Crazy for Cucumbers

Like tomatoes, there are few foods out there that taste better than a fresh garden grown cucumber.  Cucumbers require some finesse to grow because they are a tender crop (they don’t like the cold) and they have some idiosyncrasies that we gardeners need to iron out:

  • Cucumbers like it warm
    • have no frost tolerance whatsoever
    • temperatures below 10C have a negative impact on their growth and fruit quality
  • Because of their intolerance of cold, start cucumbers indoors, 2-4 weeks ahead of when you would like to plant them outside.
    • for us in the Edmonton area, a good target date for planting cucumbers outdoors is the 1st or 2nd week of June but still keep an eye on overnight temperatures. If it is looking under 10C, cover them.
    • get them started indoors in the first 2 weeks of May
  • Grow cucumbers in high quality, well-draining soil – cucumbers have a high demand for water, they like to be moist but they become despondent if their feet are sitting wet & soggy
  • If cucumbers are too wet (and cold) they become more susceptible disease & insect pressures
  • Fertilizer requirements for cucumbers:
    • cucumbers have lower requirements for nitrogen (N), and higher for phosphorous (P) and potassium (K)
    • fertilizer numbers are in the order of N-P-K so look for fertilizers that have a sequence something like this: 5-7-6
    • for more information on unwinding the fertilizer numbers, click this link Unwinding the Fertilizer Numbers
    • soil types have an effect on fertilizer needs
      • well-draining soils will need more applications because fertilizer leaches out with the draining water
      • heavy soils that drain less tend to build up fertilizer salts.  Cucumbers burn when the salt level gets high
    • compost adds organic matter to heavy soils and helps them to drain better
    • consider using mulch – mulch keeps roots cool and helps the soil retain moisture
    • consider using a slow release fertilizer and apply once a month
    • soluble fertilizers work well, apply them weekly
  • Training the cucumber stalks up a trellis affords easy access for maintenance and picking; and keeps leaves dry and off the ground.

Maybe contemplate growing a juicy, tasty cucumber this year!  We carry cucumber seeds and started plants in our sales greenhouse alongside our other vegetables.  June is a perfect time of year to plant cucumbers because the day lengths are long, the light intensity is high, and the risk of frost is significantly reduced.

Got questions?  Please call us at 780-467-3091 or email us via our website we’d be happy to dialog with you!