants are likely to do well in your garden.

Use USDA's free online interactive map to discover your plant hardiness zone. All you need is your zip code and the map will show you your zone number.

How Many Plants Should You Grow?

Cucumbers are prolific growers. In fact, four or five plants will supply a moderate consumption of cucumbers for a family of four through the summer.

Video Tells How To Grow Cucumbers Like A Pro

The following video by master gardener, Ed Buker, also known as, “Farmer Ed” shows you how to plant and grow cucumbers like a pro. Get additional gardening tips on how and when to plant, plus how to train your cucumber plant to climb up a trellis.

Today's Harvest - Cucumber

My husband and I have a small garden on our property and each day we select something from the garden to prepare for that evening's meal.

Today's harvest was a huge 12" cucumber.

I decided to make a simple cucumber salad to go with the BBQ'd chicken already planned for dinner.

I found this easy-to-make cucumber salad on the Betty Crocker website. I modified it a bit for my own taste. This is a very light and crisp salad. It is made with a tangy vinegar marinate and goes well with any meat or seafood dish.

Easy Cucumber Salad

This tangy cucumber salad was made with a cucumber harvested from my garden.

This tangy cucumber salad was made with a cucumber harvested from my garden.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

3 hours

3 hours 10 min

Serves 6 people

Ingredients

  • 2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup cider or white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dill weed, finely chopped, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped, optional

Instructions

  1. Place the cucumbers in a small glass or plastic bowl. Note: Since my cucumber was extremely large, it was the equivalence of four average-sized cucumbers. So, I sliced up and used only 1/2 of my cucumber.
  2. Place the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pepper into a glass container that has a tight-fitting lid. Place the lid on the container and shake well. Pour this mix over the cucumbers. Cover the cucumber dish with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to blend the flavors. Note: I used a Mason jar for this step.
  3. Drain the cucumbers.
  4. Sprinkle with dill weed and/or parsley.
  5. Serve. To store this dish, cover it and keep it in the refrigerator.

Additional Salad Options

Some people include some or all of the following in their cucumber salad:

  • Thinly sliced red onions
  • Thinly sliced black olives
  • Finely grated carrots, and
  • Thinly sliced tomatoes

Note: Because this is a light salad, other vegetables should be sliced thinly so that they do not overwhelm the flavor of the cucumbers and so that they can absorb the marinade evenly.

Cucumber Trivia

Botanists believe cucumbers originated in India, then traveled to Africa and Southeast Asia before arriving in North America.

When someone says they are “as cool as a cucumber,” they mean they are calm and unruffled.

I can see my competitors sweating, and I am cool as a cucumber.

— Adam Rippon, American Figure Skater

Resources

Aggie Horticulture, via Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

Cucumbers, via Cornell University Growing Guide.

First and Last Frost Dates, via The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Interactive Zone Heartiness Map, via United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Nutrition Information for Raw Fruits, Vegetables, and Fish, via US Food and Drug Information.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Marlene Bertrand

Comments

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 16, 2020:

Hello Casey White. I think a lot of success from growing cucumbers comes from starting with good soil. I have found that if I start with seedlings indoors, then the plant has a better chance of survival. Good luck with your crop next spring.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 16, 2020:

Thank you Umesh Chandra Bhatt. I do hope you have a chance to try growing cucumbers. They are so very easy to grow.

Casey White from Tennessee on October 15, 2020:

I have failed at growing cucumbers 2 years in a row. For some reason they never grew more than a few inches. This is a useful post with good information. I'm hoping to learn more about growing them to prepare for next year's planting.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 10, 2020:

Nice and useful information. Well presented.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 10, 2020:

Thank you Brian. This is a simple recipe and as soon as my cucumbers are harvested, this is the first recipe I'm going to make with them.

Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on June 09, 2020:

I bookmarked this hub under Recipes-Salads.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on May 11, 2020:

Hi James! Cucumbers are very easy to grow. I believe you will be very successful with your crop.

James C Moore from The Great Midwest on May 10, 2020:

I justed planted cucumbers for the first time. I'll be referring to this hub during the growing season.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on April 26, 2020:

Hello Rajan! One thing I look forward to each season is the produce from the cucumber vine. It is so easy to grow and the flavor of fresh cucumbers can't be beat.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 26, 2020:

I love cucumber and try to have it at least once a day. Thanks for sharing the cucumber salad recipe.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on April 22, 2020:

Hello Aurelio,

One of my favorite vegetables to grow is cucumbers. They are quick, easy, and taste best fresh from the garden. And by the way, thank you very much for sharing.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on April 22, 2020:

I'm not a vegetable grower but I have friends who have backyard gardens and do grow cucumbers. I'll forward your article to them.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on March 17, 2020:

Hi Audrey,

I am so happy you like this recipe. As for me and my garden, cucumbers are the easiest veggie for me to grow.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on February 17, 2020:

With only 16 calories in a cup, cucumbers are a lifesaver for me when I want to snack. Your recipe for cucumber salad is wonderful! This is on my list for tomorrow's lunch. Thanks for this informative article about growing cucumbers.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on November 21, 2019:

Hi Luis, I enjoy cucumbers because they are very easy to grow and because they have become one of my favorite things to eat. I enjoy eating them raw as a snack and also putting sliced cucumbers in a salad.

Luis G Asuncion from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines on November 21, 2019:

Few years back cucumber is not my type. However, as I am getting older, cucumber became part of my top20 in my list.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 26, 2019:

Thank you Aurelio. Cucumbers are absolutely fun and easy to grow and the cucumbers are so delicious.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on October 23, 2019:

Thanks for this info. If ever I decide to plant cucumbers, I'll know where to go.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on September 11, 2019:

Indeed, Nithya Venkat, they are very refreshing in salads. And, cucumbers are prolific growers so I always have plenty to share with friends.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 04, 2019:

Cucumbers are refreshing and are great in a salad. You have made growing cucumbers easy, it is a great feeling when we prepare veggies that we have grown minus the pesticides. Thank you for sharing the recipe will try it.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on July 31, 2019:

Dora you are so kind with words. And, thank YOU for sharing. I did not know cucumber skins have insulin. I like to eat the skin, but my husband doesn't like the bitterness. Normally, when I include cucumbers in a dish I make a batch with the skin on and a batch with the skin off. It's just the two of us, so it's not a big deal. But, now after reading your comment, I want to learn more about the benefits of cucumbers.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 31, 2019:

Thank you for sharing. You make the growing seem easy enough. Interested especially after reading that cucumber skins might have some insulin. Thanks also for the salad idea.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on July 30, 2019:

Ha! Larry you are so right. Cucumbers are my all-around favorite vegetable.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on July 30, 2019:

Hello Chitrangada! I am so glad you found this article helpful. You will enjoy the extra fresh flavor of cucumbers when you grow them yourself.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on July 30, 2019:

Hi Linda,

I agree, cucumbers make salads taste extra delicious. I also enjoy eating them sliced all by themselves. Better than potato chips! They are so easy to grow, I could not see having a garden without them.

Larry Slawson from North Carolina on July 30, 2019:

Nothing better than a good cucumber! Thank you for sharing!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 30, 2019:

Cucumbers are in our menu, almost everyday. There are many nice recipes, and they have so many health benefits. But I had no idea, how to grow them. It’s a great feeling, when you have grown them yourself.

Thanks for sharing the details, through your well illustrated and well explained article. Now, I would follow your instructions.

Thank you.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 29, 2019:

I've never grown cucumbers, but I'm tempted to after reading your article. Thanks for sharing the instructions and the recipe. I think cucumber slices are a great addition to a salad.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on July 29, 2019:

Hi Eric, I like that you can grow them all year long. Because of how much I enjoy them, I wish I could, too.

I think there is a little bit of effort involved with taking the seeds from cucumbers and growing them. When I researched about it, it seemed like it was easier to run to the store and buy the seeds than the extended process of fermenting the seeds, drying the seeds and everything else involved. Which makes me wonder how Mother Nature does it like it's no biggie.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on July 29, 2019:

Hi Devika, congratulations on your success with cucumbers. I do enjoy them in salads, too.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 29, 2019:

I just love this. I theoretically I can grow them year round. "Baby" ones are our favorites.

Did I miss about them "going to seed". I mean can I take the seeds out of one or just kind of let one "melt into the ground?

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 29, 2019:

We did too, planted this season and had a few. Like this hub on cucumbers. Easy to grow and the best to have in salads.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on July 28, 2019:

Bill, I get you! We have a mint plant that came up out of nowhere! We're keeping it! But, one of the first things on our planting list every year is cucumbers. They are so delicious. I like to slice them thin and eat them instead of potato chips.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 28, 2019:

They are so easy to grow that we have one growing this year that we didn't plant this year. LOL I love it when that happens.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on July 27, 2019:

Hello Patricia! I don't know why, but cucumbers seem to be very easy for me to grow. The locals say it's the soil. Could be. Thank you for stopping by. Many blessings to you Patricia.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 27, 2019:

I would love to. But cucumbers have never been something I have had success growing. Maybe one day. Thank you for sharing Angels headed your way this evening ps

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on July 27, 2019:

Hi Pamela. Gardening is such a relaxing activity for me. I was looking for something quick and easy to make with the cucumber and the cucumber salad was perfect.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 27, 2019:

I use to grow cucumbers, and I have used a recipe just like the excellent one you posted. I can't have a garden anymore, and I sure do miss it. This is a good article for a delicious vegetable.