In this guide I will be giving tips on the best fertilizer for growing cucumbers, what to use and how to use it depending on your soil type.
There is nothing better than crisp fresh homegrown cucumbers in the summer time. They can be used for so many dishes, salads, snacks or be turned into pickles or fermented! My family loves them. So how do we take care of our cucumbers so that they can have the best plant growth all summer long? Let me tell you! There are so many different types of fertilizers out there.
Some are good and some aren’t. When growing food for yourself it is most helpful to use organic materials to provide you and your family a bountiful harvest that doesn’t contain unhealthy materials. Especially if you have kids running to the garden for a snack like I do. Most of the time, the cucumber doesn’t get washed before eaten. So if that is the case for you, it is a good choice to stick to an organic product.
How do you plant cucumber seeds?
So, I know we are going to discuss the best fertilizer for growing cucumbers, but first I think we need to talk about how to plant them. When planting cucumber seeds you will want to make sure that you are not at risk of having a frost.
Cucumbers are heat loving plants and for their seeds to germinate you will want the soil temperature to be at least 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. They will be slow to germinate at 65 and prefer warmer temperatures but it is possible. You will want to put two seeds in each hole to ensure that you will get at least one to grow. Your seed packet will let you know how deep to plant the seed.
If you are using a trellis then you won’t have to space your plants out very far. Cucumbers are vine plants and need lots of space. Plant them far apart if you aren’t trellising. Make sure you keep the soil moist until the plant’s true leaves grow. This will help the plant get established and reach it’s full potential.
When your days are getting warmer, prep your garden soil. Fertilizing your well-draining soil before planting can be a good idea. Most people will fertilize their entire garden in early spring to prepare for the growing season. For the best results, a good, well-matured compost is a really great option for this.
If you have smaller gardens, you can purchase this in bags. For larger gardens, look to local garden centers for delivery options of a larger amount of compost.
Can you start cucumber seeds indoors?
Yes! You can get a head start on your cucumbers by planting them indoors a few weeks before warmer days.
Then you can put a mature plant in the ground when the temperature has warmed up. If you are planting a mature cucumber plant, You can fertilize it after it has been planted. Water more often right after you plant a mature plant to help it get used to it’s new environment.
If seed starting isn’t your thing, that is totally fine. Either plant your own seeds when the weather has warmed up, or you can get mature plants at your local hardware store or garden nursery!
What are the types of fertilizers?
When on the hunt for the best fertilizer for growing cucumbers, one might feel a bit overwhelmed. There are so many different kinds and they all seem to have a number on the front that can just add to all the confusion. Let me clear a few things up. The numbers on the front are showing the NPK ratio. NPK stands for Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K).
They are very important plant nutrients that you need to be aware of. The best way for you to know what organic fertilizer your garden needs is by doing a soil test. There are kits you can buy and receive results that show things like how much nitrogen your soil needs. If your soil is low on nitrogen then you may want to get a fertilizer that has a little more nitrogen in it. Things like organic compost mulch is a great option for this.
Just be aware that fertilizers that are high in nitrogen or not fully composted compost can burn your plants, so be careful. If you don’t have time to do a soil test then it is safe to choose a fertilizer that is meant to be used as an all-purpose fertilizer.
How to choose the best fertilizer for cucumber plants in your garden
One I like is called Trifecta+. This is a granular fertilizer that is a great option for when you need a slow-release fertilizer that will benefit a variety of veggies and benefit many different soil types. That being said, if you have heavy clay soil, you may need to add compost in addition to this. This way your plants have soft soil to grow their roots in. It will also help with drainage.
It is also very important to read the label instructions on the fertilizer container. They usually will tell you how much fertilizer to use per square feet of space or how much to use per plant. Lets look at this label below as an example. It gives very specific amounts to use per plant. This is something that you would sprinkle at the base of the plant. Then when you water the plant, the nutrients will sink down into the soil.
That being said, If you have a very large garden, it might be more effective to order a large load of organic compost that you can add as a top layer to your garden bed.
Some great fertilizer options are:
- Happy frog
- Jobs organics vegetable and tomato
- Neptune harvest (liquid fertilizer)
- Burpee organic all purpose
- Down to earth vegetable garden
Where can you grow cucumbers?
When deciding the best fertilizer for growing cucumbers you will want to be aware of where you are growing your cucumbers. This will affect what fertilizer you will want to use. Picking the right fertilizer for the type of garden you have will be easier once you read this post!
So cucumbers can be grown in pots or various containers. As long as they receive at least 5 hours of sun and have properly draining containers. Make sure the container you are using has drainage holes so that the water doesn’t sit in the pot and rot the cucumber roots.
Cucumbers also do really well growing in in-ground gardens or raised bed gardens. Like I mentioned before, just make sure that the soil is well draining. This means that there are no pools of water that gather where your cucumber plant is growing.
What fertilizer do you use for potted cucumbers?
My favorite type of fertilizer for gardening in pots is a liquid fertilizer. Several years ago I gardened on our apartment balcony. There are several things I learned from growing food in containers. One of the things I learned about my cucumber plants and vegetable plants in general is that when they are in pots, they lose nutrients more quickly.
Soil has essential nutrients that the plants roots draw from in order to feed the plant. When you grow vegetables in a pot you have to water them more frequently because the soil dries out more quickly. Every time you water the plant the nutrients seep down to the bottom of the pot and run out the drainage holes.
In-ground gardens don’t have this issue as they stay moist for longer and the nutrients stay in the ground. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have good fruit production when growing in pots, you just need to fertilize the soil more often. I would suggest every month. This can get expensive if you choose to do bagged fertilizer.
This is why I love FISH EMULSION. It doesn’t burn the plants and it is cheap. This bottle is ten bucks and you use one tablespoon per gallon of water. Then you water your plants with it. I had great success using this.
What fertilizer do you use for raised bed or in-ground gardens?
These types of gardens can be fertilized as a whole garden before planting even begins. As I have mentioned before compost fertilizer is a great option for this. The best time to do this type of fertilizing is in the spring. You can also add it along the base of the plant after it has stared to grow or after you have planted the organic cucumber plant. You can but bags of compost or order it to be delivered to your home if you have a large garden.
You can also go the granulated fertilizer or liquid fertilizer route as well. Check out the compost list above for my suggestions. With these fertilizers you apply the fertilizer locally to each cucumber plant. The best fertilizer for growing cucumbers largely depends on the pH of your soil, but you can do an all-purpose fertilizer if you don’t have time to test your soil.
When do you harvest a cucumber?
Now that we have discussed how to plant and fertilize your cucumber plants, we need to know when to harvest your delicious cucumbers! There are many different varieties of cucumbers They may look a little different from one variety to the next. When it comes to harvesting there is a standard rule of thumb.
First, know the type of cucumber that you have planted. For example: if you have planted a short variety of cucumber you will want to know that it won’t be as long as say, an English cucumber. Then you won’t be waiting for your short cucumber to get longer. Because it never will.
So, know the size and shape of cucumber plant that you are planting. Next you will want to harvest just as or a little before the ends or tips of the cucumber are turning a lighter or yellowish color. The more yellow or if the cucumber is overgrown the more bitter your cucumber will taste.
So It is pretty important to try and catch your cucumber before it grows too large. That being said, you can still eat an overgrown cucumber. When we get one that has gotten too big, because lets be honest, sometimes they do before you notice or have a chance to harvest, then you can ferment or pickle them. This makes some of the bitter taste go away and adds a delicious pickle taste!
It is also a great way to preserve your cucumber harvest if your are finding that you have way more cumbers than you could possibly eat. Because this is also likely to happen . Especially if you find the best fertilizer for growing cucumbers in your circumstance.
How often do you fertilize a cucumber plant?
This depends on what fertilizer you use. If you are fertilizing with compost, then once a year should be fine. Some people will add a little more compost if they have harvested a plant and plan to replant in that same area of garden.
For example: If you just harvested your spring crop of radishes and now are ready to plant your cucumbers, then you may want to add compost before planting the cucumbers.
If you are using granulated or liquid fertilizer and will be putting it near each plant, then you will want to check the instructions on the label of the fertilizer that you have chosen. For some it is once a year, for others it is monthly. I would suggest as I have mentioned before, you will want to fertilize your potted plants monthly.
Now you should be able to choose the best fertilizer for growing cucumbers in your gardens. Comment below on what fertilizer that you use.
Share or save this post for later, and good luck nurturing your seedlings! I am so glad to have you join me in our journey on the Nurtured Seed Homestead!