Growing Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a crunchy, clean, and deliciously healthy fruit, well, according to the culinary world, they’re considered a vegetable.

They grow beautifully in our tropical climate here in sunny KZN, they thrive when the weather is hot and there is a lot of water. Cucumbers grow in two forms, vining and bush. Vining cucumbers normally produce more fruit, and the bush cucumbers are better suited for smaller gardens or containers.

You can start to grow cucumbers from seeds, and this can also be done indoors, in pots, then moved outdoors. When planting cucumbers outdoors, make sure you choose a spot that has enough drainage and fertile, organic soil and compost that is light and airy.

Make sure there is a lot of sunshine too. Cucumbers rely heavily on photosynthesis to build strong vines, and for this, they need plenty of sunshine.

Cucumbers tend to rot easily, to prevent this from happening, plant them on a slight mound, allowing the main stem not to sit in water if there is a lot of rain. If you grow a few vines per mound, they intertwine which gives added strength.

Cucumbers grow fast and don’t need a lot of attention, but they do need to be watered, keeping the soil moist. If they lack water, this can cause oddly shaped or poor tasting fruit.

They need a lot of space (lucky we have lots of space in our gardens at Fairview), but you may want to encourage them to grow onto a trellis or a fence. This will also keep the fruit off the soil and keep your garden looking neater. When planting cucumbers on a fence, you should plant them about 30cm apart at the base. You may need to encourage them to grow upwards and can do this by positioning the growing vine on the fence. Once the cucumber vine starts to wrap itself around then fence then you no longer need to assist it as it should continue to climb on its own.

You can pick cucumbers when they are big enough to eat, the longer you leave them, the more bitter they get, and the skin becomes harder. The more you pick them, the more fruit they grow. When removing them, use a knife or clippers to prevent damaging the vine. Check them daily as they grow quickly!

You can keep harvested cucumbers in the fridge for 7-10 days, they are best kept wrapped up to prevent dehydration, especially if they have been cut and not eaten all at once. There are many ways you can enjoy cucumbers. They can be pickled, sliced, and eaten on a sandwich, chopped up and added to a salad, or eaten whole.