Cucumbers are one of the most popular vegetables grown commercially. They have been cultivated since ancient times. They were used as food and medicine during the Roman Empire period. Today they are grown all over the world for their delicious taste and crunchy texture. Some varieties such as Japanese cucumber or Chinese cabbage produce edible fruit while others like English cucumber do not produce any fruit at all due to genetic defects. Cucumbers are very easy to grow and require little attention other than regular watering. You will need a few basic tools to successfully grow your own cucumbers.
Growing Cucumbers On Trellis
Trellises (or “curtains”) are a common household item that can be used for many purposes including gardening. They are made out of woven bamboo, wood, plastic or even metal. You can use them for several different things:
To create a small garden area with plants that would otherwise be difficult to access.
As hanging baskets for herbs and flowers.
For decorative purposes such as vases or planters.
For growing vegetables such as cucumbers.
Cucumbers can be grown without a trellis or support, but having something to prop them up against helps them grow straight. It also makes the plant easier to manage, harvest, and inspect for pests or diseases.
While most people think of a trellis as being a garden staple used for climbing plants such as cucumbers, they can also be put to good use inside a greenhouse or even indoors on a balcony. A trellis can make an interesting backdrop or focal point for a garden space and looks attractive when covered with growing vines. You can make your own trellis out of wood, bamboo, metal or plastic piping, or even large plastic bottles (cut in half lengthwise).
Make sure the trellis is strong enough to support the weight of the plant, and situated in an area that receives full sun at least 6 hours a day.
Tips For Growing Cucumbers On A Trellis
A trellis is generally used to provide support for plant vines to grow on as they trail upwards. They can be made out of wood, metal or plastic and are usually situated to provide the highest amount of sunlight to a specific area.
Here are a few general tips on how to grow cucumbers on trellises:
1. Pick The Right Site For Your Trellis: It’s best to position the trellis in an area that receives full sun at least 6 hours a day.
It should also be in fertile, well-draining soil where water will not pool around the base of the plants.
2. Prepare The Soil Ahead Of Time: Work some compost or aged manure into the top soil to give your plants a nutrient boost.
3. Set Up Your Trellis: This should be done as close to planting time as possible.
Most trellises are simply propped up against a garden fence or shed. You can also make something more elaborate, like a small wooden sun shield to provide more protection for your plants.
4. Plant Your Cucumbers: Cucumbers need to be planted 1-2 inches deep and 3-4 inches apart.
As they grow, they will begin to vine rather than crawl along the ground. Train the tendrils to climb the trellis as this gives better exposure to sunlight.
5. Water & Feed Your Plants: Keep the plants well-watered and feed with a high-nitrogen fertilizer to promote leafy growth.
6. Harvest Your Cucumbers: Once your cucumbers reach a reasonable size (anywhere from 6″ to a foot or more), they’re ready to pick.
Pick them every couple of days to encourage the plant to keep producing more.
Trellises can be made out of a wide variety of materials including wood, bamboo, metal or plastic piping. They can be very simple or quite elaborate and you can even make something that has multiple levels.
Many gardeners also like to use old windowsills, doorsills or other items found around the yard as a base to prop up their plants such as bricks or stones. Keep in mind that the trellis will need to receive full sun for most of the day, so plan accordingly.
Tips On Using A Hoop Trellis
A hoop trellis is an excellent way to grow vining plants such as cucumbers, melons, and squash. It consists of a metal or plastic pipe that you place in the garden and then attach flexible tubing (such as plastic drinking straws) to each side.
The plants are trained to grow through the tubing, which can then be bent over to the ground and anchored with soil to keep it in place. As the plants grow, more hoops can be added.
As the weight of the vines and fruit begins to pull down on the tubing, it will begin to bow even more. It’s a good idea to have some tie-downs attached to each side of the tubing so that you can keep it propped up.
The plants are spaced according to their suggested distance in the seed or plant catalog. For instance, if you’re growing bush-type cucumbers, you can space them 4 to 6 inches apart along the row. For a vining type such as a “Globe” variety of cucumber, you should space them about a foot apart.
The plants will quickly grow into the tubing making it nearly impossible for flea beetles or cucumber beetles to access them. You should still check them occasionally for signs of insect damage or other problems.
Heirloom Native American Cucumber Varieties
“Long Green” (50 days). 4-6″ long fruits are crisp and delicious. Grows well in containers. Part of the heirloom Big Butt collection.
“North Pole” (75 days). 6-10″ fruits are crisp and excellent in salads. White spined fruits turn from dark green to light green when ripe.
“Polka” (70 days). This variety has been grown since the 1830’s. It produces 5-7″ fruits that are light green in color. They are best picked young and eaten raw in salads or sliced in half-inch slices.
“Speckled Roman” (80 days). 7″ long fruits are light green with dark green mottling. Stores well and is good for slicing.
“Summer Sweet” (80 days). 6-8″ fruits are very sweet and delicious even when ripe. Red spines, light green skin.
“Wangen” (80 days). Originally from Germany, this variety produces 10″ long, golden-skinned, light green-mottled fruits. Flesh is cream colored and tender.
“White Bear” (80 days). 6″ long fruits are light green with white spines. They have crisp flesh and are great for fresh eating.
“White Swan” (80 days). This variety has become a favorite at our house. It tends to grow fairly quick and vigorously, so you have to keep picking the fruit as it grows or the vine will take over. The white spined, light green fruits are crisp and delicious with very little seeds. They are great for slicing and don’t get as mushy when ripe as other varieties do.
“Zefa” (80 days). Grows well even in poor soil. The fruits are light green and turn yellow when ripe.
“Zlata” (70 days). This variety is grown in Eastern Europe, the Ukraine, and Russia. It produces 6-7″ long by 1.5″ wide light green fruits that turn yellow when ripe.
“Zlatozara” (70 days). This variety is popular in the Ukraine and was introduced into America in the 1920’s by Nick Skouratoff of Swan Lake, Idaho. The 6-7″ long by 1.5″ wide fruits are light green when ripe. It is extremely productive, grows well in poor soils, and is very disease resistant.
“Zutano” (80 days). This is a relatively new variety from the Czech Republic. The 7-8″ long by 1.5″ wide fruits ripen from light green to yellow. The skin has an interesting patterned mottling appearance.