Planting cucumbers Field

Larry G. Field
Thursday, April 25, 2019
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Cucumbers are one of the best garden vegetables. A number of shapes, colors and sizes are available. They produce heavily for about two months. Many are said to mature in 48-55 days. If planted in mid to late May mature cukes should be available in early July and on into September. All varieties are prolific producers and once producing will provide more than a family can use. Fresh cukes are wonderful. I get so spoiled by home grown that if eating out, I remove & discard the “cardboard” cukes (and mush tomatoes) from my restaurant salads.

I grow a seed row about 12 feet long and allow 7.5 feet in all directions for vine growth. I crowd the seeds in the row to 9 inch spacing. Every 9 inches I excavate a ½” deep hole and place three seeds ~1 inch apart, cover ½”. If more than one seed germinates, I let all grow until they begin to crowd one another, then I remove all but the best. I drive several 2”X2” stakes ~30” tall into the vine expansion area. These stakes become leaning and balance poles, making the every second day harvests easier. In addition to sharing with family and neighbors a crop of this size should produce a few hundred pounds for charities.

Vines of any vine plant must be controlled. The first control step is to allow sufficient spacing for vine growth, 7.5’ for cukes. There will always be a few vines that grow further than the average. If such vines begin to grow beyond their allotted space one can prune them or “train” them back to where they belong.

The straight eight cuke is my variety of choice. They are the type most commonly seen in grocery stores.

Cukes are frequently trellised. Trellises reduce lateral spread & allow cukes that produce long fruits to hang and grow straight rather than curling as frequently happens on the ground. Trellises minimize the back strain of harvest. Most marketed trellises are “A” frame design, with two sides spaced at the bottom and attached at the top.

I continually strive to maximize production. I normally plant cukes adjacent to red potatoes which are adjacent to tomatoes. For spacing I allow 7.5 feet for cuke expansion, 4 feet for my tiller bar, 1.5 feet for potato expansion on both sides, 4 feet for tilling between the potatoes and tomatoes and 1.5 feet for tomato expansion. The tomatoes and cukes will require more than this spacing, but not before the potatoes are harvested. Placing a row of early developing veggie between two rows of late developers allows maximum use of garden space.

Poll

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