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Growing Cucumbers

One of the rewards of growing cucumbers is the beautiful blossoms they quickly add to your spring garden. The cucumber is a fast germinating plant with a short growing season and a bountiful harvest.

When growing cucumbers, remember that they are a tropical plant and like the tomato, need a soil temperature of about 80? Fahrenheit (27? Celsius) for seeds to germinate. Many gardeners begin planting cucumbers indoors, using peat pots to start the seeds so that the roots aren?t disturbed upon transplanting. Alternatively, after the soil is warm, cucumbers can be seeded directly into your garden, since their short germination time is generally four to five days. To preserve soil temperatures, simply give them an overcoat of dark plastic during cool nighttime hours.

Although cucumber vines grow rapidly and require substantial space, they can easily be trained to grow vertically on a trellis for greenhouse gardening. One especially appealing idea is growing cucumbers in a container behind a cherry tomato. This way of planting cucumbers is a colorful, eye-catching addition to your patio or deck and easy pickin?s for your salad bowl!

In the past, some gardeners have forgone growing cucumbers because of the difficulty in pollinating them. The cucumber blossoms with two types of flowers, male and female. The male flower (staminate) is first to appear and then wilts and falls off, often before the female (pistil late) blossom makes her entrance! However, the second round of blossoms will contain both male and female flowers, pollination will take place and your cucumber plants will be off to a running start!

Moreover, a running start it is, for you?ll find that when growing cucumbers, the fruit matures almost as rapidly as the vines grow! Many varieties of cucumbers are ready for harvest in as little as 55 days after seed germination. Harvesting cucumbers is also quite simple, for they can be picked in just about any size. However, don?t wait until you see yellow (unless of course, you are growing a yellow variety!). When green cucumbers turn yellow, they are past their prime; their fruit will be dry and their flavor bitter.

There are 122 different varieties to choose from when growing cucumbers. Try planting cucumbers in several different varieties to find your favorite! From germination to harvest, you?ll find that planting cucumbers is a thoroughly enjoyable part of gardening whether you choose to plant them in your garden, your hobby greenhouse, or in a container.


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