• The best time for growing cucumbers is about 3-4 weeks after the last frost date
  • Plant your sprouted cucumber seeds outdoors when the soil temperature is 70°F or higher during the day
  • Planting and growing cucumbers later when its warmer will make better-performing plants than earlier plantings, eventually passing them up in growth

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  • When you’re growing cucumbers, they need at least 8 hours of full sun; cucumbers love hot and humid

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  • Growing cucumbers require high levels of soil nutrients
  • Cucumbers develop optimally in fertile, clay soil with plenty of humus (dark organic material produced by the decomposition of vegetable or animal matter – can be created using compost)
  • Before planting, apply 1”-2” of rich compost to your plant area
  • Whengrowing cucumbers, keep pH levels in your soil between 6.0 to 6.8

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  • Cucumbers germinate in soil temperature as low as 60°F, however, seeds tend to rot in the ground if temperatures remain too low
  • The ideal temperature for growing cucumbers is 85°-95°F; at this temperature, cucumbers take just 3 days to germinate
  • Cucumbers seeds should last 5 years from your purchase date if stored in a cool, dry place

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GETTING STARTED INDOORS (and transplanting)

  • Cucumber plants don’t respond to being transplanted well. Disrupting the root systems can permanently stunt your plants; therefore, planting seedlings indoors is not recommended
  • If you have a shorter growing season, you can speed up the process by sprouting your seeds indoors a few days before planting outside
  • To do this, place your seeds between warm, wet paper towels and put them in a plastic bag. Place the bag in a warm, lighted area. Once the seeds have sprouted, plant in your garden immediately
  • If you need to warm up your soil, you can use plastic and/or floating row covers to hold heat in soil

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SOWING AND GROWING (Planting seeds directly into the garden)

  • Cucumbers love high humidity and warmth up to 95°F
  • Both vine and bush varieties produce best yields when the plants have supports to climb. This could be a fence, trellis, vertical pole, or even another plant
  • Providing supports will help to minimize rot, waste, and disease in your crop
  • When planting in a row, sow seeds 18” apart; mound the soil to make raised rows. This will provide extra warmth for your plants, helping your cucumbers to grow more rapidly
  • When planting cucumbers in hills, create your hills 3’ in diameter with 4-5’ spacing between the center of each hill. Then plant 5-6 seeds per hill
  • After seedlings develop 2-3 true leaves, thin plants by snipping the weaker seedlings at ground level, leaving the three most vigorous plants
  • Once plants are about a foot high, provide something for them to climb (a fence, trellis, etc.)
  • As production begins, harvest your cucumbers daily to extend growing season
  • If even one cucumber is allowed to reach full maturity, (shown by yellowing around the ends and a plump fruit), “shutting down” occurs. This will signal the plant that the season has ended, and your plant will stop producing cucumbers
  • Using a liquid organic leaf spray every couple of weeks has proven to improve production and sweetness/flavor in cucumbers in our garden. It works with your plant to produce more plant sugar, producing stronger plants, more blooms, and sweeter cucumbers.

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  • Cucumbers are 95% water, so its important to maintain moist, well-drained soil throughout the season; soak soil deeply during dry spells
  • Spread 2 inches of organic mulch such as straw, hay, grass clippings or leaves; mulch conserves moisture, suppresses weeds and helps to keep fruit clean
  • If you use overhead watering, water in the morning so the leaves have time to try out before evening; this helps to minimize disease

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  • Good garden companions to cucumbers are corn, sunflowers, and beans as they thrive under the same soil conditions. They also provide an object to climb which helps stabilize them
  • Radishes, nasturtiums, and marigolds are also beneficial and known to repel the cucumber beetle; dill helps attract predatory insects which attack predators like the cucumber beetle
  • Cucumbers DO NOT perform well when planted next to potatoes or aromatic herbs
  • Avoid following cucumbers with any cucumber family members – melons, squashes, pumpkins, or gourds

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  • Harvest cucumbers when they are small and dark green all over
  • Once a cucumber begins to yellow at the blossom end it is overripe

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  • Cucumbers are best eaten fresh; they’ll last about a one week in the refrigerator
  • Cucumbers can be lacto-fermented or pickled

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  • Cucumber Beetles (Striped and Spotted) are the greatest threat to your plants. Adult beetles are ¼” long with black heads and greenish-yellow wings.These bugs can decimate your seedlings and chew large jagged holes through the leaves of maturing plants
  • Examine the foliage and inside the blooms daily; destroy any beetles you find
  • Covering plants (especially seedlings) with floating row cover will help minimize cucumber beetles
  • If cover is left when flowering begins bees won’t be able to pollinate blossoms; remove cover or hand pollinate blossoms
  • Cucumber beetles are attracted to bitter compounds (cucurbitacins) that cause bitterness in the fruit; using a liquid organic leaf spray fertilizer will create sweeter cucumbers
  • Planting non-bitter varieties will also reduce pest attraction
  • Other potential pests include cut worms, aphids, and spider mites; apply organic insecticidal soaps to your cucumber plants to get rid of these pests
  • Be cautious; foliage can be easily burned by insecticidal soap and copper sprays, so use the greatest dilution offered in the directions. Spray plants when not in the direct sun and temperatures are below 80F
  • Do not spray plants if moisture levels are not adequate or if plants are stressed from drought

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2 Responses to “How To Grow Organic Cucumbers”

  1. Jia Says:

    Great article on growing cucumbers. I will now be better prepared for growing season.

  2. Jenny Says:

    Thanks for the compliment, Jia. We’ve put a lot of time into these articles and refer back to them every time we plant and make any changes we’ve discovered. It’s our own personal gardening journal, we’re happy to share it!

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