Cucumbers are essential to any vegetable garden, but there are ways to improve production and flavor that you need to know.
See my list of favorite cucumbers that I grow to get started.
How to improve cucumber crop production
Make sure the soil temperature is 60 degrees or above before planting and plant where they will receive as much full sun as possible 7-8 hours minimum.
The first is to provide the proper nutrients for the plant to grow well and produce a large crop, by amending the soil to make sure it is loose and rich with organic matter starting with COF and feeding them monthly.
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Cucumbers do much better by keeping the plants off the ground and growing vertically on trellises or other types of cages or staking them up. This keeps the fruit from rotting on the ground and away from bugs.
Trellises help to allow good airflow and it is important to do this early on so that you do not damage the roots of the cucumbers.
Cucumbers need at least 1 inch of water per week and during the hottest part of the summer, they will need more since this is when much more of the crop is setting on.
They prefer one or two deep waterings to keep from getting blossom end rot.
Watering consistently helps the fruit to grow quickly which will prevent bitter cucumbers and higher production.
To produce higher yields you need to make sure bees and other pollinators have good access to the cucumbers. It is good to plant pollinator-attracting plants around the cucumbers to draw them in. These can include marigolds, zinnias, sunflowers, dill, and beans.
You can also pollinate cucumbers yourself by using a fine, thick paintbrush or I use Q-tips to brush lightly over the blossoms spreading the pollen.
Composting and mulching are critical to allow as much water as possible to get directly to the plant and not evaporate, it also keeps the plant roots cooler in the hot summer sun and prevents weeds from crowding the plant.
To keep the plant producing a high yield of cucumbers and not slowing down it is important to harvest cucumbers regularly and it is best to harvest them in the morning not stressing the plant in the heat of the day.
Be sure to look for cucumbers in their hiding places, since they are the same color as the leaves they can easily be missed if you are not moving the foliage to find ripe cucumbers.
How to enhance the flavor of cucumbers
There are companion plants that will enhance the flavor and production of your cucumbers. Dill and Nasturshums add nutrients to the soil which enhances the flavor of the cucumbers and they attract bees to pollinate your cucumbers.
Happy Cucumber Gardening from the Urban Gardener!