How To – Grow Cucumbers

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    Cucumbers are one of the easiest crops for a home gardener to grow. With enough space, sunlight, water and food cucumbers will grow fast during the summer providing a variety of different uses.

    From Pickling to slicing up for salads there are  a large variety of cucumbers that you can try in your garden. Although the selection may be wide the care of the plants is basically the same.

    Cucumbers are actually a subtropical plant this means they need warmth to grow well and do not like frost. If you live in an area with a short growing season then you can select from special varieties that have a shorter growing time. You can also start your plants indoors, in green houses or buy transplant packs of plants.

    Planting
    Starting your plants from seed is very easy.  Cucumbers like  a lot of room so unless you are growing them on a trellis they will tend to spread out and their vines can crush other plants.
    Plant 2 or 3 seeds every 12 inches in rows about 2 feet apart.

    Soil
    The soil should be loose and drain easily.
    The pH levels should be between 6.0 and 7.0 which is pretty average in most gardens.
    The soil should be kept moist and early morning watering should be followed. Cucumbers are mostly water but if you over water in the area you may promote bacteria growth which is a reason that most farmers lose about 25 to 50% on a bad year of their harvested fruit.


    Fertilizer
    A basic 10-10-10 fertilizer can be applied about 2 weeks before planting. After the plant has established flowers you can use a high nitrogen liquid fertilizer to promote good fruit growth. Care to not apply too much or unneeded fertilizer should be taken because this will promote vine growth and reduce fruit production.

    Cultivation
    You should take specific care to protect your fruit from mildew / bacteria that will reduce your yield.

    Make use of climbing trellises.
    An easy way to make a cucumber trellis is to get some 2 to 3 foot tall garden fencing and use 1×2 inch lumber to stake it into the garden bed before you plant. As the plants grow train their vines onto the fencing and your fruit will be safely away from common bacteria found on the ground. If you are planting in rows then you can position the fruit on top of a leaf instead of letting it rest on the soil.

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