How Far Apart Should Cucumbers Be Planted In The Garden?

Whether you're planting cucumbers to pickle them or to add to delicious and crunchy salads, they are a summer vegetable every gardener should have among their crops. Aside from being packed with nutrients and antioxidants, cucumbers can be a secret weapon for a healthy garden as well. They are relatively easy to grow indoors, in a greenhouse, or your garden bed, especially in regions with warmer climates and plenty of water. Properly spacing your cucumbers prevents overcrowding, ensuring your veggies aren't forced to compete for resources such as water, sunlight, and vital nutrients. It also gives your vegetables a fighting chance against pests and diseases like beetles and fungal diseases. 

Cucumbers should be planted when temperatures reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit. A sunny spot and soil with a pH of 6.0-6.8 will give your vegetables an ideal environment. Those living in slightly cooler climates can start their seeds indoors or plant outside and cover the soil with black plastic mulch which can raise soil temperatures. Straw mulch is particularly great at protecting your plants against pests like beetles, slugs, and snails that find it uncomfortable to move around in the mulch.

How to plant vining cucumbers

Cucumbers can grow in bush or vining varieties — bush cucumbers sprawl out in your garden while vining varieties grow upwards, climbing up trellises. Determining how far apart to plant your cucumbers depends which of these varieties you choose to plant. Vining cucumbers are popular because they make great use of their space, allowing you to cultivate more vegetables in a smaller space by planting your cucumbers vertically. Vining cucumber plants must be planted at least 12 inches apart when planting by a trellis.

When planting in rows, plant your seeds 1.5 inches deep into your soil in groups of 3 or 4 seeds 18 inches apart with 24 inches between each row. Vining cucumbers need to have their support structures put in during planting time. These support structures can include canes, wire fencing, PVC pipes, or even strings and netting that the plants can use to climb and intertwine with their vines. 

Cucumber vines can grow up to 6 feet in height which is important to keep in mind if you're planning to plant your cucumbers indoors or in a greenhouse setting. Under the right conditions with enough space for sunlight, proper air circulation, and weekly watering, cucumbers grow quickly with minimal care. Harvest your cucumbers when they are big enough to use, before they develop a bitter taste and slow down your plant's yield. Once harvested, cucumbers can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

How to plant bush cucumbers

Unlike vining cucumbers, bush cucumbers don't need a support structure and can be planted and left to sprawl out on their own. When planted outdoors, they need to be planted 36 to 72 inches apart. This will ensure that they aren't competing for resources. Their more compact plant size makes them ideal to grow in containers or in an indoor setting like an apartment.

One drawback about bush cucumbers is that because they are a compact plant, the leaves and vines can overlap, which makes it difficult for proper air circulation and sunlight to reach the shaded parts of the plant. This also makes it more susceptible to fungal and bacterial diseases like powdery mildew, anthracnose, and root rot. The wet and warm environment in their shaded bushes can create a perfect breeding ground for pest like aphids, cucumber beetles, spider mites, and squash bugs. So keeping proper spacing when planting is key to help mitigate these potential issues. Regardless of which cucumber variety you choose to plant, using pesticides and fungicides as needed can help prevent diseases from taking over your garden