Learn How to Grow Cucumbers Vertically to get a bountiful harvest. Planting Cucumbers this way will also save space, which is ideal for small gardens.
Cucumber is a refreshing vegetable, especially if picked up fresh. It is known for its crunchy and refreshing taste and is eaten in a variety of ways: raw in salads, cooked, or pickled! It is easy to grow and requires warm, sunny exposure and deep, regular watering.
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Benefits of Growing Cucumbers Vertically
One advantage of Growing Cucumbers Vertically is that you can avoid the common problem of fruit rot associated with cucumber cultivation. It happens when fruits sit in moist soil for a prolonged period.
Allowing cucumber vines to grow vertically improves the air circulation around the plant, which prevents fungal diseases.
Cucumber plants have a sprawling habit, and growing cucumbers vertically allow their leaves to absorb more sun, which results in healthy plant and large cucumbers. One more key benefit is that you can harvest the fruits more easily and on time.
Why Should You Grow Cucumbers Vertically?
When cucumbers are grown on the ground (horizontally), they usually cover 10-20 square feet of space–plant sprawls over the surface around it. However, smaller and bushier varieties take only 1/3 of this space, but they produce fewer fruits.
Discover the list of best cucumber varieties here
Climbing, vine-type varieties are more productive, and when you grow them vertically, they barely take 1-2 square feet of space, climbing up by the support of a trellis or cage.
Learn how to grow cucumbers on a trellis here
Choosing a Container and Trellis
If you’re growing cucumbers in containers vertically, prefer large containers that are more than 12 inches deep and wide; for a non-bushier vining variety, select a much bigger 18 inches size pot.
How many cucumber plants you can grow in such a container depends on the variety you are planting. A vining variety grows tall and sends long roots, so it needs a large pot, whereas bushier types are short and can be grown in standard-size pots.
Choose a 5 to 6 feet tall trellis that is sturdy and doesn’t topple. If growing climbing varieties, use an “A-frame trellis” so that the plant crawls up and down from it easily. You can also use coir ropes to direct the vines.
Want to make homemade cucumber trellis? Check out these free projects here
To grow cucumbers vertically, it’s important to train the vines to climb up the trellis or support structure. As the vines grow, gently tie them to the trellis using soft ties or twine. This will help to keep the vines upright and prevent them from sprawling on the ground.
Propagation and Planting Cucumbers
Sow seeds directly onto the desired spot or in small pots. Cover them with about 2 cm of soil. Once the seedlings germinate and have a few true leaves, transplant the healthiest of them into a bigger pot or on the frost-free ground in spring or summer, ideally when the soil temperature is at least around 65 F (18 C) or more.
If you live in a tropical or subtropical climate, you can grow cucumbers year-round.
The cucumber plant is a heavy feeder like tomatoes–prepare your soil well before planting it on the ground by incorporating well-rotted manure and compost.
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Requirements for Growing Cucumbers Vertically
Cucumber loves a location that is warm and has sunny exposure, it should be less windy, too, but air circulation must not be compromised. And because cucumber originated in South Asia, it does not like temperatures dipping below 50 F (10 C). The optimum temperature to grow cucumbers falls in the range of 60–95 F (15–35 C).
It prefers well-drained, loose, and deep soil, rich in organic matter and neutral in pH. For containers, you can use your potting mix enriched with good-quality compost or organic cattle manure.
Learn how to grow perennial cucumber here
Regular and deep watering is the key to getting a productive cucumber harvest. It is due to the high water content of its fruits. While watering, avoid wetting the foliage as it may encourage fungal diseases like mildew.
If you’re growing cucumber in your garden, it’s important to mulch around the base of the plant to improve the moisture-retaining ability of the soil.
Cucumbers are heavy feeders, which means they require plenty of nutrients to grow and produce a bountiful harvest. Organic fertilizers like compost, worm castings, or well-rotted manure are excellent choices as they help to improve soil structure, provide essential nutrients, and promote healthy soil microbiology.
To use these as fertilizer, simply work them into the soil at the time of planting. You can also add them during the mid-season around the base of the plant or sprinkle them on top of the soil and water thoroughly.
One more alternative is to use a balanced liquid fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 formula, and apply it every two to three weeks during the growing season. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid over-fertilizing, which can lead to nutrient burn and other plant problems. To prevent overfertilization, you have the option to reduce the strength of fertilizer; just provide half of the recommended dose.
Finally, watering the plants thoroughly after fertilization helps to ensure that the nutrients penetrate the soil and reach the plant’s roots.
Another fertilizer option is–at the time of planting, mix all-purpose slow-release fertilizer in the soil. Once the plant starts to flower, side-dress with aged manure
You can also use Epsom salt on your cucumber plants. To learn more, click here
As cucumbers grow, they can become heavy and may require additional support to prevent the trellis or support structure from collapsing. Consider using slings made from cloth or netting to support the fruit and prevent it from falling off the vine. You can also use tomato cages, stakes, or other support structures to keep the vines upright and stable.
Diseases and Pests
Cucumber plants particularly suffer from anthracnose, powdery mildew, downy mildew, and leaf spot. To learn more about the diseases and how to save your plant from them, check out this informative article here. In pests, look out for aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, and other common garden pests.
To reduce disease and pest-related problems, follow these measures: Regularly check your plants for early signs, provide good air circulation, avoid overhead watering, grow resistant varieties, and don’t plant your cucumber plant at the exact location for more than 2-3 years (applicable when growing cucumbers in the garden bed).
When and How to Harvest Cucumbers?
Cucumbers are ready for harvest in 60 to 90 days, depending more on the variety and growing conditions. Pick them when they are developed enough, firm on touch, smooth to look, and crunchy in taste. Do not let the fruits overripe!