Climbing cucumber plants

Plant, fertilize and peel cucumbers correctly

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) are part of the basic equipment of every vegetable gardener. Whether in the greenhouse or in the field, a vegetable garden is imperfect without cucumbers. The fruit vegetables belong to the cucurbits (Cucurbitaceae). The genus of cucumber (Cucumis) also includes the melon and over 50 other siblings.

Cucumbers are originally from India. They have been cultivated in their homeland for around 3,000 years. The Greeks and Romans were already familiar with the vegetables that have been grown under glass in this country since the 19th century. Different forms are common around the world, which differ in fruit size, texture of the skin, cold tolerance and fertilization.

From a botanical point of view, cucumbers are berry fruits because their seeds are located in the pulp. As annuals they develop creeping, climbing or climbing habit. First of all, their rungs lie on the ground. As soon as they are given an opportunity to climb, cucumbers climb up to 4 meters in height. Large, triangular to ovate leaves with rough hairs sit on the sprouts. Yellow funnel-shaped flowers are masculine when placed in the armpits. Larger and solitary flowers are mostly female. After their pollination, elongated fruits with oval seeds follow. New breeds for the predominantly professional cultivation produce exclusively female flowers and fruit themselves. Unripe fruits are harvested for consumption.

Gardeners differentiate between outdoor cucumbers for gardening and cucumbers for greenhouse cultivation. The latter are known as snake cucumbers because of their long, slim shape. Free-range cucumbers are not necessarily bound to fresh air, but can also be grown under glass. Greenhouse shapes of pickled and peeled cucumbers complete the range of cucumbers. Refined cucumbers are becoming more and more popular because they are more productive and show better resistance to soil fungi.

Along with tomatoes, cucumbers are one of the most important varieties in private vegetable growing. Their crunchy fruits are popular in the kitchen and are used in cosmetics and natural medicine.

Table of Contents

How are cucumbers planted?

Cucumbers are heat-loving plants. Greenhouse cultivation of cucumbers can start as early as April. For free-range cucumbers, on the other hand, you need patience until mid-May. They can be brought forward and transplanted outside after the ice saints. Cucumbers need at least 10 ° C to grow. Greenhouse cucumbers are given a bright, but not full sun, place in the greenhouse. If necessary, a shade should be applied over the plants. A light shade prevents the leaves from burning in strong sunlight. A milk foil, a white varnish or shading paint provides protection from the burning midday sun. In contrast to the free-range cucumbers - they feel more comfortable in full sun.

The soil requirements of both forms are very similar. Moist, nutritious and fertile soil with good drainage creates optimal conditions for growth. Cucumbers do not feel good on heavy, poorly heatable soils. It is advisable to incorporate drainage materials for better ventilation at the roots. Generous amounts of compost or rotted manure ensure the basic supply of nutrients for heavy consumers. Crop rotation must be taken into account when growing cucumbers. Comparable to rose plants, an area may only be re-planted with cucumbers every four years. Catch crops can be short-lived vegetables, bee pasture or legumes.

Free-range cucumbers are either sown directly in the bed or preferred under glass. Small-fruited or cold-tolerant varieties are sown outdoors from the end of April and provided with a protective cap. The cover protects against possible cold snaps and promotes germination through a higher temperature. Sensitive varieties are only sown after the last danger of frost after mid-May to early June. You give the plants about 30 to 50 cm space for the next cucumber. The distance in the row is 80 to 100 cm. Gaps can be used efficiently with vegetables that have been cultivated for a short time (e.g. radishes or lettuce). The cucumber germinates rarely evenly or reliably. To be on the safe side, three seeds are sown per planting hole.

How do you prefer cucumbers?

Growing begins about 2 to 3 weeks before planting out on the windowsill or in the conservatory. In this way the time corridor for the harvest is extended. Commercially available seeding and propagation soil is used for sowing. Each potty is filled with 3 seeds as in the field. The substrate is then kept moist. Temperatures of over 20 ° C ensure rapid germination and early young plants. Before planting out, the young cucumber plants are placed in a slightly cooler place. Due to the lower temperatures, the plants acclimate and are optimally prepared for life in the field. Planting out is carried out after the Ice Saints at the earliest.

Growing cucumbers in heated greenhouses can begin from mid-March. In unheated glass houses you should take your time until the middle or end of April, because the average minimum temperature of 10 degrees must not be too often fallen below. Either large tubs are used as a culture vessel or the young plants are placed in the ground bed of the greenhouse.

Do cucumbers need a climbing aid?

A string left from the ceiling serves as a climbing aid for the cucumbers. Nowadays it is advisable to use refined cucumbers with a given powdery mildew resistance when buying. They bring significantly more yield and are more resilient. Cucumbers are planted at a distance of approx. 40 to 50 cm in the row. Mutual shading is not conducive to growth, so a row spacing of at least 150 cm is expected. The cucumber plants are placed a little deeper or piled up at their base. The refining point, however, must be above the ground. The recessed position creates the advantage that further side roots are formed at the base. Depending on the temperature in the greenhouse, putting on a growing cap can bring additional warmth and promote growth.

Young plants, regardless of whether they are preferred or bought, are pitted for the first time as soon as three leaves have formed. Another time when 4 to 5 sheets have emerged.

How are cucumbers cared for?

Cucumbers are considered to be demanding in their growth. They need plenty of water as well as plenty of nutrients. Drought can be counteracted by regular watering. The plants receive water as needed without leaving their feet wet. A mulch layer made of straw reduces soil evaporation and at the same time keeps the surface loose. During the harvest season in summer, the vegetable plants can be given additional horn shavings or liquid vegetable fertilizer (e.g. nettle manure). Free-range cucumbers are usually grown crawling on the ground or climbing on a trellis. For example, air from below is provided by soil that is not required. More about fertilizing cucumbers.

How to properly cut cucumbers

Cucumbers climb up on strings in the greenhouse. Every few days the new shoot is carefully wrapped around the cord. Side shoots are consistently removed up to waist height, because they are at the expense of fruit formation.

In the open air, a trellis or a raised growth device has the advantage that leaves can dry out more quickly. Long-lasting moisture increases the risk of downy mildew infection. Yellowish spots that become increasingly brownish and cause leaves to die off are a clear indication. As a preventive measure, plant strengtheners strengthen the leaf tissue in spring. Powdery mildew is more likely to cause problems in the greenhouse. The change from dryness to increased humidity is critical. As soon as a white fungal lawn forms on the leaves, all infected leaves are removed immediately. A possible pest infestation by spider mites can be kept in check with beneficial insects.

What is the use of cucumbers?

Cucumbers are harvested immature for consumption. Fruiting begins less than 10 weeks after sowing. The more often it is picked, the more fruits are produced. Cucumbers are popular and irreplaceable vegetables. They are used for salads, fresh meals, raw vegetables and much more in healthy cuisine. The seeds can be roasted or pressed as an alternative to olive oil. The high moisture content makes cucumbers a popular ingredient in skin creams and cleansing milk. In natural medicine, cucumbers are considered dehydrating and cooling, which is why they are recommended for sunburn, scalding or internally against blemished skin.

How are cucumbers stored correctly?

Cucumbers stay fresh for about a week in the refrigerator's vegetable compartment. Freezing is not an alternative because the water content is too high for that. Pickling or boiling can be used as long-term preservation.

What types of cucumbers are there?

Recommended cucumber varieties for greenhouses or outdoors are:

  • Charlotte F1 - Bitter-free pickled cucumber with lots of fruit
  • Dominica F1 - Greenhouse cucumber with resistance to powdery mildew
  • BellaF1 - Snake cucumber for outdoors and in the greenhouse
  • Minik F1 - Snack cucumber is resistant to the typical cucumber diseases
  • Land cucumber Murza F1 - is a cucumber that you can grow under glass or outdoors, very resistant to cucumber mosaic virus, powdery mildew and downy mildew
  • Phoenix® - cucumber with 100% female flowers ensure large yields, disease-resistant TOP variety
  • Mini Stars F1 - Brings hanging mini cucumber many small snack cucumbers, bushy, hanging growth, perfect for hanging baskets and window boxes
  • Rocky F1 - Snack cucumber with smooth, 8 to 10 cm large fruits, ideal for greenhouses & outdoors