Cucumbers are a tasty vegetable beloved by both kids and adults. While everyone enjoys cucumbers, not everyone will grow them. Here are some interesting facts about cucumbers that may help you with your next gardening projects.
Facts you need to know about growing cucumbers: Growing cucumbers is easy once you know what you are doing. Warm soil and regular watering are key to producing high yields. Though cucumbers are primarily made up of water, they are also good sources of vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin B.
What is the secret to growing cucumbers?
The secret to growing cucumbers is consistency. While the crop doesn’t need a lot to grow, it does need specific needs met all the time.
To begin with, ensure it is consistently a warm enough temperature to plant. Measure the nighttime temperature as well as the soil temperature before planting.
Water is another element that needs to be consistent. If you go too long between watering, your cucumbers will have stunted growth.
How to properly grow your cucumbers
First, you should be aware that there are two categories of cucumbers: vining and bush. While vining cumbers are the most common, bush cucumbers can still be grown successfully.
Vine cucumbers grow upward in a vine, which means you will need some sort of support for them, such as a trellis. The cucumbers will be cleaner this way, as they don’t grow on the ground, so kids can have an easier time picking and eating them!
Bush cucumbers grow in mounds and are better if you are short on space or want to try container gardening. They still produce a fair number of cucumbers but are often smaller in size.
While you may be excited to start growing cucumbers, they need warm weather to really grow. Make sure the soil is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit to plant.
Many regions take too long to warm up in the spring, so starting your seedlings indoors is a good habit. Alternatively, you can start with plants instead of seeds to kickstart your garden.
10 facts about growing cucumbers
Perfect for beginners
Ready to plant a garden but aren’t sure what to choose? Why not try cucumbers?
Even though they can look daunting, cucumbers are easy to grow. Just make sure the soil is warm, there are enough nutrients in the area, and you stick to a steady watering schedule.
No matter what your end goals are for cucumbers, there is a variety for this. Over the years, scientists have been purposefully cultivating cucumbers, so you can find a variety that exactly matches your needs.
Whether you want long and large cucumbers for slicing or small cucumbers for pickling, you can find them.
A whole lot of variety
Amazingly, there are at least 238 varieties of cucumbers to choose from. While your local gardening center will only have a handful of them for purchase, specialty gardening websites will provide access to more of them.
Skin or no skin
Whether you want to peel your cucumbers or not will help you decide what type to plant. English cucumbers have thinner skin that is easy to eat. In contrast, garden cucumbers have thicker skin and while it’s still technically edible, most people prefer to peel them first.
From just one cucumber plant, you can expect to harvest up to 3 pounds of produce. While conditions do need to be right for this to happen, that’s a large return on investment.
Heat is key
Cucumbers don’t like the cold. Before you plant, it’s imperative that you wait until the soil is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If you can wait until it is even warmer this will ensure steady growth.
Part of the chemical makeup of cucumbers includes phytochemicals. If you place slices of cucumbers into a metal pie tray, the reaction will create an unpleasant odor for pests, although it isn’t obvious to humans.
Even if you are growing cucumbers and don’t have any to use for this purpose, just purchase some from a grocery store and they will work. Put the trays of cucumbers around your garden and pests won’t want to come near.
Cucumbers are incredibly refreshing and an instant mood booster. This is because they are 95% water. If you need to hydrate more but don’t like the taste of water, eating cucumber will give you the same results.
If your breath isn’t the freshest and you don’t want to go to the trouble of brushing your teeth, simply press a slice of cucumber to the roof of your mouth. Hold it in place for 30 seconds and the cucumber will kill unwanted bacteria that lead to bad breath.
One average-sized cucumber has just 16 calories. The effort it takes to chew and digest that cucumber may actually take more calories for your body to work, which can lead to overall weight loss.
What can go wrong with growing cucumbers?
Cucumbers can attract a lot of pests. All types of insects including beetles will gravitate toward cucumbers.
Using a substance like a neem oil, which is organic, is one of the most effective methods to protect your cucumbers.
Cucumbers are primarily made up of water, so it stands to reason that this crop needs a steady supply of water to grow. Be sure to keep your plants well-watered, especially in the height of the summer.
Water in the morning or evening to take advantage of cooler temperatures. If you can, install a drip irrigation system and put it on a timer in case you forget about your cucumbers.
As cucumbers grow out of their flowers, the last part out gets the least amount of nutrients. As a result, they can suffer from what is known as blossom-end rot.
To help prevent this, ensure your cucumber plants have enough calcium. You can easily add calcium in the form of an inorganic fertilizer.
Cucumbers are part of a healthy diet so it makes sense to include them in your backyard garden. You can choose from hundreds of varieties, so whether you want to munch on a crispy cucumber without peeling it or pick a peck for your pickles, you can find a type for your needs.