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  • Writer's pictureStronger Roots

Growing Cucumbers



🔷BENEFITS

-Contains flavonoids, triterpenes, and lignans that are antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties (control the number of free radicals released)

- Beta-carotene, an antioxidant that will boost your immunity; helps prevent free radicals

-contains Pectin a fiber that can decrease cholesterol

-The Sulfur and Silicon present in cucumber can help strengthen and rejuvenate your hair

-95% water - excellent for hydrating cells, helping regulate bowels, flush body of toxins,

-Good source of Fiber to help regulate bowels and control cholesterol

-Source of Calcium for strong bones and cartilage; also aid in calcium absorption

C, -Contains Vitamins C, K (blood clots/bone health), B(energy), A (vision, immune system, organ regularity)

-The Magnesium in cucumber helps keep blood pressure in control

-The Vitamin C and Folic acids in cucumbers can help promote healthy, shiny skin

-Contain Potassium, they help me reduce sodium-induced water retention and thus lower blood pressure

-Fermented cukes (pickles) help increase the “good bacteria” in your gut - which helps with immunity and bowels



🔷SEED WHEN/HOW TO PLANT

❗️Cucumbers are FROST/COLD Sensitive

-Start seeds INDOORS 2-3 weeks before planning to plant them outside (ideally when frost date passes)

-Start seeds/transplants OUTDOORS no earlier than 2 weeks After your zones last frost date

❗️Take caution NOT to touch or disturb roots when transplanting

-Soil must be at least 70° for optimal germination

-Space seeds (minimum) 2” apart

-Sow seeds 3/4” to 1” in depth

❗️Be careful not to overwater germinating seeds or they may Rot. It’s best to soak the ground or the potting soil heavily when first planting, then avoid watering again (if possible until seedlings emerge)

-Days to germinate: 3 to 10 - May germinate in 3 days at 80° to 90°. Germination may take 10 days or longer at cooler temperatures.

-Can be planted in mounds (“hills”) that are spaced 1’ to 2’ apart, with 2 to 3 seeds planted in each mound. Once plants reach 4”, thin them to one plant per mound.

-Make sure to “harden off” (a process for accumulating plants to outdoor environments) plants for a week before setting them outside permanently



🔷HOW TO GROW

-Full sun (6 to 8 hours)

-Add aged compost/manure to planting site at depth of 6” to 8”

-Space 36” to 60” / Space 12” apart for trellised plants

-Soil should be moist, fertile, and friable

-Soil pH 5.5-7.0

-🔑Keep soil Moist throughout plant life/growing season ; Water in the early morning to prevent as much evaporation as possible

❗️Water at base of plant or with a soaker hose to keep foliage dry to prevent disease

❗️Inconsistent watering leads to bitter fruits

-Some cucumbers (varieties best grown in greenhouses) produce fruits without pollination, but many varieties (best grown outdoors) cucumber usually need pollinating to set fruit.

-Mulching around base of plant will help retain water in the soil as well

-Aerate the ground throughout the growing season by digging around the base of the plant to loosen the soil and improve drainage and airflow to the roots

-About 1 month before first frost, start pinching off new flowers so plants channel energy into ripening existing fruit.



🔷DIFFERENT VARIETIES

Vining : higher yields ;grow best when trained up a trellis or the likes of; since the fruits are grown off the ground, makes for cleaner harvest .Train vines up their supports then pinch out the growing tips when they reach the top to encourage side shoots.

Boston Pickling~ Calypso~ Lemon~ Parisian Pickling~ Sweet Success


•Bush :suited for containers and small gardens/grow spaces

❗️Use mulch around base of plant to keep fruits off the ground to avoid diseases

Burpless Bush Hybrid~ Bush Crop~Pot Luck~Spacemaster~Parks Bush Whopper


-Ridge cucumbers’, will tolerate cooler climates and are often spiny or rough to the touch

Marketmore~La Diva~Tokyo Slicer~Masterpiece~Mini Star


-Slicing variety: skins tend to be thin and the flesh juicy and seed-free at the time of picking. Modern varieties have been bred to remove any bitterness

Straight eight~Sweet Success~Marketer~Dasher II~Raider


-Pickling variety: shorter, spiny fruits produced by pickling cucumbers or gherkins have a drier flesh, which makes them the perfect choice for preserving

Bush pickle~Carolina~Regal~County Fair 83~Saladin



🔷WHEN/HOW TO HARVEST

-Harvest slicing variety cucumbers when they about 6 to 8” long

-Harvest dill’s at 4 to 6” long

-Harvest pickling cucumbers at 2”.

-The large burpless cucumbers can be up to 10 inches long and some types are even larger.

❗️ Don’t let cucumbers get too large before you pick or they will taste bitter

❗️ Any cucumbers left on the vine too long will also get tough skins and lower plant productivity.

-Cut fruit from stem . Pulling may damage vine



🔷STORAGE

-BEST eating when kept at room temperature

❗️Cukes kept below 50° are faster to decay, and more prone to wateriness and pitting, than those kept at room temperature

—Wrap tightly in plastic wrap to retain moisture. Even more helpful, store in airtight Ziploc bag

-(Waxed) will keep 7 to 10days in refrigerator

-(Unwaxed) cucumbers, which are the kind that you’d pick in your own garden, are best when used within 3 days

❗️Store away from avocados, bananas, tomatoes, or melons, as the cucumbers are more likely to yellow quickly due to the exposure of ethylene gas

-The best way to store cut cucumbers is to wrap them in a damp paper towel and place them in an airtight storage container(also helps keep fruit from getting soft)

-Pickling: There are vinegar pickles, lacto-fermented pickles, and quick refrigerator pickles

-Canning; Most methods call for combining strained cucumber juice with vinegar, sugar, and pectin, and then processing in a water bath canner



🔷TROUBLE SHOOTING

-If vines bloom but don’t fruit, hand pollinating the female flower may be necessary

-Lots of insect issues can be combated with row covers (Barrier between plants and egg laying insects)

❗️Remove when plant sets flowers to ensure pollination UNLESS growing a Parthenocarpic (seedless) variety

——

Common Insect Problems

-Slugs : straw mulch can help keep slugs at bay

-Cucumber Beetles : Hand pick and practice crop rotation/ utilize floating row covers

-Squash Beetles : Remove old leaves and vines

-Aphids : ❗️ excrete honeydew, which attracts ants and other insects! Control with heavy streams of water

-Squash vine borer : Handpick


•🦠Common diseases:

Anthracnose : a fruit-rot fungus found on ripe and overripe fruit; Do not leave infected fruit in the garden, as the fungal spores will easily spread to other fruit and to the soil when water splashes around

-Fusarium/Verticillium/Bacterial wilt ; Best defense against wilt is to start with compost-rich soil in the ground or premium-potting mix in containers

-Cucumber mosaic virus: discard infected plant parts; Eliminate perennial weeds such as milkweed, marsh cress and yellow rocket; and avoid planting next to susceptible ornamentals.

-Downy mildew/Powdery mildew: fungal disease that effects foliage. Proper spacing of plants to provide air circulation can stop powdery mildew. A solution of baking soda or diluted milk can slow the spread or be used as a preventative measure.


🔷FUN FACTS

-Spray vine variety cukes with sugar water to attract bees and set more fruit!

-Burpless” cucumbers have little to no cucurbitacin, which causes bitterness and increases the chances of burping.

-Parthenocarpic cucumber varieties, which set fruit without pollination, and in fact produce the best quality, seedless fruits

-Gynoecious cucumbers produce mainly female flowers, and the majority are disease-resistant hybrids

-Legend has it if you plant your cucumbers in your garden in the dark, on the first day of May before the sun rises while wearing your pajamas, no bugs will eat your crop.

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