How do I grow cucumbers? - Knowledgebase Question

Fairport, NY
Avatar for peanuts
Question by peanuts
January 28, 1998
I'm a 12 year old boy. I'm very interested in gardening and I want to grow some cucumbers this year. But I have a few questions that I need help on.

Should put a fence around my garden so animals won't eat the cucumbers? Should I put something under the cucumbers to prevent rotting? I should I fertilize the cucumbers? (Should I pour or spray?) Do I need a support if I want to plant one of those cucumber "hills"?

Answer from NGA
January 28, 1998
Have you had trouble with animals in your garden before? Certainly, rabbits, woodchucks, etc. can be a nuisance, though I haven't had any trouble (yet!) Put a fence up if you'd like--or just take your chances.

Some people like to grow cucumbers up onto a trellis. I made a "teepee" last year using 8-foot straight saplings tied together at the top. I then wrapped twine around the outside every 8" or so, to give the vines something to climb on. Or you can use other types of trellises.

You can also just let your cucumber vines sprawl on the ground. You don't need to put anything under them--just inspect the plants frequently. Otherwise, you'll end up with some giant, overmature cukes hiding under those vines! There are also "bush" varieties that don't grow long vines.

Be sure to wait to plant your cukes until the soil has warmed up...they like warm weather. If you have a rich, loamy soil with lots of organic matter, you can fertilize your plants when you see the first blossoms. If your soil isn't so rich, try fertilizing weekly with a weak fertilizer--use either an organic plant food like fish emulsion or kelp extract, or a synthetic 10-10-10. Follow label directions carefully.

Keep a close eye on your young plants for cucumber beetles. These black and yellow striped or spotted insects can really damage young seedlings.

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