Cucumber

Cucumbers can be rather delicate and are usually best grown in a greenhouse or polytunnel in the UK, though they will do okay outside in a sheltered and sunny spot in southern regions. There are several varieties that can be grown and will provide a number of cucumbers for salads throughout the summer months.

Growing cucumber:

Cucumbers should be started from seed indoors or in a propagator as they require higher temperatures to germinate. Seeds should be sown on their sides to reduce the risk of them rotting. Seeds to be planted outdoors or in an unheated greenhouse or polytunnel should be sown in around late April and after hardening off planted into their final growing positions once the weather has well and truly warmed up.

You can grow cucumbers in containers of at least 20-25cm or directly into the soil. Cucumbers will require some sort of frame, trellis or other support up which to grow. If planting outdoors it is a good idea to cover young plants with a cloche in order to prevent any checks in their growth.

Whether in pots or in soil, outside or in a greenhouse or polytunnel, cucumbers will require consistent watering. Keep soil and compost moist but do not allow it to become waterlogged. If planting into soil it is a good idea to enrich that soil first with a good compost.

If you have planted cucumbers in a greenhouse or polytunnel you should be sure to keep the space well ventilated and to keep the space moist. Wetting the flooring of paths in the greenhouse or polytunnel near cucumbers can help to keep the humidity high. Cucumbers will benefit from a general purpose balanced plant feed.

Pinch out the growing tip of the cucumber plants when they reach the top of their supports. Harvest the cucumbers as soon as they mature to encourage more fruit. Do not try to pull the cucumbers off the plant but cut off with a knife or secateurs. You should harvest when the sides of the cucumber are parallel and the tip is no longer pointed. You should be able to harvest cucumbers throughout the summer.

While cucumbers grown in a greenhouse or polytunnel and those grown outside taste the same, you may find that the skins on inside varieties is thinner so they do not need to be peeled.

Why grow cucumbers in the garden?

Cucumbers are a delicious addition to a summer salad and while they cannot easily be stored for longer than about a week in the fridge, most families will find a two or three cucumber plants to be a great addition to their kitchen garden.

You may think that growing cucumbers at home is not worth the effort but you will likely change your mind when you taste the different between ones you have grown at home and those from the supermarket.

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Cucumis sativus