Cucumbers are a warm-season vegetable planted as seeds outside once the soil is warmed. As plants are frost-tender, it’s very important that you wait until there’s no chance of frost (at least 2 weeks after your last spring frost date).
An easy-care vegetable that loves sun and water, cucumbers grow quickly as long as they receive consistent watering. Most varieties will grow in any amount of space, thanks to the cucumber plant’s ability to climb.
There are two types of cucumber plants: vining cucumbers and bush cucumbers. The most common varieties grow on vigorous vines shaded by large leaves. The growth of these plants is fast, and the crop yield is abundant if you care for them properly. Vining varieties grow up a trellis or fence. They will be cleaner—versus those that grow atop soil—often more prolific, and easier to pick.
Bush cucumbers are, however, nicely suited to containers and small gardens. Make successive plantings (every two weeks for continued harvests). In already-warm summer soil, cucumbers will grow quickly and ripen in about six weeks!
Of course, cucumbers are usually first on the list with pickling potential! (Learn more about pickling.) We recommend several prolific varieties below bred especially for pickling, such as heirloom ‘Boston Pickling’. For crispy pickles, be sure to prepare them within a few hours of harvesting!