Growing cucumbers – is COOL AS …
Growing cucumbers dates back 12,000 years in south west Asia. Growing Cucumbers need heat as well as consistent moisture to flourish. In temperate NZ districts, the best months to sow are September to January. In colder areas, plant from October to January.
Fastest germination occurs when growing Cucumbers if the soil is 20+ deg C. You will be able to grow 3 cucumber plants in a large GreenSmart pot so plant 6-8 seeds at a depth of 1.5 cm in the pot then when they have 1-2 true leaves choose the 3 strongest seedlings to continue growing. If planting seedlings be very careful to avoid root damage during transplanting. Alternatively plant three different kinds of cucumber in the one pot.Remove the growing tip when 6-8 leaves have developed to encourage more fruit –bearing laterals. Did I say fruit? – yes cucumbers are fruit. Allow for 80 days from planting seeds to harvesting the first cucumbers. They need at least six hours of sunshine per day.
Don’t delay….. now is the perfect time to plant cucumbers in a GreenSmart pot!
To save space when growing cucumbers, train the plants up a fence or trellis. The younger vines need some help to climb so tie the tendrils onto the support. Cucumber shape and size is improved though not being in contact with the ground. It also helps to avoid powdery mildew on the leaves. Mulch the surface of the soil to help retain moisture and warmth.
As with all vine crops, when growing Cucumbers female flowers are pollinated by bees after visiting male flowers. Failure to fruit is often due to absence of bees or cold weather. You can attract bees by spraying the plants with a diluted sugar mix. Dissolve half a cup of sugar in two cups of water then dilute with two litres of water. Round or apple cucumbers take 10-12 weeks to fruit but are very prolific.
Bury a layer of chicken manure in the potting mix as cucumbers require plenty of nitrogen. Apply liquid fertiliser when flowering commences. Then every 4-5 weeks.
Pests and Diseases
They are prone to mildews, aphids, red spider and white fly. “Burpless” is claimed to be more resistant to mildews.
Companions for growing cucumbers
Basil, beans, borage, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, corn and dill are all good companions when growing cucumbers. Avoid growing near potatoes.
Frequent harvesting will lead to greater flower production and subsequent fruiting.
Harvest before they reach maximum size, as they will taste much better. Bitter flavour occurs usually towards the end of the cropping season.
Pick long green varieties when 5-10 cm as gherkins. Pick green varieties when 15-20 cm long or apple varieties when the size of a cricket ball.
Early and regular picking will encourage more fruiting.
In the Kitchen
Later in the summer when you have got an abundance of cucumbers try this recipe for a refreshing smoothie of cucumber, apple and celery. Watch this great video.
Other Uses for cucumbers – cucumbers have many other uses. Check these out.
Looking for unusual Christmas gift ideas?
Whether practical or just pretty, GreenSmart pots aren’t just for dedicated gardeners! It could
be that the very first container plant given to a non-gardener is the start of a rewarding lifelong hobby.
GreenSmart pots make a wonderful Christmas gift as they can be enjoyed all year round.
You can choose among a variety of plants to grow for this Christmas season. Give your loved ones a a gift they’ll truly love.
Here are some suggestions on what you could plant in one of the larger GreenSmart pots as a gift for a novice gardener.
- 6 lettuce plants + 6 basil plants + 6 coriander
- 3 spinach plants + 3 parsley plants + 6 lettuce plants + 6 basil plants
- 1 cherry tomato plant + 6 basil plants + 3 lettuces