I often hear gardeners say nothing beats eating home-grown fruit and vegetables. In fact, I say the same thing myself. And if I had to pick one plant that this really rings true for – I would pick cucumber. The cucumbers we have grown in the last few seasons have been crisp, juicy, cool, delicious and would, no question, beat store-bought cucumber by miles any time.
So, if you only plant one vegetable this season, though technically a fruit, I strongly recommend you consider cucumber. And don’t stop with just telegraph cucumber (the long, skinny one most commonly found in the supermarket), try growing a selection of cucumbers. Lebanese has tender, edible skin with sweet, mild-tasting flesh.
Short-green is great for growing in smaller gardens as it produces a lot of fruit but only requires one third of the space of other cucumbers. And apple looks much like an apple (opposed to the long look of a telegraph cucumber) and it grows really nicely along the ground.
Order your cucumber seedlings from our online shop and get your plants delivered direct to your door. One regular-sized bundle (which includes four seedlings) is around enough to feed a family of four.
Once you’ve got your plants, it’s time to find a place to plant them. They like a warm, dry and sunny spot to grow in. And most varieties will need a bit of space.
Telegraph and short green cucumbers will need to either be staked or grown next to something they can grow up – like a trellis. Plant these varieties around 1m apart so each plant has its own trellis/area to spread over.
Apple cucumbers will happily grow along the ground and are a good companion plant for zucchini as they like the same conditions.
For a regular-sized bundle with four seedlings you’ll need an area around 2mx2m and each seedling should be planted about 1m apart. I like to imagine I’m planting them in the shape of a square and each seedling goes on one of the points of the square, this way the plants are grouped together but have enough room to spread out.
Dig in some compost or leftover potting mix into the soil to ensure its friable (breaks up) before you plant.
To encourage fruiting it’s a good idea to plant your cucumbers (and zucchini) near some bee-attracting plants like lavender or borage. Doing this will help ensure the bees pollinate your plants and as a consequence the fruit develop.
If the plants aren’t pollinated properly the flowers will fall off and no fruit will develop. If you’d like to be really sure they’re pollinated, try touching the pollen on each plant with a paintbrush – this will spread the pollen from one flower to the next.
One of our customers also told us to do the same with an electric toothbrush, minus the toothbrush head. I’m yet to try this approach but would love to hear from anyone who has!
In around 10 to 12 weeks you should be able to enjoy the cool and juicy taste of home-grown cucumbers.