Cucumbers are a staple in my summer garden and can be in yours too! Follow along and for the best tips for growing cucumbers in containers.
Garden fresh cucumbers should be enjoyed by all. Even if you don’t have a large yard to grow them in. I had gardened on our apartment balcony for several years before doing an in-ground garden. And guess what my favorite and most successful plat was. Yep, cucumbers!
These plants grow quickly and can be started from seed in your pot. I have planted cucumber plants mid-July and still had enough time to grow fresh cucumbers before our first frost. They don’t seem to be a very picky plant. If you are new to gardening, get yourself a container, packet of cucumber seeds, potting mix/compost and give growing cucumbers in containers a try!
How big of a container do you need to grow cucumbers?
Cucumbers don’t need a large container to grow. In my average sized pot pictured above I have four cucumber plants. I would just advise at least six-eight inches of depth to your container for the roots. You will want to make sure your container has drainage wholes.
If your container doesn’t have drainage wholes you can easily add them by drilling or pocking small wholes in the bottom of your container. Containers without drainage wholes will often times get root rot from water sitting in the bottom of the pot
How do you take care of a potted cucumber?
As I mentioned before, cucumbers aren’t super picky plants, but there are a few things that they do need. First, they need at least 5-6 ours of DIRECT sun. This means that the actual sunlight hits their leaves for six hours. More is better, but not necessary. They are not shade plants.
When growing cucumbers in containers you will want to water them every two to three days. Containers tend to dry out much faster than an in ground garden. You can test your soil by poking your finger down in it. If the soil is bone dry all they way down, you will need to water. If it is a little damp, wait till the next day.
Cucumber leaves will also sag if they aren’t receiving enough water. One more thing I always do when growing any plant in a container is to “feed” the plant. I use a very affordable fertilizer called fish emulsion.
Add one tablespoon of fish fertilizer to one gallon of water, then water your plants with it. I would do this about once a month. Feeding container plants is benificail because potted plants tend to lose their nutrients much quicker and benifit from some nutrient suplemntation.
How do you grow cucumbers in containers
Gather your supplies:
- Container with drainage holes
- combination of potting mix and compost
- fish emulsion
- Cucumber seeds, companies I like to buy from: Johnny Seeds, MIgardener
- watering can, or some way to bring water to your plants
- grow cage or trellis if you want to save on space
- sunny spot to put your container
Fill your container with a mixture of your potting mix and compost. If you have a standard pot like I am using then you can grow 3-4 plants in that one pot. I do use a extra tall growing cage to make room for all these plants.
Poke three-four holes in your dirt giving each whole about four inches of space. Put two to three seeds in each whole. Planting several seeds ensures that at least one of your seeds will germinate and grow.
What do you do if multiple seeds germinate?
After the little seedlings poke out of the ground and have grown for a few days or up to a week, you can simply pinch off the head of the extra seedling. I don’t like to pull the extra seedling out because it will disturb the roots of the plant you want to keep.
Just reach in there and use your fingernail to pinch/cut off the top of the unwanted plant. Look to the picture above you will see the little stub of the unwanted plant.
What can you use to trellis cucumbers?
If you are growing cucumbers on a small balcony or are limited on space, you will want to trellis your cucumbers. I have a lot of space but still prefer to have the plants grow up. This lowers the chance for the plants to pick up any diseases and increases air flow. It also makes it a bit easier to harvest your cucumbers.
- extra tall tomato cages
- wooden trellis
- you can put your pot next to railing or a fence and let it climb that
- bamboo sticks (tie the cucumber plant to the sticks)
Eventually the plants will grow little spindly strings that reach out and try to attach to something. Like a vine. When I notice these growing I will guide them to where I want them to attach. You can carefully unravel the twisted vine and wrap it around your trellis.
It is best to guide your cucumber to grow on your trellis where you want it to go, otherwise it may tangle with another plant or fall off your trellis. If you check on your cucumber and it has attached where you don’t want to that is fine. Its not too late. Just remove it and re attach it to where you want it to go.
How do you know when a cucumber is growing?
First you will start to see yellow flowers starting to bloom. Find a flower and look at the base, if you see a tiny little spiky looking cucumber then you know one will be growing there. Give this little guy some time and it will develop into a juicy cucumber!
When is you cucumber ready to be picked?
Your cucumber will be various lengths depending on the type you planted. So don’t go off of length when deciding to harvest. For example pickling cucumbers are shorter while English cucumbers are much longer. You will know when the ends of the cucumber start to yellow. Really you will ant to pick the cucumber before the yellow forms too much.
A large yellowish cucumber will be much tougher and more bitter than one that is picked before the yellow forms. Be careful when picking, cucumber have little spikes on them. They aren’t too bad and I just rub them off, but if you have a little kid picking a cucumber just warn them about the cucumber being a little poky.
Now you are ready to get growing cucumbers in containers! If you are new to gardening try cucumbers this summer! you won’t be disappointed!
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