How To Grow Cucumbers At Home
Cucumbers are an awesome addition to summer meals. Their crisp, crunchy texture brings a unique snap and flair to salads and sandwiches, not to mention they’re packed full of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. But the next time you want to pick one up, save a trip to the store — growing your own cucumbers indoors is surprisingly doable and requires just a few basic steps.
Here’s an easy guide on how to grow cucumbers at home.
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Table of Contents
Why Grow Cucumbers At Home?
Want to kick your store-bought habit and start eating healthier? Growing cucumbers indoors is one way to get your hands on fresh produce without breaking the bank. And it doesn’t take a green thumb enthusiast either. Consider these reasons for investing in your own urban cucumber patch:
It’s Easier To Grow
Plants grown indoors benefit from a controlled environment. Monitor and adjust temperature, humidity, and lighting as needed. All this extra TLC is sure to get your seedlings off to a racing start!
You Save On Costs
Store-bought produce can get expensive, especially if you buy organic. Growing your own cucumbers at home is an easy, wallet-friendly way to score some fresh, delicious fruits for little to no money at all.
You Eat Healthier
When you grow your own cucumbers at home, you’re in full control of what you put into your body. No commercial pesticides, additives, and other harmful chemicals. You’ll get nothing but wholesome, organic produce — fresh from your own organic patch.
Every Gardyn tower comes with Kelby, your personal AI gardener, who continuously monitors your plants, providing clear instructions all the way from soil to harvest. Enjoy harvests loaded with 50% more nutrients than store-bought foods. Learn how it works.
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What Do You Need To Grow Cucumber At Home?
With a bit of patience, cucumbers can be incredibly easy and rewarding to grow. Perfect for the aspiring gardener, this tropical fruit loves hot and humid climates, and will thank you for plenty of water.
Cucumber plants are what’s known as “day-neutral”, which means that they take light from just about any time of day. In any case, they still require plenty. Make sure to give your cucumbers at least 8 hours of full sun daily (or 14 hours under full spectrum grow lights).
Cucumbers thrive in warm weather — think 65–75°F. Frost is a big no-no; temperatures as low as 55°F can start to affect the quality of your fruit. Keep them away from any strong winds or cool drafts. Use cloches or frost blankets to safeguard your young plants against the occasional danger of chilly weather.
To grow cucumbers at home, you need to use the right container. Plastic or ceramic is ideal as these materials help to maintain moisture. Make sure your container includes sufficient drainage, too! If you’ve got space, opt for a 20-inch pot, which will be big enough for two to three plants. You can also go smaller with a 12-inch planter that fits two plants, or a 7-10-inch planter for one cucumber plant.
Your growing medium should be light and well-draining, while allowing for good air circulation to the plant’s roots (important to protect against diseases like powdery mildew). Try a combination of high-quality potting soil, pumice, and perlite. This will give your cucumbers all the room they need to flourish. Keep soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5 for optimal yields.
Important: Avoid using garden soil, which is too heavy and compact for container gardening. It may also bring in pests like cucumber beetles, as well as various diseases — things you certainly do not want in your indoor vegetable garden.
Cucumber Types and Varieties
Cucumbers can either be vining or bush. Vining plants can reach up to six feet long, making them tricky to cultivate in the house. Bush types, on the other hand, are much more manageable indoors. With their short vines and round compact shape, they fit nicely into containers or pots. Even better, they don’t require support for their fruits to grow. Some great beginner cucumbers to grow at home are Socrates, Salad Bush, Unistars, and Bush Pickle cucumbers.
Finding the right cucumber variety for your home garden can make a big difference. As you shop for seeds, keep an eye out for words like ‘gynoecious,’ which means they only produce female flowers (cucumbers can have both male and female flowers), and ‘parthenocarpic,’ which refers to types of cucumbers that produce fruits without pollination.
While you generally won’t need supports for most bush cucumbers, some cultivars may still benefit from being trained on a trellis. For plants that grow larger, this support will keep their long vines contained and growing upwards, allowing them more room to spread out. A stake or a hook secured to the ceiling can serve as an effective makeshift support.
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How To Grow Cucumbers At Home
Starting cucumbers from seeds requires a bit of patience, but the process isn’t difficult.
Step 1: Preparation of Potting Mix
Step 2: Sowing the Seeds
Step 3: Covering the Seeds
Step 4: Positioning the Pots
Step 5: Watering
Step 6: Germination
How To Care For Your Cucumber
Cucumbers require about one inch of water per week to grow healthy and strong. Vining cucumbers or trellised plants, in particular, tend to absorb a lot of water. As a general rule of thumb: if the soil is dry on top, water the plant. Your cucumbers will taste bitter if left to wilt.
When planting your cucumber plant, give it a good start with some fertilizer. Then, when you start to see leaves emerging, give it another dose. Cucumber plants grow fast, so you’ll also want to feed them consistently throughout the growing season. Fertilize regularly with a balanced fertilizer, and mulch around the base of your plants to provide added moisture and weed control. Do this around twice a month for the best results.
Lastly, trim off any yellowing leaves and flowers. Sick leaves don’t benefit the plant, so remove them as soon as possible to promote healthy growth.
What about transplanting?
Cucumbers don’t really like being transplanted. In most cases, you can forgo this entirely. Direct sowing, or sowing the seeds directly in their final location, is the best way to grow cucumbers at home.
If you do choose to transplant them, wait until the seedlings have grown to three inches tall (2-3 leaf stages). This is typically a month into germination. It’s also a good idea to wait until the weather outside is warm before moving your plants, or when the last frost has passed. Transplant carefully, handling the seedlings by their leaves rather than their stems. Plant in a garden bed, in soil that’s well-drained, moist, and rich in organic matter.
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Harvesting And Using Your Cucumber
Cucumbers can take up to 2 months to reach full maturity, at which point they’re ready to harvest. Different cultivars reach different sizes when fully ripe, so make sure to read the ripeness guidelines for your variety before harvesting. Generally, however, most cucumbers are ready for picking when they reach 8 inches in length. Note that if you plan on pickling cucumbers, you’ll want to harvest them smaller — roughly 2 inches long.
When to Harvest Your Cucumbers
Once your plant starts producing, harvest every couple of days. If you leave them hanging too long, the cucumbers will overripe, turning color and becoming bitter. Even if you don’t plan to use the fruits, you should still harvest them as soon as they are ripe. This allows your plant to continue producing rather than putting its efforts into maturing overgrown cucumbers.
Show your Cucumber Some Love
When harvesting, it’s important to be gentle. Don’t tug or pull, as this can damage vines and impede future growth. The best way is to use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors to snip them off, leaving an inch of the stem still attached. This will help keep your cucumbers fresh for longer.
Using Your Cucumbers
Once harvested, cucumbers can be eaten fresh in salads or thinly sliced for wraps/sandwiches, pickled, stir-fried, or even frozen for smoothies or soups. If you end up with more cucumbers than you can eat, pickling, canning, and freezing are all great ways to preserve them. You can also safely store cucumbers for up to a week in the refrigerator.
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Enjoy Your Next Helping Of Fresh Salad, Straight From The Source
Easy to grow and chock-full of health benefits, cucumbers make a great addition to any home garden. As with any indoor gardening endeavor, make sure to provide your cucumber plants with plenty of light, maintain humidity and temperature levels, and fertilize regularly. Regular harvesting will also help stimulate a continuous cucumber crop. So there you have it; now you know how to grow cucumbers at home.
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