The Best Cucumber Varieties
Of course you could do it the easy way and buy cucumber plants from your
nearest garden centre, but you have much more choice if you order
seeds from seed catalogues. There is a great amount of cucumber
varieties to pick from. Your choice will depend on where you are going
to grow them.
Glasshouse cucumbers are usually long and smooth. Examples are Athene, Burpless, Diana or Telegraph Improved.
Outdoor cucumbers are also often called gherkins or ridge cucumbers because they can be grown on top of ridges crawling along the ground.
Popular varieties are Bush Crop, Long Green Ridge or Chinese Long Green.
Here are some cucumber varieties for you.
Look out for disease-resistant, all-female F1-Hybrids. These
have no male flowers that will cause bitter cucumbers.
You don't have to
about removing the male flowers with those varieties (Athene, Diana).
If you don't have an all female plant you have to remove the male
flowers to avoid cross pollination. Otherwise you will end up with
On the female flowers, like on this picture, you will see the small immature cucumber between the flower and the stem.
Male flowers have only a short stem.
How To Grow Cucumber Plants
Soil And Growing Conditions
Cucumber plants like a lot of organic material like compost in the ground. Well rotted horse or cow manure is also good.
You need a minimum of 18 degrees C/65 degrees F for growing cucumbers
and a moist atmosphere. Keep spraying the plants on hot days and never
soil to dry out.
You can also grow cucumber plants in grow-bags or in large pots with good
quality potting compost. Add some organic fertilizer like
poultry manure into the compost and keep the plants well watered.
How To Plant Cucumber Seeds
Fill small pots with good quality seed compost and insert one seed per
pot. Cover with approx. 1.5-2 cm or 1/2 to 3/4 inch of compost an firm
Water the seeds in.
Cucumber seeds germinate within a few days if they have enough heat.
They need 18 degrees C/65 degrees F. You can do this any time between
January and May once you
have enough heat.
You can be planting cucumbers out once they are big enough i.e. have
developed a second set of leaves.
Plant them out into the prepared bed in the glasshouse or outside and
water them in well. You can earth them up as they grow and they will
produce more roots along the stem.
Give the glasshouse cucumbers some support. You can use wires or canes.
Tie the main stem carefully onto the support and pinch out the
top of the stem once it has reached the height of the cane. Stop the side
shoots as well once they have developed the first fruit followed by two
Pests And Diseases
Attacks of Red Spider Mite in the glasshouse can be avoided by spraying regularly with water.
Powdery Mildew can be a problem when growing cucumbers. Pick mildew
resistant cucumber varieties and keep your plants well watered.
Cucumbers are in general easy to grow and healthy if the growing conditions are right
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