All About Growing Cucumbers

Learn how to plant cucumbers, which cucumber types grow best in your region, and get great pickle and gazpacho recipes.

  • Cucumber Varieties
    Cucumber varieties come in different sizes, shapes, colors and even flavors. You’ll need to pick often, because cucumbers can double in size in just one day!
  • pickles
    A bumper crop of cucumbers calls for mixing up a batch of crunchy dill pickles. 

  • Cucumber Varieties
  • pickles

(For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.)

The crunch of fresh cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) has helped cool down summers for more than 3,000 years, and cucumbers were likely one of the first vegetables to be preserved by pickling. Growing cucumbers is easy in fertile, organically enriched soil. Productive and fast to mature, cucumbers are a rewarding crop for new and veteran gardeners.

Cucumber Types to Try

The size, shape, color and flavor of cucumber fruits differ by variety, but all grow best under warm conditions. Growing more than one type each year is the best way to extend your cucumber season and ensure more diverse uses in the kitchen.

  • American slicing cucumbers are the oblong, dark green cukes you see in su­permarkets. Varieties of this type have been bred for uniformity, productivity and strong disease resistance.
  • Pickling cucumbers bear smaller fruits with bumpy, slightly wrinkled rinds that make them naturally crisp and firm. Some varieties resist bacterial wilt, a widespread cucumber disease (described later).
  • Asian cucumbers are long and slender, with small seed cavities. Non-bitter Asian cucumbers are easy to digest, and are also not preferred by cucumber beetles.
  • Greenhouse cucumbers produce self-fertile female flowers, so you can grow many varieties of this slightly shade-tolerant type under row covers or in high tunnels.
  • Other Cucumis species include ‘Armenian’ and ‘Indian Poona Kheera’ cucumbers (both C. melo), ‘West Indian’ gherkin (C. anguria) and jelly melon (C. metuliferus, also called African horned melon).

See our chart for more information on these types, including recommended varieties. 

When to Plant Cucumbers

Sow seeds directly into prepared rows or hills one to two weeks after your last spring frost, and make a second planting a month later. Where summers are short and cool, start seeds indoors under bright fluorescent lights two weeks before your last spring frost. If kept moist and warm (above 70 degrees Fahrenheit), cucum­ber seeds should sprout within five days. Set out 3- to 4-week-old seedlings after your last frost has passed.

How to Plant Cucumbers

Choose a sunny site with fertile, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. Grow cucumbers in rows or hills spaced 6 feet apart, or try increasing yields by training vines up a vertical trellis.

5/24/2018 9:09:04 AM

I have had great success with Japanese climbing cukes. I grow them on stock panels set at a 30 degree angle. With the large openings in the stock panel and the angle most of the fruit hangs off the back of the panel for easy picking.

5/23/2018 11:46:22 AM

So where does it say best in your area?

5/23/2018 11:45:40 AM

so where does it tell what grows best where? as your intro suggests?



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