Vegetable Profiles: Cucumbers

cucumber on trellis 
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Print: GE 108 Cucumbers
Vegetable Description:  Cultivars include both the slicer or fresh salad type and the pickle type (which can also be used fresh), dwarf-vined or bush types, Armenian, and Asian types, Burpless cucumbers are long and slender with a tender skin.

Planting: Plant 2-3 seeds every 12 inches in the row after danger of frost has passed and soil has warmed. After seeds germinate, pinch out all but the strongest seedling at each 12 inch interval. Or use plants sown indoors in peat pots 3 to 4 weeks prior to planting time.  Plant second crop around July 1. Handle transplants gently and disturb the root system as little as possible. Thin seedlings by cutting excess plants with scissors rather than by pulling.

Cucumber on trellis in raised bedCultivation:

  • Fertilizing - Moderate feeder. Side-dress one week after blossoming begins and again 3 weeks later (1/4 lb. 10-10-10 or equivalent per 10 feet of row.)
  • Watering - keep the root zone moist by watering deeply and regularly during dry periods.  Water more frequently when fruits begin to develop.
  • Weeding -Remove all young weed seedlings by hand or with a hoe and use a mulch laid around plants to keep weed seeds from germinating.
  • Special directions - Most varieties of cucumber vines spread from row to row. Training on a trellis or fence along the edge of the garden will prevent this and also lift the fruit off the soil. Plant four to five seeds per foot, thinning to 9- to 12- inch spacing when plants are 4- to 5- inches high.

Common Problems:

Harvest: Pickling cucumbers should be 2 to 3 inches long.  Slicing cucumbers should be 5 to 8 inches long depending on the variety.  Remove by turning cucumbers parallel to the vine and giving a quick snap.  This prevents vine damage and results in a clean break.  Working in the vines when leaves are wet may spread diseases.  Wait until after morning dew or rain evaporates.

Storage and Preservation: Medium cool (45° - 50°F), moist (95% RH) conditions.

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