Written by - Kaitlynn from MIgardener
Spring has officially arrived! This is the perfect time of year to brush up on your knowledge of growing techniques. Here at MIgardener, we want to share all of our favorite growing secrets; from our garden to yours. As you read through this post, you'll find there is nothing simpler than growing organic!
Cucumbers are one of the most dynamic veggies in the world. Whether you want to grow them for pickling , salads, juices, or smoothies, nothing can match the flavor of a home grown cucumber! Cucumbers are classified by their two primary uses: slicing and pickling types. Slicing varieties can be used for pickling if they are harvested early, but pickling varieties normally aren't recommended for fresh eating. For more info on the stunning nutritional value of cucumbers, be sure to check out this fantastic video!
Let's get started.
It's important to have loose soil when planting cucumbers. Amend dense soil with compost and sand. Drainage will be easier with loose soil.
Find and all purpose fertilizer to release nutrients all season long. We use Trifecta+. If you aren't using trifecta, try to find an all purpose fertilizer that slightly higher in nitrogen. The nitrogen will encourage leaf growth, which will help the plant establish well in order to produce fruit.
Avoid extremes on the ph scale. Do a soil test to make sure the soil has a neutral ph between 6 and 7. If soil is too acidic or alkaline, add more compost to balance out the ph.
Direct, full sun. 5-7 hours minimum, but ideally cucumbers can receive up to 9 hours of sunlight on long summer days. The best way to plant your cucumbers is east to west facing, this way they are guaranteed sunlight all throughout the day.
Cucumbers like even soil moisture, but they will struggle to survive if they are watered too often. The most useful way to water them is to soak the plant deep into the roots and then let the soil dry completely before soaking again. This makes them one of the easier vegetables to grow. They are forgiving if you forget to water them on hot days. They will take in excess moisture from the soil before they noticeably dry up.
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Certain bush varieties don't spread out in the garden as much as vining varieties, so they require much less space in order to flourish. Plant bush varieties 1-1 1/2 feet apart. This way will give them enough room to grow up without competition.
To save space, plant vining varieties on a trellis. Space trellised plants 1 and 1/2 ft apart to allow for better airflow. To plant vining varieties in the ground, build up a mound of soil and plant them about 3ft apart. The abundance of space will allow for better airflow and will help the plant become resistant against powdery mildew. Powdery mildew occurs because of moisture, so extra airflow keeps the leaves dryer between dew, rain, and watering cycles.
Harvest once cucumbers reach the desired size. Harvest pickling cucumbers daily. Remove any fruit from the vine that you won't use or production will cease. The fruit will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. For best quality, use pickling cucumbers immediately.