The cucumber is a vegetable plant of the cucurbitaceae family, and is therefore related to melon and squash. Rather easy to grow, some basic care allows for an abundant harvest throughout the summer.
Note that the procedure is essentially the same for all types of cucumbers (including pickles).
When to plant cucumbers?
Sowing at home
As early as April, you can leave the cucumber plant, which you transplant to the garden once all risk of frost has passed. Plant 3-4 seeds in buckets filled with soil mixed with compost and keep the temperature at 20°C. When the outside temperature is warm enough, the small plants can be transplanted to the garden.
Cucumber growing in the garden
Once spring is here to stay, you can plant the small cucumber plants that you have sown (or bought at the garden centre). Be careful that the temperature does not drop below 10°C, otherwise the plants will be lost!
You must then prepare the soil by mixing it with a good quantity of compost. Then make small mounds of soil of 15-20 cm, spaced about 1 m apart. Then, in a hole in the centre of the mound, place the plant, taking care not to bury the leaves.
Take care to water the cucumber well, then apply mulch to conserve moisture. Install a wire mesh so that the stems can cling to it and grow tall rather than spreading out horizontally.
Growing in pots
Cucumbers can be grown in pots or planters, on a balcony or terrace, following the same advice.
In what type of soil?
Cucumbers like soil: well drained, light and rich in organic matter (humus, compost, manure).
Cucumbers need full sun. They are very sensitive to cold.
The cucumber does not like to “bathe” in water. So keep the soil around the foot moist and water it very frequently, but never leave a small puddle.
Also take care of :
- Avoid watering with water that is too cold, as it makes the cucumbers bitter.
- Cut off the main branch of the cucumber above the 2nd leaf.
- Cut off the secondary branches above the 5th leaf, once 5-6 branches are present.
- Help the cucumber to climb up by tying the branches as you go along on the wire mesh or fence.
- Avoid wetting the foliage when watering to avoid fungal diseases.
Pests and Diseases to Watch for
Cucumbers can be affected by powdery mildew, mildew, aphids or small red spiders.
When and how to harvest cucumbers?
Cucumbers can be harvested as soon as they reach about 10 cm, for 2-3 cm in diameter. Of course, you have to take into account the variety planted (Lebanese cucumbers are smaller than English cucumbers, for example).
It is recommended to pick them as soon as they reach maturity, because if you wait too long, they are less tender because of the hardening seeds.
Good and bad associations in the garden
Cucumbers thrive in the company of corn, beets, carrots, peas, beans and broad beans.
They do not like the vicinity of potatoes.