Cucumbers use to be one of my least favorite vegetables to grow because they required so much space and harvesting was time consuming.
When I decided to grow cucumbers vertically every thing changed and now they happen to be a really fun crop to grow. By growing up we save space in the garden and they’re easier to harvest because now they’re at eye level.
Cucumbers are one of the most popular vegetables to grow across North America. I think this is because so many folks like to make pickles.
I prefer to eat cucumbers fresh from the garden, just yesterday after an early morning harvest I decided to compliment my morning egg and yogurt with a sliced cucumber. It was kind of a weird combination but it all tasted very healthy and good.
There are two basic types of cucumbers, those for slicing and pickling. With that being said you can also find quite a variety on many seed website.
I grow slicing cucumbers, they take a tad longer to mature and appear nice and plump. Canning pickles tend to have a rough skin, these are ready to harvest faster and you want to pick when they’re small.
Cucumbers normally have a 60 – 100 day germination to maturity, so if you’re down south where temperatures rise you could plant an additional crop in June or July and enjoy cucumbers in the fall.
Start Seed Directly and Structure Options
I started seeds directly in a small raised bed using cow panels for the vines to grow towards. These panels are heavy duty welded wire, they’re easy to find at any farm store like Tractor Supply.
Any type of welded wire structure would work and something built from wood could also be a good option. Just remember it needs to be a strong element to handle the weight of several cucumbers.
When the plants are young help them grab a hold to climb, once they’re attached they do pretty good at continuing to climb. There will be times when you need to go in and apply additional guidance; this only takes a minute.
Tips for Growing
- Begin with Heirloom or Organic Seeds – I used Seeds of Change this year – Love! If you want a unique variety then check with Johnny Seeds they harvest seed based on taste. Mary’s Heirloom will also have a good selection.
- Plant after the last frost in fertilized soil – they don’t like the cold.
- They love sunshine – maximize the shine which means you can plant in direct sunlight.
- Well drain soil is important.
- Direct Seed – they germinate quick, or start prior to spring indoors. Get my Seed Start tips here
Cucumbers are one of the easiest plants to grow, keep it simple and remember to water. If growing cucumbers is something you plan to implement make sure to incorporate rotation planting. This is when the same plant varieties are moved to a different space each season.
This will help detour bad bugs; I do this will all my vegetable planting.
Before we move on I have a quick question. Have you ever grown a batch of bitter cucumbers? Years ago, I did and it was disappointing, we ended up composting them because the chickens didn’t even like them.
Later I found out that increased Cucurbitacin levels cause bitterness.
To cure this we made sure the following season to add more direct composting to the soil where we planned to plant the following year. This is easy to implement immediately. There’s also different cucumber varieties you can plant to detour bitterness.
To learn more about Direct Composting check out my magazine article.
My favorite part about growing cucumbers off the ground is the dirt free factor.
The cucumbers hang nicely on the panel and all you do is grab and go, there’s no dirt to wash off and before you know it you’re in the kitchen slicing up a yummy treat.
Give growing cucumbers vertically a try, I promise you will love it.