If you crave fresh cucumbers, but only have an apartment balcony or a minuscule garden to grow them in, try using containers. Cucumbers are among the easiest of vegetables to grow in containers, and they will reward you with plenty of fresh fruits for very little effort. They do require considerable sun, however, so place containers in a south-facing location if possible. A five-gallon container is ideal, but even a two-gallon pot will do if fertilized regularly.
Prepare the Pot
Choose a large pot, at least 12 inches in diameter with plenty of drainage holes in the bottom. Ohio State University Extension recommends plastic over clay pots because they do not dry out so quickly.
Put a few rocks in the bottom of the pot to help with drainage.
Add a good quality potting soil or soil-less mix to the pot to within a few inches from the rim and press to firm the soil.
Add 2 or 3 inches of quality compost on top the soil and make a shallow depression in the center.
Making a Pot Trellis
Lay the three long stakes (bamboo, 1-inch square wood, pipe or dowels) on a flat surface with lower ends together and the upper ends spread out fan fashion. The 5-foot long stake in the center should protrude 1 foot below the two side stakes, as it will be pushed into the soil of the pot.
Place short stakes across the three long stakes, spacing them 6 inches apart. Tie them to the bottom stakes where they cross with nylon strings.
Alternatively, fasten three same-length stakes together at tops with string to make a tepee, then lash crosspieces to those and set on top of the soil in the pot.
Planting the Cucumber
Push the center stake of the trellis into the soil near the middle of the pot and as far down as possible so it is firmly embedded in the soil around it.
Put three to six plump cucumber seeds in the depression in the center of the pot. Press them firmly in place so they make good contact with the soil. Add an inch of soil on top of the seeds and firm again.
Water the seeds until the soil is thoroughly moist at least 1 inch below the seeds.
Put the pot in a sunny location, preferably, where it will be at least 75 degree Fahrenheit, until seeds germinate.
Apply one cup of manure tea (well-rotted manure diluted in water at a ratio of about 1/4 cup manure to one gallon of water). Never fertilize dry soil--add only after watering to avoid burning the plant.
About this Author
Deborah Stephenson is a freelance writer and artist, who brings over 25 years of both professional and life experience to her writings. Stephenson features a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She is an anthropologist & naturalist, and has published a field guide on Michigan's flora & fauna as well as numerous political and environmental articles.