Growing Cucumbers


Latest Update 27th August 2017.

Cucumbers
  • I used to grow too many cucumber plants.  We couldn't keep up with them.
  • When they get to full size and start to turn yellow, they lose some of their crispness and taste, and I have to chop them up and feed them to my earthworms.
  • I now grow just a single cucumber plant in an Ecobin which is plenty for 2 people.  
  • Because they don't store well we harvest them as required.  They can be planted in our climate from September to February, so succession crops could be grown if required.
  • They are self pollinating with male and female flowers on each plant.  They depend on bees for pollination, but to ensure a good harvest you can hand pollinate them.
  • Take care harvesting cucumbers so you don't damage the vine.  I use clean sharp secateurs.
  • This is a vegetable best eaten raw in salads, sliced with skin on, but its good baked, pickled or in a vegetable soup. 
Details
  • Variety:                                                    Lebanese Mini Muncher & Lemon Cucumber.
  • Family group:                                           Curcubitaceae.
  • Crop rotation group:                                  Legumes.
  • Garden bed type:                                      Ecobin.
  • Recommended soil pH:                             5.5 - 7.0.
  • Minimum sun per day:                              8 hours.
  • Weeks to harvest:                                     8 - 10 weeks.
  • Good companions:                                    Corn. bean. pea. carrot. nasturtium.
  • Bad companions:                                      Sage. potatoes. rue. tomatoes.
  • Climate:                                                   Warm temperate.
  • Geography:                                              Southern hemisphere.
Nutrition
  • This food is low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol and sodium. 
  • It is a good source of vitamin A, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese, and a very good source of vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium.
  • More from nutrition data.self.com.
Maintaining Ecobed Productivity. 

  • Check out my blogpage which explains how I maintain productivity in my Ecobeds.  It describes how soil is prepared prior to planting, the importance of rainwater in Ecobeds, how to regulate the sun's intensity and how to feed plants through their leaves.
Propagating Seedlings. 

  • Check out my blogpage which explains how I propagate seeds.
Propagation Plan.

  • Check out my blogpage which tells you when to sow seeds.
Growing Instructions.
  • Propagate a cucumber plant from seed in an EcoPropagator and when ready plant it, in its jiffy pot, in the prepared bed.  
  • Provide a frame to support your climbing cucumber.  I use a star picket in the centre of the bed braced with wire against the rim of the Ecobin.
  • To encourage development of multiple runners, pinch out the leader shoots when the cucumber reaches the top of the star picket.  Tie the runners back to the star picket loosely with jute twine.
Pollination.
  • Cucumbers produce both male and female flowers on the same plant.  They are dependent on bees to pollinate them, and will not set fruit if bees are not regular visitors to your garden.  Herbs and other plants flowering at the same time as your cucumbers and grown nearby will encourage bees to visit and pollinate your crop.
  • In warm climates you should grow cucumbers as early as possible in the season because pollination is affected by high temperatures, and the balance of male to female flowers swings towards all male flowers when temperatures rise above 30 deg C.
  • To compensate for poor pollination by bees, you can hand pollinate your cucumbers see video by taking pollen from the male flower using a small paintbrush and depositing it on the stamen of the female flower. 
Harvesting and storage.
  • Harvest cucumbers from January.  This video shows you the different stages of development of cucumbers, and when its best to harvest them.
  • Its important to keep on top of harvesting them, because leaving fruit to grow too large stops the setting of new fruit and reduces your overall harvest.  They don't taste as good as smaller ones either.
  • I use sliced cucumbers on salads, in vegetable soup and in a relish with carrots.
  • Pickled cucumber is very nice using whole baby ones, and larger cucumbers can be sliced and pickled as well. 
Organic Pest Control.
  • Cucumbers, like most vegetables, are vulnerable to attack from certain pests in my garden.  My blog on "Controlling Garden Pests" explains a little about these pests and what to do to protect plants from them.  For details click on the appropriate link below.
  • Slugs and snails.
  • Greenhouse whitefly.
  • Powdery mildew.
  • Caterpillars.