Cucumber growing is almost seen as a tradition especially in the summer. The crunch of it serves a refreshing kick in the dead of summer, and coupled with the various nutrients it packs, a cucumber is a good plant to consider growing in your garden. However, that being said, growing cucumbers straight-way up is something of high maintenance and requires meticulous planning beforehand. This is mostly due to the vines that tend to grow without boundaries and end up eating up precious garden space.
There are many reasons why you should try growing cucumbers vertically, and the most important one being that it saves a huge amount of space, and the cucumber leaves get their maximum exposure of sunlight to grow. Other reasons include the promotion of better air circulation, as well as the result of less weeding.
Read on to find out useful tips in growing your own cucumber vertically!
Finding The Perfect Trellis
Firstly, you may start off by choosing the correct trellis for your cucumbers. Trellis can be DIY-ed or bought, and typically comes in a variety of types including A-Frames, grids, and cages. You have to choose where you want your cucumbers to grow and the amount you expect to harvest. Besides that, you may have to consider the best and most efficient way to harvest the cucumbers from every side of your trellis structure such that there are none that take too much trouble to reach.
A stong structure is required for optimum support for your cucumbers, and the vines have to be spread generously such that there is ample space for your cucumbers to grow.
The types of trellis are as follows: The A-Frame, Arches, Chicken wireframes, Grid Frames, and Tomato Cages. An alternative to growing them on a trellis is by growing them upside down. This will also lower the chances of having to weed and will also add a touch of creativity in your garden. This method is best done using a bucket with a handle. When it comes to hanging the plant, use a heavy-duty hook, and install it into a support that is steady enough to hold the weight. The plant is then watered from the top of the bucket until water drips from the bottom.
Essentials of Cucumber Growing – When, Where and How
As cucumbers are known to grow quickly from seeds, the factors that are essential in their growth are ample fertile soil, sufficient amount of water, and a generous exposure to sunlight.
When: Cucumbers are typically planted during spring but if you wish to start early, the seeds can be planted indoors before the ground melts from the snow. Meticulous preparation has to be made, including preparing your trellis and having the preferred spot filled with fertilizer before planting.
Where: The best spot for cucumber growing would be one where the harvest can be easily reached from every nook and cranny of the structure, as well as the location that receives the most sunlight.
Besides planting them in the ground, they can also be container grown. This is done by using a large container to contain and support your trellis and the long roots from the plant. In containers, the soil dries faster and therefore, make sure that there are drainage holes and water them often. For those that do not own a suitable sized container, a bush cucumber without a trellis would make a better plant to grow as they do not have long roots.
How: The seeds should be planted one inch deep into the ground and a foot apart along the bottom of the trellis. When the seedlings sprout, you have to make sure that the weaker plants are taken out from each respective group and leave one to wind and vine along the trellis.
If you are starting indoors, one seed should be put in each section of a tray, making sure the soil is at a correct warm temperature of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The time for cucumber seeds to germinate is typically one to two weeks, and it is important to note that you should not start on them too early as the plants grow quickly.
TLC For Growing Cucumbers
As mentioned above, Sun and Water are very essential factors for your cucumbers to grow successfully. The more sunlight, the better. As for temperatures, cucumbers flourish best in temperatures ranging from 60-90 degrees Fahrenheit and black plastic can be used to absorb the heat of the ground and simultaneously keep your plants warm enough.
Cucumbers are plants that require an extreme amount of water due to the amount of juice in them. Once a week is a good routine to stick to, however, the soil should remain moist between waterings and should not result in waterlogging. When watering, the leaves and fruit should be kept away from water as much as possible as the plant may rot and cultivate diseases if it gets in contact with too much water.
The growth of a cucumber heavily depends on the type of soil. For the best results, a loam type of soil is used, although they are able to grow in sandy soil as well. Clay soil should be avoided as it will not provide sufficient draining of water. Mulch is also great to help the soil keep the moisture it needs. Once the plant has shown growth of a few inches, mulching can be carried out by using newspapers or bark pieces.
A cucumber plant requires nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus as nutrients in their soil in order to reach the optimum mixture of fertilizer. Slow-release fertilizers also work well for cucumber plants.
To help cucumber vines grow vertically, you should aid the vines by twinning the vines around the trellis. If they are uncooperative, you can start by loosely hooking the vines onto the trellis structure, until they start to grip on by themselves. You may use twine, wire, string, zip ties, fabric ties, or be creative and use anything around your house to tie the vines to the trellis. The ties should be placed where the leaf extends from the stem to prevent harming the plant. It is always essential to make sure that there is enough space for your cucumbers to grow.
Pruning Vertical Cucumbers
This should be carried out when the plants start to grow wildly. Start from the bottom of the plant and care should be taken to only prune the secondary vines by cutting close to the main one to avoid damaging the plant.
Propagating Vertical Cucumbers
This can be done by cutting the stems of the plant. Plants should be clipped in the morning as they are the most well-watered then and cuttings should be at least three to five inches long. It is important to note that cuts should be sharp and clean, and only one set of leaves should be left on the clipping. Cucumbers grown from cuttings should grow into the adult cucumber plant within three weeks.
Despite there being many steps and a level of standards to maintain when growing cucumbers, they are a delight to have around your garden especially during summer seasons. The growth of their vines on trellis structures adds life to your garden as well, so why not grow your own cucumber plant vertically today!