Cucumbers are a warm-season vegetable requiring full sun and a long growing period. They prefer fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0-6.8. Enrich the soil with compost or well-rotted manure and ensure it is warm before planting, as cucumbers are sensitive to cold.
Plant cucumber seeds directly in the garden or start them indoors 2-4 weeks before the last frost date. In cooler climates, using black plastic mulch can help warm the soil.
Sow seeds 1 inch deep, planting 2-3 seeds per spot. Space hills 4-6 feet apart, with rows 5-6 feet apart. Thin to the strongest plant in each hill after germination. For trellised cucumbers, space plants 1 foot apart.
Cucumbers need consistent moisture, especially during fruit set and growth. Use mulch to maintain soil moisture and control weeds.
For more detailed growing information, including varieties and trellising techniques, refer to our comprehensive cucumber grow guide.
Diseases, Insects, and Weeds
Pests such as cucumber beetles and aphids, and diseases like powdery mildew and bacterial wilt, can be common. Use floating row covers to protect plants, remove them during flowering for pollination, and apply appropriate organic or chemical controls as necessary.
Harvest cucumbers when they are of suitable size and still firm, usually when they are 6-8 inches long for slicing varieties and 3-5 inches for pickling types. Cut the fruit from the vine with a sharp knife or scissors; do not pull.
Storage and Preservation
Cucumbers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. For longer storage, pickling is the most common method. They can also be sliced and frozen for use in chilled dishes or smoothies.