Reginald is a retired educator with a passion for gardening. For the past 30 years, he has proven techniques and loves sharing with others.
How to Grow Cucumbers Vertically
Growing vegetables vertically is not a new science but rather a fantastic way of gardening. It serves the home gardener in so many ways for certain vegetables like the cucumber. This article will explain How to Grow Cucumbers Vertically. Read on, and I will show you why growing your cucumbers vertically will be beneficial. By the end of the article, you will understand how to produce a great crop of this perennial favorite.
Why Grow Cucumbers Vertically?
If you are like me, the cucumber is a favorite addition to a salad or just by itself. I can't get enough. And then is the supermarket. The prices of these gems are going up and up. What's the remedy to this situation? Grow them in your home garden!
The cucumber is a vegetable that takes up a lot of square footage when growing on the ground. One plant can spread itself over a large area in no time. What this does is take valuable space away from other plants in your garden.
Let's say you have limited space in your garden. This then would be a huge problem. Another situation with planting cucumbers and letting them go wild is a prelude to fungal disease. This happens to the leaves and spreads to other plants.
The cucumber plant has spiraling tendrils that love to attach to an object that is higher than the plant. They are trying to reach for the sun. Let's help and grow them vertically. One of the best methods of growing cucumbers vertically is in Raised Beds.
Using the concept of growing cucumbers vertically eliminates many of these problems and adds some additional advantages.
- The cucumber leaves have a better shot at the sun as they spread out on a vertical surface.
- Plants can breathe better with more air circulating them.
- A vertical structure for the cucumbers allows you easier access for the care of the plants.
- Cucumbers hanging on a vertical structure will grow straight.
- A cucumber plant growing vertically entails less weeding.
- Making a vertical structure gives your garden a very nice defined look.
Types of Cucumbers to Grow Vertically
Although there many varieties of cucumber, there are basically two types. They are Slicing and Pickling.
The slicing cucumber is the most popular and the choice for our salads. Typically this type grows to between 5" and 7" long. With the proper conditions, the slicing cucumber will grow quickly for an abundant harvest. Before planting your cucumber, check the label to see what type and variety you will be growing.
Cucumbers growing to about 3 to 4 inches long and 1 inch wide are categorized as the pickling type. They are ideal for pickling with brine, sugar, vinegar, and assorted spices because of their small size.
To clarify, any cucumber can be pickled, but the small cucumber is the choice for commercial use worldwide.
Successful Tips For Growing Cucumbers Vertically
Study the tips below as they will serve you well for successfully growing your cucumbers.
Growing great cucumbers starts with a good foundation. And that is the soil! Whether they are in the ground, a raised bed, or containers, they need well-drained soil. The roots of a cucumber plant will grow between 36 and 48 inches. Read about the best soil for your garden.
The cucumber plant requires at least 5 hours of daily sun. To grow well, they need the temperature to be 70 degrees or higher.
When planting your young plants, give them at least 12" - 18" of space between each one. As the plant grows, you will see how much vertical space it will take up. Just stand back and admire it. Then salute!
To be healthy, we are supposed to drink 8 cups of water daily. To be healthy cucumber plants, it is required that we give at least 1" - 2" of water per week. Without this regimented amount of watering, the plants will give you less product. Your efforts will be wasted. You will need to water by hand daily or install a drip irrigation system.
There are three chemical elements that you need to remember when growing vegetables in your garden. Below is a basic outline of these elements as they apply to your cucumber plants.
Cucumber plants need an even amount of these three nutrients:
- Nitrogen – helps the plant to grow healthy leaves and stems.
- Potassium – fights disease, produces faster-growing plants.
- Phosphorous – produces a strong root system along with fruit and flowers.
Before planting your young plants, add a small amount of granular fertilizer to the bottom of the hole where the plant will go. Mix it in the soil, then the plant. The fertilizer will have three numbers on the bag. They represent the chemicals above. An organic feltilizer10-10-10 or 12-12-12 is good.
The last step to giving your cucumber plants a great place to grow is the process of mulching. This is very important as it helps keep the moisture in the soil. It also with weed control.
Depending on the size of your garden will determine the amount of mulch you purchase. I find that with smaller gardens, bags of mulch purchased at a garden center will do the trick.
Types of Vertical Methods for Cucumbers
Methods for growing cucumbers vertically are almost endless. By this, I mean that every garden situation is different. For your garden, you need to stand back and look at your garden area. Use your imagination and visualize what your cucumbers will look like on a vertical structure. Make a paper drawing or design of what you want your garden to look like.
The next step would be to decide how many cucumbers you would like to harvest. This will determine the type of vertical structure and how big it will be. Your cucumbers could be growing on a system made from wood, metal, or just string.
For this article's purpose, I will shift my terminology to use the term "trellis." The word trellis is easy for most people to work with when talking about growing vegetables vertically.
Depending on how elaborate you wish to get with your trellis will determine the materials used in its construction. A simple trellis can be two metal or wooden stakes pushed in the ground with twine drawn from one to the other.
Using pre-made trellises of metal or wood is a quick fix and will certainly decorate your area. Several retail outlets have these on display.
If you are handy with tools, you may want to build your own decorative trellis. Remember that smart gardening requires the rotation of your crops. By this, I mean you can’t have your cucumbers in the same spot next year. You could, though, have your beans in that spot, and your cucumbers moved to another spot next year.
Simple Trellis Ideas According to Strength
Easy or Difficult to Build
1. Horta Nova Trellis Netting
Made of heavy-duty nylon. (Fishing Line) The strongest support for the money.
42” H x 352’ L. $54.95 Online, Big Box Store, Nursery
Easy to make with support posts every 6' - 8' apart.
2. Cattle Panel (heavy #4 gauge wire)
Strongest support. It will get extremely hot and may harm the plants.
Can be very expensive if you need lots of vertical room. 2’ x 8’ - $16.00 Online, Big Box Store, Nursery
Easy to put up using wooden or metal stakes
3. Nylon/Cotton Trellis Netting
Very durable when used with a good support post every 6 feet.
5’ x 15’ - $3.99 Online, Big Box Store, Nursery
Easy to install
4. Tomato Cages
Fairly durable until the plant grows beyond the cage.
Tomato Cages 42” - wire cage $2.98 ea. Online, Big Box Store, Nursery
Push the tomato cage stakes into the ground at the time your young plant is planted.
5. White Plastic Lattice
Very durable but does block airflow and sunlight to the plants to a degree.
1/8" x 48" x 8' $19.99
You need to make a frame for each piece. Not a simple job.
Home gardening should be fun. If it isn't, don't do it. It becomes a chore, and nobody likes chores. I hope this article on How to Grow Cucumbers Vertically has given you some tips and ideas for your garden.
How you become a good gardener is by trial and error. I do have one more suggestion. Visit your friends and relatives who have gardens. Pick their brains. Picking up tips from these people makes your garden worth working on.
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.
© 2021 Reginald Thomas