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Everything you need to know about planting cucumbers

Cucumber types to try
American slicing cucumbers are the oblong, dark green cukes you see in supermarkets.
Pickling cucumbers bear smaller fruits with bumpy, slightly wrinkled rinds that make them naturally crisp and firm.
Asian cucumbers are long and slender, with small seed cavities.
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.

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.

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.
Mix a 2-inch layer of rich compost into the planting site, along with a light application of an organic fertilizer. Thoroughly water the soil before plant¬ing seeds half an inch deep and 6 inches apart. When the seedlings have three leaves, thin them to 12 inches apart, which is the spacing you should use if transplanting seedlings.

Saving cucumber seeds
Allow seeds to dry at room temperature for two weeks before storing your largest, plumpest ones in a cool, dry place. Cucumber seeds should stay viable for at least five years.

Preventing cucumber pests and diseases
Grow cucumbers under row cover tun¬nels for pest protection. After plants begin blooming heavily, remove the covers so insects can pollinate the flowers.

Growing tips and ideas
Use a trellis, such as a wire tomato cage, to increase the leaf-to-fruit ratio of your cucumbers, which will increase yields of flawless, flavorful fruits that are eas¬ier to pick. To further increase your yields, mulch beneath cucumbers with organic material.
Read full directions in this tutorial.

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