Learn more and buy the 2015 Old Farmer's Almanac!

Cucumbers

PrintPrintEmailEmail
Your rating: None Average: 3.9 of 5 (134 votes)

Botanical name: Cucumis Sativus

Plant type: Vegetable

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Loamy

Soil pH: Neutral


Cucumbers are a warm-season vegetable that will grow in any amount of space thanks to its ability to climb. The most common varieties of slicing cucumbers have sprawling vines with large green leaves and curling tendrils. The growth of these plants is fast, and the crop yield is abundant if you care for them properly.

Planting

  • Select a site with full sun.
  • Ideally, soil should be neutral or slightly alkaline with a pH of 7.0. Improve clay soil by adding organic matter. Improve dense, heavy soili by adding peat, compost or rotted manure. (Get a soil test if you are unsure of your soil type; contact your local county cooperative extension.) Light, sandy soils are preferred for northern gardens, as they warm quickly in the spring.
  • Mix in compost and/or aged manure before planting to a depth of 2 inches and work into the soil 6 to 8 inches deep. Make sure that soil is moist and well-drained, not soggy.
  • For an early crop, start cucumber seeds indoors about 3 weeks before you transplant them in the ground. They like bottom heat of about 70ºF (21ºC). If you don’t have a heat mat, put the seeds flat on top of the refrigerator or perch a few on top of the water heater.
  • Seed or transplant outside in the ground no earlier than 2 weeks after last frost date. Cucumbers are extremely susceptible to frost damage; the soil must be at least 65ºF for germination. Do not plant outside too soon!
  • Sow seeds in rows, 1 inch deep and 6 to 10 inches apart.
  • If you are transplanting seedlings, plant them 12 inches apart.
  • A trellis might be a good idea if you want the vine to climb, or if you have limited space. Trellising also protects the fruit from damage from lying on the moist ground.

Care

  • When planting seeds in the ground, cover with netting or a berry basket to keep pests from digging out the seeds.
  • When seedlings emerge, begin to water frequently, and increase to a gallon per week after fruit forms.
  • When seedlings reach 4 inches tall, thin plants so that  they are 1½ feet apart.
  • If you've worked in organic matter into the soil before planting, you may only need to side-dress your plants with compost or well-rotted manure. Or, if you wish, use a fertilizer from your garden store which is low nitrogen/high poatassium and phosphorus formula and apply at planting, 1 week after bloom, and every 3 weeks with liquid food, applying directly to the soil around the plants. Or, you can work a granular fertilizer into the soil. Do not overfertilize or the fruits will get stunted.
  • Water consistently; put your finger in the soil and when it is dry past the first joint of your finger, it is time to water. Inconsistent watering leads to bitter-tasting fruit. Water slowly in the morning or early afternoon, avoding the leaves.
  • Mulch to hold in soil moisture.
  • If you have limited space or would prefer vertical vines, set up trellises early to avoid damage to seedlings and vines.
  • Spray vines with sugar water to attract bees and set more fruit.

Pests

  • Cucumbers may not set fruit because the first flowers were all male. Both female and male floewrs must be blooming at the same time. This may not happen early in the plant's life so be patient.
  • Lack of fruit may also be due to poor pollination by bees, especially if prevented by rain, cold temperatures, or insecticides. Remember, gynoecious hybrids require pollinator plants.
  • Cucumber Beetles
  • Whiteflies
  • Bacterial Wilt
  • Mosaic Viruses

Harvest/Storage

  • Harvest regular slicing cucumbers when they about 6 to 8 inches long (slicing varieties).
  • Harvest dills at 4 to 6 inches long and pickles at 2 inches long for pickles. The large burpless cucumbers can be up to 10 inches long and some types are even larger.
  • Cucumbers are best picked before they seeds become hard and are eaten when immature. Do not let them get yellow. A cucumber is of highest quality when it is uniformly green, firm and crisp. 
  • Any cucumbers left on the vine too long will also get tough skins and lower plant productivity.
  • At peak harvesting time, you should be picking cucumbers every couple of days.
  • Keep them picked. If you don’t, as plants mature, they will stop producing.
  • Cucumbers are over 90 percent water. Store wrapped tightly in plastic wrap to retain moisture.
  • They will keep for a week to 10 days when stored properly in the refrigerator.

Recommended Varieties

  • ‘Sweet Success’
  •  ‘Straight Eight’
  •  ‘County Fair’

Recipes

Cooking Notes

See our fun video on How to Make Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles!

Wit & Wisdom

  • Make a second planting.  In already-warm summer soil, cucumbers will grow quickly and ripen ina bout six weeks!
  • Don't forget that cucumbers aren't just for eating. When puréed in the blender, cucumbers make a great summer facial for toning the skin.

Comments

Hooked Cucumbers. My

By DARLENE SUNSERI

Hooked Cucumbers. My Marketmore cukes started out producing beautifully and then they started getting fat on he blossom end and thin and hooked on the stem end. What has happened to my lovely straight cukes?

Hooked cucumbers aren't

By Almanac Staff

Hooked cucumbers aren't uncommon and it's related to irrigation. Cucumbers need very consistent, regular water supply as well as ample moisture (about 1 to 2 inches of water per week), especially during the early blossoming and fruit development stages.

My cucumbers are growing to

By Jenny McBride

My cucumbers are growing to about 2-3 inches in length then curling up like a coma and then either begin turning yellow from the top or the bottom. The fruits were normal to begin the season. They are grown in earthboxes and the leaves have very little insect damage. I fertilize weekly or biweekly with a foliar spray--spray and grow--and monthly give a little fish emulsion.

We were away on vacation, and

By Laurie Schwartz

We were away on vacation, and when I returned, I found that several of my cucumbers had grown to about 9 inches long; they are also quite yellow in color. From a previous post I can predict that they will be bitter. Should I discard the overgrown cucumbers at this point, or can I use them for another purpose? Thank you for your help!

I have a plant that has

By Meggod

I have a plant that has already been produce large cucumbers. It's taking up so much space, am I able to put a trellis behind it down and encourage it to grow in it? Or will it end up hurting my plant?
Thanks!

Yes, you can train vining

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can train vining cucumbers to a trellis. Normally, you want to set up the trellis before planting but you can try to train the vines that are still growing.

I have an abundance of

By wanda o

I have an abundance of slicing cucumbers. They are delicious. Wondering if i can pickle them ?

Yes, slicing cucumbers are

By Almanac Staff

Yes, slicing cucumbers are best for eating fresh, but they can also be used in canning. We've tried bread and butter pickles and they tasted great.

I am new to gardening living

By Jacob Wentz

I am new to gardening living in zone 8a. My cucumbers are doing really well but want to know if I can harvest smaller cucumbers for pickling or do I need to grow that type of cucumbers?

Congrats on growing cucumbers

By Almanac Staff

Congrats on growing cucumbers successfully! Sure, you can harvest regular cucumbers at any size that you think you can use them. Keep in mind: cucumbers do grow very quickly--check every day once they get going!
You certainly don't want the cucumbers to get too big or they get bitter. They're too big if the end is getting yellow. Also, it helps to harvest them regularly to get more yield.

I have been getting a

By Susan Chando

I have been getting a cucumber or 2 off my plants every couple of days. My question is where should I store them until Im ready to slice. They tend to get
water loggeed in the refrigerator.Can I put them on the kitchen counter,

You'll want to store

By Almanac Staff

You'll want to store cucumbers in a cool spot in in the kitchen in perforated plastic bags. Storage in refrigerator for a few days is okay but cucumbers will get water-soaked areas if chilled below 40°F. For best taste, eat them as quickly as you're able. Do not store with apples or tomatoes.

I am getting plenty of fruit

By leticia

I am getting plenty of fruit from my plants, but they are all oddly shaped--large near the stem and skinny at the end. What could the problem be?

Some cucumber varieties just

By Almanac Staff

Some cucumber varieties just have odd shapes, however, the usual reason is related to moisture. The soil needs to be consistently moist. Perhaps you had a dry spell or under/over-watered.

hi, i am a la sallian college

By Justin Clasitas Delgado

hi, i am a la sallian college student, an agriculturist. i am so excited on the outcome of our activity about cucumber. i really went to our field everyday just to care and protect our cucumber from pest such those cucumber beetles. hahahaha i even catch them and put them in bottles then preserved them for further experiment....
i hope that i will be succesful in this actiity!!! good day!!!!

i planted cucumbers first

By texangel

i planted cucumbers first time this year ground perfect vines are beautifuly green, perfect blooms overabundant amount everywhere but no cucumbers i planted them like 2 1/2 months ago (its july here in south texas now) but for some reason i am not gettin any signs of cucumbers just lots of yellow flowers that come and go and rebloom is it to late in the year for them to produce?

i have even used mirical grow

By texangel

i have even used mirical grow and still just blooms no cucumbers

the first year i started

By todd2

the first year i started growing cucumbers and squash. two plants that have a male and female flower, i made the mistake of using miracle grow. miracle grow is high, to high in nitrogen, this causes a plant to over produce male flowers. the most important part to getting fruit is having bees, so be careful with any pesticides that harm bees. i suggest neem oil. if you examine your plants you should see some flowers that look like they have little minature cucumbers on them, those are the female, simply pull a male flower off, gently remove the petals and hand pollinate the female by touching the two flowers together

I've planted cucumbers and i

By bcat23

I've planted cucumbers and i have a bunch growing but they are staying light green / white. Why aren't they turning dark green?

Hi, I'm from Northern Va, I

By Rebeccaferguson

Hi, I'm from Northern Va, I have cucumber seeds to plant, but I'm afraid it's too late in the season. Is it too late??

I have the most beautiful

By Tammi C

I have the most beautiful cucumber vines growing and producing cucumbers, but oddly enough, I didn't plant any this year. These came up from the ones I planted in the same spot last year. We had one of the coldest winters ever here in Georgia. Is it common for cucumbers to come back?

Hi Tamm, It's not uncommon

By Almanac Staff

Hi Tamm,
It's not uncommon that cucumbers will grow from seeds left in the soil from the previous year. The fruit may not be true to the parent plant and sometimes they don't flower at all.

mi m living in pakistan and i

By ASRAR NABI

mi m living in pakistan and i m sereaching for cucumber seed which can cultivate temperture 40 to 45 c, is there any cucumber hybrid in world which can perfarm at that temperture , if yes then where from can i get it. thanks

I had to replant my cucumbers

By Miriam Santos

I had to replant my cucumbers and now they look all wilted and dead. Any advice?

Cucumbers do not like to be

By Almanac Staff

Cucumbers do not like to be transplanted or moved.  If you must transplant, you need to do it very early before the plant has true leaves and keep the entire root ball intact. Otherwise, they won't make it.

Groundhogs!! I just planted

By Tank

Groundhogs!!

I just planted my cucumber plants and a groundhog ate all the leaves on them! Will it still produce? They are still small plants..

If you can keep the groundhog

By Almanac Staff

If you can keep the groundhog away, the vine may still produce leaves (put not in the same places) and cukes. Relocating the animal by trapping and moving or driving it out of its den (hopefully not to a new one in the middle of your garden) is the preferred solution. Physical deterrence with a fence (buried) and/or screening (chicken wire over the top) sometimes works. Putting a human-smelling (hair, clothes) border around sometimes works, too, as does using other substances they might dislike. Sometimes. Good luck!

I bought some pregrown

By Laura23

I bought some pregrown cucumbers and when I went to plant the next day, the ground hog in our yard had eaten the leaves off the top. Will the leaves grow back and eventually produce cucs, or should I throw these plants in the compost and start over?

We have just planted our

By Sandy Robinson

We have just planted our first 2 cucumber plants ever. Soil meets the requirements you suggest and are in a sunny area. I put a fence around them to keep out ground hogs, cats and rabbits, but some thing has already eaten off most of the leaves after one day of being planted. Can you suggest anything.

can I plant cukes behind okra

By Judy M

can I plant cukes behind okra plants
so okra is trellis for them?

Hi Judy, It may work if you

By Almanac Staff

Hi Judy,
It may work if you use a sturdy okra variety like Cowhorn. The only problem is that okra leaves are big and may shade the cucumber plants too much. It's worth a try and please let us know if it worked.

transplanted my cucumbers

By randy spivey

transplanted my cucumbers into hoop house soil temp 50deg soil is mixture chicken manure compost peatmoss and topsoil even mixtures. soon after plants wilted and most have died remaining ones leaves have white edges and pail green color. Im guessing transplant shock plants where not hardened first?

Chicken manure is very high

By Dempsy

Chicken manure is very high in nitrogen which is not good for cucumbers. Also, chicken manure must be composted before putting it around plants or it will "burn" them.

Hi Randy, It's important to

By Almanac Staff

Hi Randy,
It's important to harden off seedlings that have been started indoors. You can try direct seeding in the garden to see if that works. Or, start a new batch indoors and make sure to gradually move the seedlings outdoors.

Hello from Mesa AZ. Planted

By mikejca

Hello from Mesa AZ. Planted my American seeds April 22nd in raised wind rows with soaker tape giving about 1/4 gal/day. All but 2 of my planting locations have 3-4" seedlings in them. Giving me about 80' worth of windrow with plants 18" apart. The soil is nice and damp but not muddy.Thinking the rate of water is fine since the temp should be rising to high 90's and stable triples soon. Would like to know what size trellis is best for them. I have a lot of 4" welded wire that is very strong. Please advise.
Thank you

I planted cucumber from seed.

By Mike Avila

I planted cucumber from seed. I live in Southern California. I have seedlings that have emerged and are about an inch tall. Before any other leaves could emerge, some of the original two leaves began to wilt. I'm watering them often in a raised plant bed. Some are okay but have now begun to form small amounts of yellow/white spots on them.

I have another cucumber plant near the seedlings that has sprung 5-6 leaves but the leaves are getting brown and crusty. The plant isn't wilting so I don't think it's an issue with water. Additionally, on some of the leaves of this older plant have holes in them. To the touch, they are very crunchy. I worry about the health of my young plants. What should I do?

It sounds like your cucumbers

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like your cucumbers are getting too much water. You should not water cucumber plants from overhead, it is better to soak the ground around the bottoms of the plants.

Hi, Can you please address

By Floral

Hi,
Can you please address the method of harvesting?

My cuke plants are healthy, tendrils are wrapping securely and they are flowering/getting pollinated. The fruit is gorgeous, but it does not actually have a spot that detaches the fruit from the vine, like tomatoes and squash do. Am I just supposed to cut it? I don't want to expose my plants to potential pests!

Thank you

Frist time grower.I planted

By Dinah Purcell

Frist time grower.I planted my cucumber by seed about 8 weeks ago. About 20 plants came up and they are about 8 inches tall with lots of green leaves but have never produced any flowers.Could there be to many plants in one space????

Hi Dinah, We suggest that

By Almanac Staff

Hi Dinah,
We suggest that when seedlings are about 4 inches tall to thin them so that  they are 1½ feet apart. If the plants are healthy you should see flowers soon.

What do you mean by "thin

By lakisha

What do you mean by "thin them" this will be my second time gardening. My first garden was nothing but tomatoes and was a huge success. Now i would like to try other vegetables and cucumbers is one of them.

thank you!

Usually, you plant extra

By Almanac Staff

Usually, you plant extra seeds because all of the seeds will not germinate. However, once the seedlings grow, you may have too many for the space. You need to remove the extra ones so that the plants are properly spaced. Otherwise, the cucumbers will be too crowded and they will fight for nutrients and not grow well. To thin, pinch or snip off the excess seedlings. Ideally, you want to keep the seedlings that look stronger and thin the weak ones.

I am growing cucumber here in

By Vic Migue

I am growing cucumber here in the Phils for 3 years.the leaves have many yellow spotted.i put fertilizer every week which is Urea 6kls/drum dessolved water.each plant i put 1 can of sardines.can u gave me more tips or ideas?tnx

looking to start a

By dan brent

looking to start a hydroponics/aquaculture garden, I assumed sense cucumbers are mostly water they would do well with no soil. what do you think?

Crops that can grow compactly

By Almanac Staff

Crops that can grow compactly and great for hydroponic gardens. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and bush beans are great choices. For your first time, you might want to avoid corn, zucchini, summer squash, and melons.

I am a cucumber farmer in

By phemmy from Nigeria

I am a cucumber farmer in Nigeria I planted like 5 acres. In your write up you said something about "Spray vines with sugar water to attract bees and set more fruit. Do you mean someone can add sugar into water and spray the farm so that I can attract polinating insect like bees"

Best advice have had.very

By Mohamed Hussein Ahmid

Best advice have had.very informative. Many thanks. Very greatfull.

My cucumber plant has

By Sem

My cucumber plant has flowered but it still has not given fruit.(I give them plenty of water and they have lots of sun). What may be the problem, and what should I do?

Hi Sem, You have pollination

By Almanac Staff

Hi Sem, You have pollination issues.  Either you don't have enough pollinating insects right now or it's a timing thing with too many male flowers opening. The male flower has to pollinate the female flower (which are the ones with the swelling beneath the flower).What to do: You can hand pollinate by moving the male flower to the female blooms.

How many pounds per week, per

By Olin

How many pounds per week, per plant and for how long to the cucumber plants can produce?

I live in zone 8b when is the

By Delores Feeken

I live in zone 8b when is the best time to plant the cucumbers?

Plant seed after the danger

By Almanac Staff

Plant seed after the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed. In zone 8, you can often plant in early April but check your frost dates. The soil should be 70 °F and no lower than 50 °F for seeds to germinate. You could get a cheap soil thermometer to check the temps of your soil.

how long is the growing

By mike mcalleese

how long is the growing season in The midwest.. I have had a good crop but leaves are turning yellow....

The length of the growing

By Almanac Staff

The length of the growing season will depend on your local climate. You can find the number of days in the growing season of several large cities, plust the expected frost dates, at this page:
 
http://www.almanac.com/content/frost-chart-united-states
 
For further information by state, see:
 
http://cdo.ncdc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/climatenormals/climatenormals.pl?directive=prod_select2&prodtype=CLIM2001&subrnum
 
Or, you might try contacting your county's Cooperative Extension, as they should have the best data for your local area. For contact information, see:
 
http://www.almanac.com/content/cooperative-extension-services

my plants are dying i have

By terrilynnerichardson

my plants are dying i have alot of havesting that have been done with them .. im in canada and its all trail an error this year .. but is there a time when the harvesting is done an that plant it self dies off >.

Cucumber wilt (bacterial)

By Berrybeetle

Cucumber wilt (bacterial) disease kills cucumber plants -- quickly! The bacteria are transmitted by cucumber beetles. In my area (TN and NC), we lose plants consistently by mid season. Plants wilt and dry up. Spraying to kill beetles in the home garden might provide some protection. Early death of squash/pumpkins is usually attributable to squash vine borers.

Cucumbers like warmth. When

By Almanac Staff

Cucumbers like warmth. When the weather gets cooler, they may deteriorate until frost hits and stops them completely. They may also die off due to other cultural stresses such as too hot/too much direct sun, too much water, too little water, not enough soil nutrients, etc. Diseases or insects can also cause the plants to die.
 
Cucumbers will also stop producing and die off if their fruit is allowed to mature fully--keep on picking, and don't allow any cucumbers to turn large and yellow.

I started 5 White Wonder

By Ed Money

I started 5 White Wonder cukes for myself, and 4 more for my friend at the same time back about June 25th. They started out looking like they were doing OK, so we planted his in a nice sunny well watered area of his garden, and I planted mine in a nice partly sunny, well watered area of my garden area. His cukes after transplanting have produced 3 good sized cukes, and the vines are about 3 to 4 feet long now after 60+ days, and are just starting to really look like they will be producing more. Mine on the other hand seem to have gone totally berserk and have taken over a significant portion of my garden area!!! His 4 vines are nice and single tipped and 3 feet or so in length, my longest vine is currently over 8 (eight) feet in length, and has split into 5 vines of about 3 to 5 feet each, and ALL 5 original plantings are doing it!!! I currently have had to install trellising for 20 vines, and just found another one sneaking around for a total of 21 vines coming out of 5 plants in the ground. They are EXTREMELY prolific in their formation of cukes, and are forming an average of 2 to 3 cukes per internode, with as many as 5 to 6 in some instances. I have harvested 6 cukes off of mine already, and have another 15 to 20 that should be ready to harvest in the next 7 to 10 days, and if half of the rest of the fruit all set I should have about 50 to 60 or so in the next 14 to 21 days by my estimates, and up to about 100 to 120 at the maximum. I was just wondering if my cuke vines are normal for splitting up into so many extra vines and producing so much, or if his are more typical at producing about 6 to 8 cukes per 3 to 4 foot vine without the vine splitting up all over the place? I can provide pictures upon request to document my Amazon Cuke Vines. I have friends who are happy to get some, plus I will be making brine pickles, and some vinegar pickles too, so they will definitely all be put to use, but if I have that many next year I may as well start a fruit stand!!! So basically it is this: Are my vines freakishly huge and over producing monsters that are trying to take over my entire garden/diet. Or are my friend 3 to 4 foot moderate producers more the norm for White Wonder cukes?

'White Wonder' is an heirloom

By Almanac Staff

'White Wonder' is an heirloom variety that Burpee introduced commercially in 1893, after a customer from NY state gave them a sample. Gardeners say that this is a very prolific plant, and some mention its many branches, so it looks like yours are normal. The difference between your plants and your friend's could be the lighting (it is possible for cucumbers to get too much sun, although this variety tolerates heat well) and the difference in soils and fertilizer. You might be interested in the reviews from other gardeners who have grown this Burpee introduction:
http://reviews.burpee.com/1031/prod002007/reviews.htm

According to the answers

By Carolyn Lundie

According to the answers you've given, I've over-fertilized my cucumbers with nitrogen. They were producing very nicely and I applied nitrogen. Now the leaves are yellowish and they have quit putting on blossoms. Is there anyway to flush out the nitrogen?

If the nitrogen is from a

By Almanac Staff

If the nitrogen is from a chemical source, you can not really "undo" fertilizer at this point, especially a fast-release water-soluble type. You could do a good flush of the soil, but don't over do it; that could stress the plants, too. The plants will adapt with time if they can.
 

I've been growing my

By Dalton Burns

I've been growing my cucumbers here in Texas & the temperatures have been well into the mid 100's! I only have produced 1 cucumber, but have lots of blossoms. How hot can cucumbers stand to grow in the sun?

You can reduce the amount of

By Almanac Staff

You can reduce the amount of heat hitting the plants with shade cloth. Using mulch will increase the amount of water that stays in the soil and misting with cool water will increase the humidity around the leaves.

Hi, I live in Cape Cod.

By Jeff Tavares

Hi, I live in Cape Cod. Always had a prosperous garden. This year I'm living in an apartment on the 3rd floor. Do you think it's too late to plant cucumbers in BUCKETS? I have tomatoes growing in buckets and so found out that I'm not giving them enough water. Please let me know if it's too late for the cukes and I'll get a trellis and stick it in the bucket so the leaves won't be on the soil. thanks a million.
Jeffrey

In most regions, you'd want

By Almanac Staff

In most regions, you'd want to plant cucumbers in early July. This produces a September harvest. However, check the seed packets for the "days to maturity" and see if there is a faster-growing variety. Also, make sure that the seed packet says whether or not the cucumber variety is suited for container growing. Some container varieties are: Salad Bush Hybrid, Bush Champion, Picklebush, Spacemaster, Hybrid Bush Crop, and Midget Bush Pickler.

Hi first time grower. I have

By delma

Hi first time grower. I have had a hand full of cucumbers grow and delicious. But once i picked they seem to stop growing. I see the flowers and small little cucumbers. Then the flower falls off and the little cucumber truns yellow then white the it dries out. Then more grow. Right now i have two very skinny green bout 4inch cucumbers. What is going on? Plz help.

Picking your harvest usually

By Almanac Staff

Picking your harvest usually keeps fruit production going, not stopping.  When cucumber fruit doesn't keep growing, the most common reason is that you had low pollinating insect activity at the time due to weather conditions. Or, if you do not have a lot of bees to pollinate, you can self-pollinate by brushing the pollen-coated stamen of the male flower onto the center of the female flower (the one with the bulb or ovary at the bottom) or use a Q-tip if you do not want to pick the male flower. Pollinate in the morning when both male and female bloosm are open. Good luck!

Bitter cucumbers!!! They are

By Marianne2

Bitter cucumbers!!! They are 6in.+... Been told they might have been left on the vine too long Or maybe not long enough. They are also light yellow/white in the middle & light green to green on the ends.

As stated above, bitter

By Almanac Staff

As stated above, bitter cucumbers are usually due to inconsistent watering, especially low moisture. Water slowly in the morning or early afternoon, avoiding the leaves. During dry periods, water 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water in a single application. Apply a mulch, such as straw, shredded bark or newspaper to cool the soil and conserve moisture. You can also plant bitter-free cultivars.
Often (but not always), cutting off the stem-end and removing the skin of bitter cukes will remove much of the bitterness. 

We had placed newspapers down

By Marianne2

We had placed newspapers down with straw on top. We watered as we placed the papers & straw. We also have not had to water much because of the cool rainy weather we have had. So lack of moisture is not the cause of the bitterness.

Cukes are part of the

By Almanac Staff

Cukes are part of the Cucurbit family that naturally produces chemicals called cucurbitacins, which are very bitter. Stress is normally the cause of the bitterness to come out in cucumbers. If the temperatures have been consistently uneven or extremely hot, this can cause bitterness.

Our cucumbers are in a

By Judy Stephan

Our cucumbers are in a plastic window box pot. We even put a trelis up for them. We water every day. They haven't climbed the trelis & now the leaves look like they have a white powder on them. What should we do?

Your cucumbers have powdery

By Almanac Staff

Your cucumbers have powdery mildew fungi. Clip out leaves that show early spotting. For an organic solution, a milk spray works very well. There are also organic fungicidal sprays. Ask your garden center. It's also good make use of resistant varieties of cucumbers which make it difficult for powdery mildew to enter the leaves.
 

I live in Houston I planted

By Valsa

I live in Houston I planted my cucumber seeds in early June now the plants are growing very well . Will the growing period available be sufficient for me to harvest cucumbers?

How long to plants tend to

By yoshiz67

How long to plants tend to take to mature? I'm thinking about starting some plants for a late harvest. It will still be in the 70s at least for another 3 months in Alabama. Right now it's in the 90s. Will they do well in the heat for early fall cucumbers?

Cucumbers are ready for

By Almanac Staff

Cucumbers are ready for harvest 50 to 70 days from planting, depending on the variety. In Alabama, July 1-20 are planting dates for a fall harvest. Good timing!

How can you tell the

By Roberta Reese

How can you tell the difference between male and female flowers?

well, male flowers have a

By jocelyn b

well, male flowers have a couple things popping out of the middle with pollen on it and female flowers have one thing popping out of the middle with a weird bulb thing that collects the pollen from male plants. But some plants can be both male and female so they have both.

The female flower is the one

By Almanac Staff

The female flower is the one with a bulbish shape (ovary) at the base and short stem. The male has a long, slender stem. The female flowers are larger.

I planted some cucumbers on

By Dawn Proscia

I planted some cucumbers on the 2nd of June and live in Florida, the plant is doing well after a few transplants because of limited container space. It's growing about 2 1/2 inches to 3 inches every night after watering but no blooms still, when should I expect blooms?

Are you growing a cucumber

By Catherine Boeckmann

Are you growing a cucumber variety that has both female and male flowers? (Or, are you growing a special variety that doesn't need pollination)? Most varieties need pollination between the female and male flowers--and that means bees--unless you wish to hand pollinate. Most bush types mature in about 50 days. You might see the male flower after 30 to 35 days and the female flower 10 days after that. It depends on the variety.

Hi my cucumber plant is

By Hcaz

Hi my cucumber plant is growing in the window right now, should I move it outside so it can be polinated? (I don't know how to polinate) also, some of the bottom leaves are dying, is that an indication of not enough sunlight?

We only seed indoors to get a

By Almanac Staff

We only seed indoors to get a 2 or 3 week jump on the season. Once the soil is above 60 degrees F, you really should be seeding or growing outside. You can transplant your cuke and also try starting some new seeds. Just push 2 or 3 seeds an inch into the soil, spacing the plantings 18 to 36 inches apart. If the soil is moist and warm, the seedlings will pop out of the ground in a matter of days.

I planted cucumber seeds

By Tesley

I planted cucumber seeds about three weeks ago. About fifteen in a cup as the directions told me so but they all came up and after growing to about seven inches tall with 2 leaves overnight they all wilted. That day I got a large deep pot and transplanted all of them added a little plant food. About five perked up overnight and looked good. The second day, all but one is now laying on the soil. I dont know what to do.

Damping off, a fungal

By Almanac Staff

Damping off, a fungal disease, is a problem with young cucumber seedlings. Make sure your pots and soil are sterile and plant just a few seeds in a cup. For watering room temperature water is best and keep the soil just moist. Watering from the bottom sometimes helps. Air circulation is also important. Keep a small fan in the room if needed. Thin seedlings if they seem to be crowded in the cup or pot. Good luck!

My plants are growing in a

By Sandra D

My plants are growing in a container and up a trellis. I had several male flowers, no females for a couple weeks. For about a week, I have no flowers, but the plant itself is growing wildly. The heat in my area has gotten about 5-10 degrees hotter recently. The other day I moved container out of direct light, to protect the leaves from scorching. It gets filtered light through a sunscreen. My concern is the lack of flowering, is this something to be concerned about?

Have you been fertilizing the

By Almanac Staff

Have you been fertilizing the plants? Too much nitrogen can stimulate lots of growth but no flowers. Cucumbers do need full sun so you may want to move the container back where it was. A normal cucumber plant will produce 10 to 20 male flowers for every female. Hopefully by now you may have some more blossoms.

How do you hand pollinate

By Michelle Liquet

How do you hand pollinate cucumbers?

Hand pollinate early in the

By Almanac Staff

Hand pollinate early in the morning--and only with freshly-opened blooms. Break off a male bloom, remove its petals and roll the pollen onto the stigma in the center of the female flower. You can also use a paintbrush to transfer the pollen from male to female. The female flower is the one with a bulbish shape (ovary) at the base and short stem. The male has a long, slender stem. The female flowers are larger.

I bought some beautiful

By Serita Root

I bought some beautiful cucumber plants and put them by my watering hose so I would make sure to water. I still forgot and they wilted. I watered them and they came back but now they have brown spots on a lot of the leaves. Can I pinch the bad leaves off without harming the plant. Will they still grow if I plant them??

Brown spots on leaves

By Almanac Staff

Brown spots on leaves indicate a disease called anthracnose or Alternaria leaf spot. It can be controlled with chlorothalonil sprays applied every 10 to 14 days. Speak to your garden center.

transpants

By Anonymous

How long does it take for transplants to spring? I planted them a week ago, nothing is happening.

Keep in mind that cucumbers

By Almanac Staff

Keep in mind that cucumbers need warm soil and constant water supply to germinate. You need a temperature range of 75 degrees to 80 degrees F during the day. At this optimum soil temperature, the seeds will take 7 to 10 days to germinate.

Baby cukes dying

By Bobbigator76

My little cukes are dying before they barely start growing. They only make it about an inch long. I've not had this happen before. What am I doing wrong?

This usually happens when you

By Anonymous

This usually happens when you seed in dirt instead of sterile or pasteurized potting soil. It's known as "damping-off." Use the proper medium and be careful not to overwater. Give them lots of light and make sure they're not too crowded so they get air circulating. Good luck!

leaves are turning yellow

By Anonymous

i recentyly planted some cucumber plants and they are now turning yellow can you tell me what im doing wrong and what i can do to prevent this from happening

Avoid watering the leaves

By Anonymous

Avoid watering the leaves

roots

By Anonymous

I want to transplant my seedlings into a long growing box that can be mounted on my deck rail. How deep do I need the box to be to sufficiently hold the root sytem?

The recommended size for

By Almanac Staff

The recommended size for cucumbers is:
20" wide, 16" deep with soil volume of 4-5 gallons per plant. Cucumbers have deep root systems and aren't the best choice for shallow boxes. Here are some varieties that do well in containers: Sweet Success, Suyo, Salad Bush, Bush Slicer, Burpless, Liberty, Early Pik, Salty and Crispy.

Roots

By Anonymous

Build a frame and have a sheet of tin at the bottom. Then fill it with whatever soil you are using.

cucumber care

By Anonymous

I sod the seed and it germinated in three days. Its been a week and the plant is two inches tall with two leaves. I am keeping it indoors in a small pot. I plan to move it outdoors in two week in a planter. My question is it looks very thin and when I water it, it tilts to one side. Is that ok?

Your plants may not be

By Patricia Ann

Your plants may not be getting enough sunlight. They grow best in full sun and after about two weeks of sun and proper watering they should look a whole lot better.

bitter cukes

By Anonymous

How should I adjust my soil and watering to avoid the dreaded bitter cuke?

To avoid bitterness, provide

By Almanac Staff

To avoid bitterness, provide 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water in a single application, especially during dry/drought periods. Apply mulch to retain moisture. Plant cultivars that are listed as being bitter-free in the garden catalogs. Examples: Carmen, County Fair, Diva, Green Knight, Sweet Slice, Sweet Success and Tasty Green.

New to this

By Anonymous

I am planting for the first time this year. I just want pickling cucumbers is there a certain seed that is best for my dill pickles.

Look for varieties that have

By Almanac Staff

Look for varieties that have "pickling" in the name. Most mail order sources have a section for pickling cucumbers. Pick the cucumbers when small, don't let them grow longer than 4-5 inches.

Cucumbers with bulb shapes on bottom

By Anonymous

My cucumbers grew well but then started to grow into a bulb shape with the goodness dropping into the bulb and the top thin. When cut the seeds were very big.
Why has this happened.

This sounds like a

By Almanac Staff

This sounds like a pollination problem. Next time, try growing plants that attract bees along with your cucumbers. Or you can try to pollinate the cucumbers yourself.

Cucumbers

By Anonymous

How much water do we need for the to grow

Water cucumbers deeply,

By Almanac Staff

Water cucumbers deeply, applying 1 to 2 inches per week unless weather is especially dry. Cucumbers need good drainage and shouldn't be watered from above. Carefully water at soil level with a hose so as to not get any water splashing on the foliage.

Can I eat a yellow cucumber?

By Anonymous

My cucumbers turned yellow, can they be eaten. Went on vacation and they grew without me, and when I came back they were yellow and very long. Can they be eaten? Are they safe?

No, do not eat the yellow

By Sarah Perreault

No, do not eat the yellow cucumbers. They are over-ripe and should be discarded or added to your compost pile.

vey tough skin

By Anonymous

My cukes are about 8" long but from the very first one I harvested the skins are so thick they are impossible to chew. This is the first time this has happened - what could it be?

Sometimes it depends on the

By Almanac Staff

Sometimes it depends on the variety. Cucumber skins can be smooth and thin, or thick and rough.

Mishapen Cucumbers

By Anonymous

I am growing Chicago pickling cucumbers but almost all of the cucumbers are mishapen ; either fairly straight or with a sharp bend in them with the part of the cucumber that is past half way or the is shriveled up and skinny. The plants are in full sun but about 5 feet from a lilac hedge. Is there anything I can do ?

Misshapen fruit usually

By Almanac Staff

Misshapen fruit usually happens from incomplete pollination. The bees need to return and again and again. Sometimes, the later fruits will be a proper shape. In terms of the "shriveled" issue: If the female flowers bloom before there are male flowers to supply pollen, they will dry up or produce small fruits that drop off and die. Again, this is often corrected later in the season once the both flowers are blooming and there is plenty of pollination. Lack of pollination can be related to lack of pollinators (i.e., bees) or some rainy, interruptive weather. You can always hand pollinate.

yellow cukes

By Anonymous

SOme of my cucmbers are thin, green, and yummy. I harevested some LARGE YELLOW cukes. Are they safe to eat? Cut one open, lookes like normal cucumger in the middle)

If your cukes are yellow—and

By Almanac Staff

If your cukes are yellow—and they are not supposed to be (they are not a yellow variety, such as "lemon cucumbers"), they are probably overripe: the chlorophyll that makes them green has begun to fade. The color may also signal a virus or that they had too much water. Examine the plant for other signs of disease and/or consider your recent watering habit and the weather. Yellow cukes may look fine, but they are likely to be bitter tasting. By the way, a cuke that has little yellow on the bottom portion that gets little sunlight is probably okay. We hope this helps! –Almanac editors

Pale, skinless cucumbers?

By Anonymous

My cucumber plant has started to produce very pale cucumbers with a slight hairy, furry light green skin as well as the normal cucumbers with the original dark shiny skin. Why is this happening?! Th pale ones are ok to eat, they are just sweeter and denser then the normal ones.

pale cucumbers

By Almanac Staff

A yellow cucumber is usually over ripe. But a pale cucumber can also be caused by a virus, too much water, or a nutrient imbalance. Try adding some aged manure or compost to the soil around the plants.

help

By Anonymous

My cucumber plant is growing tall. have little ones but they don't seem to grow any bigger then 2 inches, do I need to prune the plant? this is growing in pots

help

By Almanac Staff

Cucumbers depend on water and you need to make sure they get a consistent level of moisture. Your pots may be too small to retain the water. Consider transplanting to bigger pots. Cucumbers are also heavy feeders. Add a diluted liquid fish emulsion every other week during the growing season.

Cucumbers

By Anonymous

I have planted cucumbers in past years before and never had a problem. This year we planted in wooden garden boxes 8'x4'x2'. We have cucumbers in one half of the box and cantalope in the other half of the box. We have let the plants grow out of the box, but have kept both plants from growing into each other. My plants flowered and grew nicely, but now that the fruit is on the vine the cucumbers are extremely skinny, long, and wrinkly. Do you know why this may be? Thanks for any input.

Cucumbers

By Almanac Staff

Cucumbers need a lot of water. Make sure to water often and add mulch around your plants to keep the moisture in the soil. The wooden garden boxes may dry out quickly in hot weather. Add compost or fertilizer to provide nutrients that the growing cucumbers need.

cucumber leaves

By Anonymous

4-6 week since planting, there are large leaves but no flowers, I was told I should be clipping the leaves to shock the plant into flowering, Is this correct?

You’ll want to keep the

By Almanac Staff

You’ll want to keep the leaves; they make food for the plant. As for pruning, you do not need to do any if you have a bush cucumber. If you have a vining cucumber that will be trained on a trellis, then pruning is a way to encourage yield and quality fruit. In this case, allow the plant to grow until it forms about 6 or 7 leaves on the main stem. A node is where the leaves connect to the stem. At these nodes, there can also be tendrils, a side shoot (also called a growth point, sucker, or lateral shoot), and a flower or fruit. At the first 5 or 6 nodes counting up from the base of the plant, pinch off the side shoot. [Side shoots are vining branches that grow off the main stem, and will form their own leaves, flowers, fruits, etc.] Also, remove any flowers as they develop on these 5 to 6 lower nodes. Many growers allow just one flower to form on the upper nodes, as well. Depending on the training system, side shoots on the upper nodes are either allowed to grow along a wire or other support, or removed so that there is just one vertical stem.

CUCUMBERS

By Anonymous

MY PLANTS ARE GROWING WILD,SHOULD I CLIP TOP LEAVES SO THEY STOP GROWING?SO THE CUCUMBER GETS ALL THE NUTIRANTS?

Cucumbers

By Almanac Staff

You can prune the lateral shoots, but do keep the main stem. You may want to do this several times during the growing season.

help

By Anonymous

I have a lot of flowers, healthy vines, more bees this year than last but no cucumbers. Any that have formed on two different plants are small & uneven in growth. How do you tell the difference between male & female flowers ?

Female flowers are swollen at

By Almanac Staff

Female flowers are swollen at the base. This swell is the ovary and a tiny pickle. Note that the early flowers are males so sometimes it's just a question of patience. Both flowers need to be available to bees at the same time without fluky weather interference. Here are pictures of female and male flowers if it helps:
http://vric.ucdavis.edu/pdf/fruitsetproblems.pdf

pickling cucumbers

By Anonymous

The dirt around my plants is starting to turn green, what does this mean? Another question is how long should they continue to produce?

One crop should produce fruit

By Almanac Staff

One crop should produce fruit for about 5 to 6 weeks. The more you pick, the more the vines will produce. Growing vertically increases your yield, too. In terms of the green color of your soil, has it been very wet? Are you using a soluable fertilizer? We'd advise that you add organic matter such as compost and organic mulch to improve your soil.

my cucumber are small

By Anonymous

My cucumber have flowered, both male and female, but they are not getting big. Each of them are only getting about 2-3 in long, they look like a gherkin pickle, what should I do?

If you're fertilizing, back

By Almanac Staff

If you're fertilizing, back off. If you're watering, be sure it's consistent and at the base of the plants, not overhead. Ensure the plants get 6 to 8 hours of sun per day. Otherwise, it's often a pollination issue. You need to plenty of bees which also do not get deterred by fickle weather. You could always hand pollinate. The good news is that cucumbers for pickling should be picked when they are short: 2 to 4 inches long!

Patio Gardner

By Anonymous

I live in an apartmen started my seeds first of june. Seen pictures of cucumber plants growing up bamboo shutes. An what size container should i use for root growth?

There are "vine" cucumbers

By Almanac Staff

There are "vine" cucumbers and bush types. Bush types take up less room and are great for containers. If you have a vine type, you'll need a vertical trellis for the vine to climb--a bamboo trellis would work. In terms of size pot, 1 cucumber needs 1 gallon container. Here's a great source to help you grow your cucumbers and any vegetables in containers: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/publications/guides/e-545_vegetable_gardening_containers.pdf

dying plants

By Anonymous

my plants are green and hardy at the tops but at the base, leaves are turning brown and falling off. Some leaves are very crunchy and some have white spots on them. I was told I had aphids but I've treated with a soap and water mixture and it's not gotten any better. And I've not seen 1 bug. So what is happening to my plants? I'm watering every day right now because it's been REALLY hot but I normally water every other day. I would guess they are dry but they started looking like this when the season was cooler and wet. This happened last year too - Help!

Sounds like your plant has

By Almanac Staff

Sounds like your plant has powdery mildew.

Try treating with a safe fungicide. To prevent it in the future, try a slow-release fertilizer and make sure they get good sun.

rust on cucumber plants

By Anonymous

Is it ok to pick them whem leaves are wet from dew?

For disease control, avoid

By Almanac Staff

For disease control, avoid picking cucumbers when wet. Also, be sure to water at base of plant and try not to let water splash on leaves. And ensure your plants have good air circulation.

Container Cucumbers

By Anonymous

I live in TN, and we had a very early spring so I planted my cucumbers in late March..(in a container) when I started harvesting them, they were great..I was getting at least three a day. but, now that its getting super hot, my cucumbers are turning yellow at the top before they even get 3 in long, and they are very bitter. I have been watering them twice a day (if I don't, the leaves get very wilted)so, I'm wondering what has happened? also, I'm not getting as many. Have they reached their peak?

Cucumbers usually need 1 inch

By Almanac Staff

Cucumbers usually need 1 inch of water each week. The usual reasons for yellow cucumbers are: too much watering, nutrient imbalance, or a virus. In terms of bitterness, this can happen in dry weather. Bitterness also due to the way you eat cucumbers. To minimize their "bite," remove the skin and trim both stem and blossom ends. Scooping the seeds and seed membrane from the center also results in milder-tasting cucumbers. European (or English) cucumbers do not need such treatment; they may be served skin and all.

Lateral Shoots On Cucumbers Please Identify? Newbie to Growing

By Anonymous

Please I need help in Identifying Lateral shoots on cucumbers

For climbing cucumbers on a

By Catherine Boeckmann

For climbing cucumbers on a trellis, the side shoots form right where the cucumbers form at the joint of the main stem. Keep the plant to one stem by pruning off all the lateral shoots that appear. Be ruthless as it will keep trying to send out lateral shoots everywhere; it's a daily task. Wait until the vine has 7 leaves before you start.
If you a bush variety of cucumber (picking types), you do not need to prune.

don't see any flower

By Anonymous

first time growing cucumbers,growing nice big green leaves and i am growing them upward getting nice and tall too. but i do not see any flowers yet. how long before i will see flowers

It may vary but about flowers

By Almanac Staff

It may vary--I'd say flowers form after three weeks. Male blooms are usually first. They may drop off. A week or two later, you'll see female flowers (differentiated by a cucumber-shaped bulb at the base).

Removing first cucumbers

By Anonymous

I am growing cucumbers in my greehouse and read that I should remove the first small fruits until the plants are at least 4 feet high. At this point, my plants are only about 8- 10" which means I'll be doing a lot of plucking. Is this something you suggest?

Hadn't heard this. You want

By Almanac Staff

Hadn't heard this. You want to let the fruit develop and pick your cucumbers when they're at the right size -- which depends on the variety. For slicing varieties: 6 to 8 inches long. For pickles: they can be no more than 2 inches long. Once they start producing, the fruit grows quickly so expect to harvest every day or every other day.

Anonymous

By Anonymous

Ideally, how long after the cucumber seeds germinate should I expect them to begin producing vines?

Usually cucumber seedlings

By Almanac Staff

Usually cucumber seedlings start producing vines after they have their second set of leaves.

sun requirements?

By Anonymous

I see I'm not the only one who has started my cucumber seeds. I thought I had started mine a little early by mistake but they're indoors.. This is the first garden I've grown by myself and I see nothing about sun requirements for cucumbers. I assume it is full sun. Any tips?

Yes, cucumbers need full sun

By Almanac Staff

Yes, cucumbers need full sun to grow well. They are a subtropical crop and love plenty of sun and long warm days plus balmy nights. If you don't have a long season, there are some newer varieties for shorter seasons.

Where are my seedlings

By Anonymous

I sowed heirloom Beit Alpha Cucumbers and Armenian cucumbers March 12th as well as grey zucchini and lakota squash. The squash and zucchini are up, but still no sign of the cucumbers and they are getting the same amount of sun and water. I planted them according to 1 inch depth. Should I reseed now to see if I can get some to come up?

cucumber seeds

By Almanac Staff

The cucumber seeds need nice warm soil to germinate. They may still come up when the soil gets warmer. You can start some seeds in pots indoors in case you need to fill in a few spots in the garden.

seedings

By Anonymous

I've started my seed indoors now they are coming up very lanky. How can I make them put on more leaves and compact? Or do I just let them grow long stems?

lanky stalks

By Anonymous

The biggest issue with starting seeds indoors is the need for artificial light or a lighted windowsill. when the plants grow under natural sunlight they stop shooting up thin and thicken out but the leaves are reaching for the light and are staying long to find it. best thing to do is get it in the light or start over with a 4' flourescent over the bed with blue light it reflects spring time and will help too

indoor seeds

By Almanac Staff

If these seeds are indoors, then the seedlings stretch for the sunlight. Most likely cause is not enough sunlight. Repotting the seedlings in bigger pots and maybe adding a grow light will help. The seeds may be better planted directly in the garden when the soil has warmed up.

Lots of flowers, no fruit

By Seaserg

I am growing "lemon cucumbers", a heirloom. The plants could not look any healthier, strong,good color and full of flowers, but the flowers die off and I get no fruit. Any feedback on why this is happening.

Lemon Cucumbers

By Jamesmorrison4

Planted lemon cuts last year they did great. It takes weeks for the bees to find the plants. Once you see the bees you will see the fruit. This variety will produce a huge plant so prepare for the space. It will also produce a lot of cucumbers.

cucumbers

By JudyChandler

How long does it take for cucumber plants to mature?

53-56 days

By Anonymous

53-56 days

Post new comment

Before posting, please review all comments. Due to the volume of questions, Almanac editors can respond only occasionally, as time allows. We also welcome tips from our wonderful Almanac community!

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.