How to Grow a Cucumber From a Seed

Overview

Cucumbers fresh from the garden are a flavorful treat. Garden cucumbers have a stronger taste than store-bought types because they are fresher. Cucumber plants will produce fruit as long as they are maintained and the fruit harvested; this means fresh cucumbers throughout the spring and summer. If planted and maintained properly you can have your first harvest of cucumbers for fresh eating or pickling within two months of planting seeds.

Step 1

Plant cucumber seeds when the ground reaches 65 degrees. This will be two or more weeks after the last frost in early spring.

Step 2

Choose a location to sow the cucumber seeds that gets at least half a day of direct sunlight. In hot or dry regions find a spot where the plant can get afternoon shading to avoid burning. Test the soil with the pH kit; you want a result between 6.0 to 7.0 pH for best plant performance.

Step 3

Use the spade to break into the soil by putting the blade vertically half way. Bend the handle back to bring the soil up. Remove any vegetation by shaking the soil loose, leaving the soil in place. Turn the soil over once. Use the shovel to dig 10 inches into the soil, turning the soil over as you dig. This will loosen the soil for planting.

Step 4

Mix in one shovel full of organic compost or manure for every square foot of the garden. Measure off a square with 12 inches on each side to determine a square foot for comparison. Pile the compost on the soil. Use the claw rake to thoroughly blend the compost into the soil. You will need about 2 square feet of ground for each set of plants.

Step 5

Build a mound in the center of the square. Use the claw rake to draw up a 10-inch mound with a 16-inch diameter. This will allow for up to three plants to grow. Dig a trough around the base of the mound to collect and hold water; this will help keep the plants from drying out. For multiple mounds, use a spacing of 5 feet between mounds.

Step 6

Place the trellis. Set up the trellis in the center of the mound. Use four stakes set in a square pattern as an alternative. The cucumbers will grow up the trellis instead of along the ground; this keeps the cucumbers from being eaten by animals, getting diseases, or being damaged.

Step 7

Dig five 1-inch holes around the rim of the mound. Space the holes 2 inches apart. Place one seed into each hole. Cover the seed with soil. Pat the soil down to keep it from being eaten by birds or from being blown or washed away.

Step 8

Water the mound until the soil is wet but not soaked. Use a watering can or the spray nozzle of a garden hose. Water weekly afterwards, allowing for 1 inch of water each time. If it rains during the week before watering, test the soil with the tip of your finger; if the soil is damp to touch, do not water the plants.

Step 9

Wait four weeks for sprouts to show. Spot spray fish emulsion fertilizer on the sprouts. Add a top layer of compost material around the sprouts. Allow the plants to reach 2 inches high before continuing to the next step.

Step 10

Wind the runner of the plant around the base of the trellis. Cucumbers are self-training plants and will work their way up the trellis once they know where the trellis is. Allow the plant to grow up the trellis; when it reaches the top, snip off the runner and the plant will send more energy into growing fruit instead of the vine.

Step 11

Mulch the soil around the plants once they begin to climb. This will control weeds and keep the moisture in the ground.

Step 12

Harvest cucumbers individually as they age. Cucumbers grow fast and can be picked once they reach the desired length and turn dark green. Pickling cucumbers can be harvested at 4 inches; salad and cutting cucumbers can be picked at 7 inches. Cut the cucumbers at the stem just above the fruit with the scissors.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Shovel
  • Claw rake
  • Measuring tape
  • Watering can
  • Trellis
  • Compost
  • Mulch
  • Scissors

References

  • "Vegetable Gardening: Your Ultimate Guide"; Robert J. Dolezal; 2000
  • "Growing Fruit and Vegetables"; Richard Bird; 2003
Keywords: growing cucumbers, using cucumber seeds, mound planting

About this Author

Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.