Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sow under glass
Sow outside
Plant outside
Harvest
Showing schedule for Southern England in United Kingdom

Soil facts and preparation

Quick facts..

  • Soil Type Fertile and Well Drained
  • Ideal Ph range 6.5 to 7.5
  • Site Full Sun
Cucumber plants require very fertile well drained soil rich in organic matter. Decide whether you are going to grow in containers or in the vegetable patch.

If growing in the vegetable patch, prepare the location for each plant by digging a large hole a minimum of 50cm wide by 50cm deep. Over fill the hole with fresh good quality compost, creating a small mound. Repeat for each intended plant ensuring at least a meter spacing. Note trellis varieties are going to need some thing to grow up so consider this when choosing the location for your Cucumbers

If you are intending to direct sow, you can use a black plastic mulch over the hole to warm the soil for a few days before sowing and preserve moisture afterwards

Sowing and planting

Quick facts..

  • Germination 3 to 10 days
  • Sow 25mm deep
  • Sow Spacing 1000mm
  • Rows 1000mm apart
Sow seeds in warm soil. Do not sow too early, Cucumbers need the soil and air temperature to be warm. You can make successive sowings every 3 weeks for a constant supply. Note one plant will produce a decent sized cumber or two per week so only sow what you think you'll need, the plants take up a lot of space!

If sowing in a container, start of in pots 10-15cm in diameter filled with good quality compost.

Plant 3 seeds flat a few cm apart at in each pot or top of your preprepared location and thin to the strongest plant when the first true leaves appear.

Growing a bumper crop

Continue to pot on into larger containers when the roots show at the bottom of their current pots

Keep soil moist and feed weekly with tomato fertilizer when the fruit has set. Cucumber plants are very hungry and thirsty.

Cucumbers are a vine and need to be trained up trellis if growing in a container when you re-pot to their final and largest. Plants in the patch can be trained up trellis to save space. The plants will produce shoots that grab and coil round the support provided but you may need to add additional ties near large swollen fruits.

The majority of cucumber plants produce male and female flowers, its the female flowers that are 'polinated' and become cucumbers and the male flowers are the 'polinaters'. Some varieties have plants that are all female or all male, if you are growing one of these varieties you will have to read the seed packet more carefully.

Harvesting the fruits of your labour

Quick facts..

  • Yield 2000g per plant
Cut the fruits from the vine as required but don't let the Cucumbers get too large (20-25cm is ideal). Regular cutting (and feeding) will encourage the plant to keep producing more Cucumbers.

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Cucumber varieties

Agnes

Popular as a pickling cucumber, Agnes can also been let to grow larger for use in salads and sandwiches. Its a Parthenocarpic variety meaning the fruit will set without pollination, effortlessly giving you plenty of fruits over the whole growing season even after the weather cools. Agnes cucumber plants are best grown up a vine or trellis. Pick the sweet and crunchy fruits for pickling when they reach between 7cm and 12cm in length, rub off the small spines on the skin with your hand. Good resistance to powdery and downy mildew, scab and cucumber mosaic virus.

Burpless Tasty Green

This variety can be grown outdoors in most locations, it produces an abundance of tender skinned cucumbers up to 30cm long. Burpless tasty green is an easy variety to grow, there is no need to remove mail flowers and they can either be left to trail or grown with some support. This variety has been bred to be resistent to mildew. The fruits have no bitterness and are easily digestable.

Diva

Diva or 'Le Diva' produces spineless, burpless, smooth glossy skinned fruit, a very hansome variety indeed. Not just a pretty fruit but also sweet and tasty and the skin is very tender so absolutely no need to peel. Grow on a vine or trellis for nice straight fruits either under glass or outdoors. Plants are parthenocarpic meaning the fruit will set without pollination and gynoecious which means all female (only females produce fruit). Being all female it is best to remove the male flowers, identified as not having the beginings of a small fruit immediately behind the flower. Harvest the fruits when they reach 15cm to 20cm in length and eat as soon after picking as possible. Resistant to powdery and downy mildew, scab and cucumber mosaic virus.

Marketmore

A prolific cropper of straight dark green fruits, Marketmore cucumbers grow to approximately 20cm in length. This variety produces fruit throughout the growing season and have good resistance to powdery and downy mildew, scab and cucumber mosaic virus. Hardy and easy to grow, either left to sprawl on the ground or trained up a trellis or cage. Marketmore is a slicing variety of cucumber that will have a few 'spines' on the skin which are easily rubbed off after picking. The skin of the fruit is relatively tender so it is not necessary to peel.

Telegraph

Telegraph cucumbers produce long and thin fruits, measuring on average 30-35cm and are dark green in colour, left on the plant they can grow to 45cm. Their skin has shallow grooves running lengthways and easily digestable. This is a greenhouse variety in most temperate climates. Openly pollinated - meaning this variety will set fruit without pollination. Remove male flowers, this will prevent the cucumbers tasting bitter, male flowers are those that have thin straight stems that won't swell to become fruit, female flowers have the tiny beginings of a cucumber behind them. Train plants vertically up canes or trellis, plants can grow well over 2 meters tall. Note this is the variety most often bought from supermarkets, individually wrapped in plastic to prevent damage to the soft skin.