Growing Cucumbers in Your Home Garden
Cool and crisp, cucumbers belong to the plant family Cucurbitaceae, which also includes squashes and melons. There are two basic types of “cukes” — those that are eaten fresh (known as the slicing variety) and those grown for pickling.
Cucumbers are sensitive to cold and will not germinate until soil temperatures reach 60°F or warmer. Otherwise, they are a snap to grow. Start them from seeds indoors about three to six weeks before you plan to transplant them. Plant seedlings about 1 inch deep and 12 inches apart.
The inside of a cucumber can be up to 20 degrees cooler than outside due to its water content.
It’s time to transplant cucumber plants to your garden once they’re about 4 inches tall. Place seedlings 2 feet apart in rows that are 4 feet apart. If space is limited, use a trellis for vining varieties. Trellising also produces a higher yield and improved quality. Cucumbers prefer full sun and well-drained, loamy soil with weekly watering.
Cucumbers are best eaten raw and added to sandwiches, wraps, dressings, dips or salads. Try savoring your new backyard bounty in our crisp cucumber avocado salad. They can also be served with hummus, salsa or low-fat dressing for a dip. Remember to wash your cucumbers under clean, running water and pat dry with clean paper towels before eating.
- Cucumber Facts and Info Sheet (PDF)
- Vegetable Gardening: A Beginner’s Guide
- Tickled About Pickles: The Story of Cucumbers in North Carolina