Garden Supplies

Cucumbers - How to grow them

The Vine vegetables include cucumbers and squashes both of which need space to grow and so may not be worthwhile if you only have a small garden. Other vine crops which also need a large area are gourds, muskmelon, pumpkin and watermelon.

To save space cucumbers and squash can be grown on a trellis or in a cage, and this is probably the best answer in a small garden.

Cucumbers need a rich soil with plenty of organic material added to increase the fertility. Additional fertilizer will help to produce a heavy crop. Cucumbers are tender plants and so cannot be planted out until all danger of frost has passed. Seeds can be sown outside once the soil has warmed up or they can be started indoors for an earlier crop.

When the seed is planted in drills, the rows should be at least 3 feet apart, with the plants thinned to 2 to 3 feet apart in the rows. For a small garden three or four plants may be all that you need and, if these are grown on a trellis, less space will be occupied. Some people plant their cucumbers on top of the compost heap.

Cucumbers require almost constant vigilance to prevent destructive attacks by cucumber beetles. These insects not only eat the foliage but also spread cucumber wilt and other serious diseases. It follows that you should harvest the crop as soon as each fruit has reached a reasonable size.

Squashes are among the most commonly grown garden plants. Although sensitive to frost, squashes are hardier than cucumbers. Soil conditions and plant spacing are the same as for cucumbers. Summer squash varieties should be picked when small otherwise the plant may stop producing. The winter varieties can be allowed to grow into full size marrows.




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