Mistakes Everyone Makes When Planting Cucumbers

Cucumbers are one of the most widely consumed vegetables around the globe. They can be sliced and put in salads, picked, and even to cool your eyes during your beauty routine. The Old Farmers Almanac outlines that with the right care and attention, cucumbers can be quite easy to grow yourself — but there are some common mistakes that everyone makes when planting cucumbers. The Practical Planter explains that you need to understand the conditions that cucumbers thrive in before you set about sowing the seeds.

While you need to monitor the temperature and way your cucumbers grow, Grow Veg explains that you can grow cucumbers outdoors or in a greenhouse. The plants can grow tall, so before you set out on buying the seeds it's good to look at how much space you have and if you can install a frame that supports the plant as it grows higher and the cucumbers get bigger.

Gardeners' World explains that growing your cucumbers in a greenhouse and outdoors will give you two different results. Greenhouse-grown cucumbers will be long and smooth, similar to what you may have seen at the shop. Outdoor-grown cucumbers are smaller, squatter, and have ridges. You can base the decision on the kind of cucumber you're going to grow based on the resources you have and what you want to do with them eventually.

Don't use the wrong soil when growing cucumbers

It sounds simplistic, but the success of your cucumbers relies pretty heavily on the soil that you plant them in. Gardening Channel explains that cucumbers thrive in neutral pH soil, so if your soil is acidic your harvest isn't likely to go well. The Practical Planter suggests that you're looking for a soil pH of around 7.0.

The Spruce explains that you can test the pH of your soil at home; all you need to do is take a sample and mix it with water. Stir vigorously and then filter the mixture into a clean glass. If it's still separated you can filter again and then take a pH strip and dip it into the liquid.

You can also create a mix of soil and manure to create peak growing conditions for your cucumbers — just ensure that you do this throughout the growing patch and that it's well mixed. Simple Most also notes that you want the soil mixture to be moist but not wet or soggy. You'll also need quite a large expanse of soil so your plants will have enough room to grow and thrive.

Don't forget to monitor the temperature for your cucumbers

Depending on the type of cucumber you want to grow, they can tolerate being grown in different temperatures. Gardeners' World explains that the long salad cucumbers you're used to seeing at the grocery require much warmer conditions than smaller, ridged pickling cucumbers.

If you're growing your cucumbers outside then you need to wait until your soil has warmed to 55 degrees, writes My Garden. This can mean monitoring the effects that the seasons have on your soil and not sowing the cucumber seeds too early out of impatience. If you're worried about the temperature of your soil you can lay down black mulch. This will help warm your soil quickly creating better conditions for the cucumbers.

If you plan on growing your cucumbers in a greenhouse then they'll germinate at around 77 to 82 degrees. After that, you need to lower the temperature to around 66 to 68 degrees. Bonnie Plants writes that if you monitor the temperature of the soil when you sow your cucumber seeds then they're likely to be relatively easy to grow from there.

Don't forget to water your cucumbers consistently

Cucumbers are predominantly made of water, so they need to remain hydrated and watered for them to grow to their full potential. However, one pitfall that Den Garden identifies is that people often over-water their cucumbers, meaning the soil can get soggy and water-logged. They estimate that cucumbers need about one inch of water per week but you should up this if you're growing cucumbers in very hot conditions or they look dehydrated.

The Practical Planter outlines that you can check how moist your soil is by sticking your finger in it. If it's really wet then you can adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Over and under-watering your cucumber plants won't just be detrimental to their growth; if your cucumber doesn't get enough water then they won't be juicy when you harvest, or may even taste bitter.

Alongside watering your cucumbers consistently and evenly, Bonnie Plants suggests that you look into buying some water-soluble plant food. Ensure that you scatter this evenly too so it isn't concentrated in one spot and all of your plants can benefit.

Know when to sow and when to harvest your cucumbers

One of the most important things to know when growing cucumbers is when to sow your seeds and when to harvest your cucumbers before they start to go bad. It isn't as simple as sowing the seeds whenever you want, and there are certain times of the year when the soil will be in peak condition, making growing cucumbers much easier for you.

The Old Farmer's Almanac suggests that if you're planting your cucumbers outdoors then you need to do once the weather starts heating up and there's no risk of frost or severely cold temperatures; if you're planting indoors you can do it a little bit earlier. The ideal month to plant outdoors is May, and you can plan indoors in April. This is because cucumbers are extremely susceptible to cold damage and can be easily ruined by chilly weather.

The Royal Horticultural Society slightly deviants from these rules. They write that sowing months run from March through June and harvest months are July until October. This is based on the climate you live in, and when you get the warmest weather and the best weather conditions.

Don't harvest your cucumbers the wrong way

So you finally got to the last stage, and your cucumbers are looking exactly how you want them to. However, Grow Veg highlights that some people fall at the last hurdle by harvesting their cucumbers wrong. The publication writes that, while it might be super tempting to pluck the cucumbers off the plant, you need to cut them off using a sharp knife or pruners. By doing this often it'll encourage more to grow and you'll have a bigger harvest. You should also consider doing this in the morning or evening when the sun isn't at its hottest.

Gardeners' World suggests that it takes around 12 weeks for cucumbers to grow and reach their full potential, depending on growing conditions and the time of year. Don't be tempted to cut them before they're totally ready. Den Garden notes that you'll know when your cucumbers are ready to harvest as they'll be plump and full size.