The humble cucumber, or cuke to home gardeners, is a relatively simple vegetable to grow at home, making it one of the perfect choices for those looking to get started on their home gardens. These vegetables are in the same family as gourds and melons, which becomes fairly obvious when you consider their mild, sweet taste and the appearance of their seeds and flesh on the inside. However, while vegetables like squash and melons require a lot of space and are often grown in the ground due to this reason, cucumbers can easily be grown in pots as long as they’re grown somewhere warm and sunny. Here are some tips on growing your cukes in a pot.
Choosing The Right Container
First and foremost, you’ll need to give your cucumbers the right amount of space. While they won’t need a huge pot, you should remember that the bigger the space, the bigger the harvest. The ideal pot size will be around one foot deep. You could easily grow three plants in a bucket that can contain around five gallons of soil mixture. Just remember to cut some holes in the bottom to allow for drainage so that the soil doesn’t become sodden. There are two types of cucumber plants, too, with some species being bushes and some climbing vines. If the species you’re growing is a vine, you’ll need to provide some form of structure for the plant to grow up, such as a trellis or bamboo frame like you would use for a beanstalk.
Know When To Plant And Where
One of the most important things to think about when planting anything is where it will be situated in your garden, greenhouse, or home. As you’ll know, plants need sunlight to thrive, and while some can handle shadier conditions, they’ll still need to get enough sunlight to photosynthesise and flourish. Consider your cukes to be divas who will demand the sunniest spot possible as well as warmth and moisture. Just place them somewhere in your garden that will get roughly eight hours of sunlight per day, and consider even putting them in a small pop-up greenhouse to provide them with regular heat. Water them regularly so that their soil stays moist, too, but there’s no need to drench them.
Choosing Your Cukes
As we mentioned earlier, there are many different types of cucumbers that you can choose to grow, ranging from small cucumbers, perfect for pickling and adding to a gift hamper, to large salad cucumbers for everyday use. You can find out more about the variety of small cucumbers from Urban Garden Gal, who offers plenty of advice. You’ll also find lots of quirky, unusual species like the round and yellow crystal apple cucumber and cucamelons, which look like tiny watermelons. These, also known as the Mexican sour gherkin, have a slightly citrusy taste and are often described as a cross between a lime and a cucumber.
Understand When To Harvest
One thing that beginner gardeners struggle to understand is when you should be harvesting your crops. It can be nerve-wracking to pull crops off of a plant, as you may be worried about things being ripe or not and that harvesting early will end up wasting some of your crops. Just remember that you can usually start harvesting your cucumbers roughly around 12 weeks after they’ve been sown, and the size will depend on the species. You’ll find that a small cucumber plant will easily produce around 15 cukes in as little as three weeks, so you’ll have plenty to go around.