Growing Tips: Cucumbers (Garden)

Quick Reference:

Plant seed 1/4 inch deep. Germination: 7 to 14 days. In the garden cluster 2 or 3 plants in a group (Hill) with each group (Hill) 4 to 5 feet apart. Plants must be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost for transplanting to the garden. Using plastic pots plant 1 or 2 seeds per pot.

When and where to plant:

Cucumbers like warm, sunny weather and warm soils making them a greenhouse crop in most of Alaska but some early varieties can be grown outdoors in select warm interior areas through clear plastic. Cucumber roots are tender and the seedlings must be transplanted with care. It is preferred that the seed be started where the plants will grow all season but the soil temperature must be at least 50 degrees F for seed to germinate. Where soils are colder than 50 degrees F at planting time, start seed indoors 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost, planting 2 or 3 seeds in individual four inch plastic pots filled with a good rich loam. The plastic pots allow the roots to slide out easily when they are transplanted. After the last frost, transplant outdoors in a rich, well drained soil. For the best success outdoors, plant on a mound 8 to 10 inches high by 12 to 14 inches wide at the top with a slight indentation in the center, apply plant food then cover the mound with clear plastic securing all 4 edges of the plastic with soil in trenches. Make a "X" slit the plastic in the center of the mound, dig a hole under the "X" for the seedling and fill the hole with water. After the pots are watered carefully slide the moist root ball out of the plastic pot, place the root ball in the hole and press the soil around it. Water immediately to help reduce transplant shock. Water and apply plant food through the slits and ignore the weeds that will grow under the plastic, they will not mature. The clear plastic traps hot air to warm the soil. Use a clear plastic windbreak on the windward side to keep cool breezes off plants and cover plants on cool nights. Cucumbers do well in a greenhouse when planted in 5 gallon containers filled with rich loam and there is adequate ventilation and temperature control. If plants do become overheated and wilt, production will slow or cease.

Care:

Water so the soil is moist deep down, and apply a liquid solution of plant food every 2 weeks.

Harvest:

Keep fruit picked to encourage new fruit, Pick carefully so vine is not damaged.