This page provides written and visual instructions on How to Grow Cucumbers. We will be using the Socrates Hybrid, for our model for this page.
Below you will see that I did not do my homework on growing cucumbers and started the season off with the Socrates Hybrid. I have found out that the Socrates Hybrid is a cool weather plant. We may be having some cool weather here in San Antonio today but it will soon warm up.
In the world of seeds, OG means "organically grown" and signifies seeds harvested from plants grown organically, without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides and according to National Organic Program standards.
For supplies, OG signifies products that are approved for use in growing certified organic crops; supplies are listed by OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) when noted in the product description.
CULTURE: Cucumbers like a warm, rich, limey ground but any well-drained, fertile soil will do.
GROWING SEEDLINGS: Sow indoors in 2" plug trays, 3 seeds/cell, 4-5 weeks before weather is warm and settled. Keep temperature above 70°F day and 60°F night.
Transplant 12" apart in rows 5-6' apart. Do not disturb roots when transplanting. Cucumber plants cannot survive frost.
DIRECT SEEDING: Wait until soil is warm, at least 70°F, usually at least a week after last frost. Cucumber seeds will not germinate at a soil temperature below 50°F and germinate slowly at 68°F soil temperature.
Sow about 2" apart, 1/2" deep, rows 5-6' apart. Thin to about 8" apart.
Or you could use the hill method. Plant 6-8 seeds in a hill, thin to four plants per hill. Make the hills about 2 feet apart in rows three feet apart.
POLY MULCH And ROW COVERS: Protect plants from insects and increase warmth for earlier and heavier yields.
DISEASES: Choose disease-tolerant varieties, provide favorable growing conditions, plow in or remove and compost plant refuse. If a plant is infected, try treating it, but may be best to just pull it up and put it in the trash so the disease does not spread.
INSECT PESTS: Protect against cucumber beetles, pictured at left, with floating row covers, or control with pyrethrin or rotenone.
HARVEST: Once bearing begins, pick daily.
STORAGE: Hold cucumbers at 45-50°F and 90% humidity for up to 2 weeks.
GREENHOUSE CROPPING: Plants can be pruned and string-trellised. Use only parthenocarpic (need no pollination) varieties.
Some of the disease that can affect Cucumbers is Powdery Mildew, Downy Mildew, Cucumber Mosaic Virus and Scab.
The best two prevention methods for diseases is to purchase resistant varieties when possible and to water in the morning so the plants have time to dry before nightfall and before working with them. Do not touch the plants when they are wet.
Another disease is the Cucumber Mosaic Virus.
Cucumber mosaic is very common. In addition to the mosaic pattern the edges of the leaves turn down, and the knobs on the fruits are light yellow.
The cucumber mosaic virus is transmitted from plant to plant by several different kinds of aphids. The virus infects cucumbers, melons, squash, pumpkin, pepper, spinach, tomato, and many other vegetables and flowers.
Squash mosaic, caused by the squash mosaic virus, is transmitted from plant to plant by cucumber beetles. The virus infects squash, cucumber, melon, and occasionally watermelon. The virus is sometimes seed-borne.
Cucumber Scab is caused by the fungus Cladosporium Cucumerinum. Symptoms can occur on leaves, petioles and stems, but the most conspicuous symptoms occur on the fruit. Affected fruits are weakened and therefore often invaded by soft-rotting bacteria that produce a foul-smelling decay.
Check with your local nursery to find out how to organically treat insects and diseases in your area.
In learning how to grow cucumbers it is important to water the cucumbers and all plants properly. Each plant type has its own water needs. Maximum yields and fruit quality will only result if the plants receive adequate and timely moisture.
Depending on your soil type, approximately 1 to 2 in. of water per week is needed to obtain high quality cucumbers. An irregular water supply, particularly during blossoming and fruit development, can detrimentally affect fruit quality and result in increased nubins or hooked fruit.
A nubin is an underdeveloped vegetable or fruit.
Hooked vegetables or fruits are ones that form a hook instead of growing straight when they do not get enough water. Green beans that do not get enough water will be hooked or stunted.
Just because we have a nubin or hooked condition does not mean they did not get enough physical water but that conditions did not allow the plants to get the moisture where it was needed.
In extreme hot conditions, we can water all we want, but the plant will not be able to deliver it due to the heat.
HOW TO GROW CUCUMBER UPDATES:
I started some Socrates seeds inside for the Spring.
The cucumber I am using for How to Grow Cucumbers is the Socrates. The Socrates is a new, high quality Beit Alpha (Dutch type cucumber) for colder conditions.
It is a dark green, thin-skinned, tender, sweet, seedless cucumber with 7-8" fruits. They are suitable for use indoors with temperatures ranging from 50-82ºF. Resistant to target spot, they are not recommend for outdoor production.
Days to Maturity Bloom: 52
It just dawned upon me that I picked the wrong cucumber for this area. I did not realize it was for the greenhouse only, so I guess I will have to plant them in the greenhouse. But even then it will be too warm for them. Even after all these years, I am still learning how to grow cucumbers.
UPDATE April 2:
I planted some of the Socrates in my greenhouse but I am sure the heat will get to them soon.
When learning how to grow cucumbers, we need to make sure we start with the correct seeds for our area.
The first picture below is one of Socrates seeds I started indoors several weeks ago. Ideally they should have been started back in January.
The second picture is where I have planted them outside. Since they are a cool weather plant, they should be OK for now.
Below is a picture of my Socrates cucumbers. They seem to be doing quite well so far.
Well it would seem the Socrates does not mind a little warm weather. As you can see in the first picture below one plant is growing like a wild weeds.
In the second picture are the baby cucumbers. But I have several plants outside that are not doing well at all.
Below are pictures of the Socrates Cucumber. The cucumbers had a crisp and clean taste free of any bitterness.
The Socrates is starting to succumb to the heat. At its peak we were getting about six cucumbers every other day. Not bad for a plant that was not even supposed to grow in warm weather.
We did not have any disease or insect problems with these. I hope you have fun as you practice how to grow cucumbers in your backyard.
More info on Cucumbers:
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