How to Grow Any Kind of Cucumber

Updated on February 5, 2020
OldRoses profile image

Caren White is a Master Gardener and instructor at Home Gardeners School. She has been associated with Rutgers Gardens for over a decade.


What are Cucumbers?

Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) are actually gourds which grow on long vines. The plants originated in southern India and subsequently spread throughout the ancient Mediterranean world. True to their origins, heat is the secret to growing cucumbers.

How to Prepare Your Garden to Grow Cucumbers

Choose a sunny location that gets a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sun each day and that has light well-drained soil. Cucumbers don't like wet feet. If you have clay soil, you should add sand or peat moss mixed with organic matter to improve the drainage.

To prepare your soil, add a layer of compost or aged manure to a depth of at least two inches and work it into the soil thoroughly. After planting, you can side-dress your plants with the same compost or aged manure or use commercial fertilizer in liquid or granular form. Try not to over-fertilize your plants as this will result in fruit which is stunted.

Grow Cucumbers on a Trellis

Cucumbers grow on long vines which can take up a lot of space in your garden. To save space, or if you have a small garden, grow your cucumbers on trellises. The vines climb using tendrils so your trellis should be made of materials thin enough for the tendrils to grasp. Install your trellises before putting out your plants to avoid damaging the vines.

Growing cucumbers on trellises makes it easier to harvest the fruit. It also results in healthier plants because they are not laying on the ground where they can more easily pick up diseases and insects.


Cucumbers climb using thin tendrils
Cucumbers climb using thin tendrils | Source

How to Grow Cucumbers From Seed

Cucumbers are easily grown from seed. You can start your seeds indoors or direct sow them in your garden after the soil warms in the spring. Because they are tropical plants, they are sensitive to cold temperatures.

Start your cucumber seeds indoors two weeks before your last frost date. Plant them 1 inch deep. The best germination is achieved when you use a heat mat that can warm your soil to 70°F. Wait until at least two weeks after your last frost date to plant your seedlings in your garden.

To direct sow your seeds in your prepared garden bed, wait at least two weeks after your last frost date. Plant your seeds one inch deep. Begin regular watering as soon as your seedlings have emerged. Water consistently to avoid bitter tasting fruit. To judge when your seedlings need to be watered, stick your finger in the soil. If it is dry up to the first knuckle on your finger, it is time to water. Adding mulch to your garden will keep the soil moist and discourage weeds.

You can do a second sowing of seeds a month after the first sowing. The warmer weather will encourage your cucumbers to grow and mature quickly. The fruit could be ready to harvest as soon as six weeks later.

The fruit develops on the female flowers after they have been pollinated.
The fruit develops on the female flowers after they have been pollinated. | Source

Don't be upset if the first flowers on your vines fall off. Cucumbers have male and female flowers. The first flowers are all male. The female flowers will begin to appear within a week or two. It's easy to tell the male and female flowers apart. The female flowers have a swelling at the base of the flower that is the beginning of a cucumber.

How to Harvest Cucumbers

We eat cucumbers while they are still green and immature before they ripen to yellow. When the fruit turns yellow, it is no longer edible.

Harvest should be done by size. Pickling cucumbers should be harvested when they are 2 inches long for sweet or gherkin pickles or 4 to 6 inches long for dill pickles. Slicing cucumbers should be harvested when they are 6 to 8 inches long.

Use a sharp knife, scissors or small clippers to cut the cucumbers from the vines leaving a small stub on the fruit. Pulling the fruit from the vines could damage the vines and/or the fruit.

Cucumbers that are yellow are no longer edible.
Cucumbers that are yellow are no longer edible. | Source

How to Store Cucumbers

Cucumbers are mainly water so you should wrap them in plastic wrap immediately after harvesting to keep them fresh and hydrated. Storing your cucumbers in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic will keep them fresh up to ten days but it is best to eat or pickle them as soon after harvesting as possible. Harvest every few days to encourage the vines to continue to produce fruit.

Cucumbers are easy to grow as long as they have lots of sunshine and lots of heat. Plant different varieties so that you will have plenty to eat and pickle.

© 2014 Caren White


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • OldRoses profile imageAUTHOR

      Caren White 

      5 years ago

      How lucky! My first crop last year failed. I did much better this year. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • Pawpawwrites profile image


      5 years ago from Kansas

      Great information on growing cucumbers. We had a bumper crop of them this year.

    • OldRoses profile imageAUTHOR

      Caren White 

      6 years ago

      Susan, you are so lucky! The first I grew cucumbers was a disaster. I didn't get a single cucumber and then my vines died. I did some research over the winter and tried again. The second season, I did much better. Thanks for reading, commenting and following!

    • Susan Hambidge profile image

      Susan Hambidge 

      6 years ago from Kent, England

      I've grown cucumbers for the first time this year.I have to grow them in a greenhouse here in the UK but I have been so pleased with them. They are great for a beginner because they grow quickly and impressively so it is really exciting!.

    • OldRoses profile imageAUTHOR

      Caren White 

      6 years ago

      Flourish, what's your secret? I've had problems growing cucumbers which is why I wrote this hub searching for an answer for my failure. Thanks for reading and voting.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      Ahh, cucumbers are one of the things I can grow. Tomatoes are another. I simply love their mild flavor and their "climbing" nature with trellises. Voted up and more.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)