How to grow cucumbers vertically? Well, we all are familiar with the traditional way of growing them. But vertically…how? Vertical gardening offers many benefits. But, for such people that are new to growing cucumbers vertically in pots, raised beds, or trellises, the concept can appear a little confusing. But worry not as today we are going to explain the steps to allow you to grow these tasty veggies vertically so as to maximize space.
Traditionally when cultivated, cucumbers can occupy a large square feet of area ranging between 12 to 20. But, if you do wish to grow these delicious veggies indoors or in gardens where you want to maximize space, vertical gardening is your most viable choice.
The cucumber vines have to be guided to climb upwards on the trellis or any kind of raised platform or garden netting to help them expand and grow. There are a number of advantages of vertical growing of cucumbers, like, you can leave the ground space free for other species of veggies and fruits. Also, a vertical garden appears much more attractive and clean than when you plant bushy cucumber plants on the ground.
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So, lets get to know more about how to grow cucumbers from seeds vertically.
Choose a suitable container for growing cucumbers vertically
If they are grown the usual way, cucumbers can gobble up a lot of space, typically ranging from 12-20 square feet. But, when you plant these vertically, you end up saving loads of space. One clever way to grow these veggies vertically is to use containers, typically big and 12 inches in depth.
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Choosing a big container is suggested as cucumbers occupy a lot of space as pointed out previously. Hence, select a pot or container that has a depth of about 12 inches and is pretty wide. If you have planted a bushy variety of cucumber, then you ought to buy an even bigger container as this type spreads fast and on the soil instead of going up. Choosing the climbing type is more preferred as these cucumbers climb up on the support and do not occupy the soil bed.
Choose a suitable trellis to offer support to the cucumber plant
If you are planning to grow cucumbers vertically, either indoors or in your gardens, you need to buy supports in the form of garden netting, a fence or a trellis. A trellis is a metallic or wooden frame that’s used as a support for the cucumber vines to climb upwards and grow.
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Some important considerations in this regard
Choosing suitable support
Before you just pick any trellis, make sure to do some research work at your end and invest in one that reaches at least 6 feet in height. This will allow a better climb for your cucumber vines. Also, do pick up a trellis that is sturdy and will not bend when the vines grow thicker and heavier.
Placing the support
1. Care has to be taken when placing the trellis on the soil. The best technique is to place the trellis in such a way that its lower edge stays 6 inches above the soil level. This is an important consideration that you must bear in mind as doing this will allow easy weeding as well as cultivating.
2. When placing the trellis as a support for your vines, make sure not to install them at places where other fruits or veggies grow as this will block sunlight and will prevent other plants to grow healthily. Hence, the best place would be the back wall of your garden where nothing except the vines grow.
Ready the planting area
Once you have placed the trellis or trellises in the soil, its time for making the planting area ready and fully prepared for your cucumbers. You start this process by tilling an 8 inch hole in the soil. While tilling, add in a compost layer measuring one inch. Now, heap up the soil around the trellis using a gardening tool known as a rake.
Mounding or pilling up the soil in a mound is extremely important in growing cucumbers vertically as this allows the planting bed to rise above the soil level and enable optimal growth of the vines.
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Plant or sow the cucumber seeds
This step will enable you to know exactly how to grow cucumbers from seeds. Sowing is an important part in cultivation. When growing cucumbers that are known to love warmth and heat, care has to be taken when sowing the seeds. If you have a raised bed, plant rows of four cucumber seeds with spacing of 12 inches between each. The depth has to maintained at 1 inch when sowing the seeds.
The same has to be followed when you are sowing the seeds in the pot. After you have sowed the seeds, cover them with 2cm of soil. Make sure that you start your sowing when the temperature of the soil reaches above 60 degrees Fahrenheit as cucumbers love heat.
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Once the sowing process is over, wait for the cucumber seeds to germinate. The first sign of germination is a tiny green leaf that will soon become visible to your eyes.
If you wish to transfer or transplant the seedlings, then make sure to pick the best or healthiest seedling among them. For a ground transplantation, keep in mind the frost factor. For such people that live in tropical or warm regions, cucumber growing can be carried out all through the year, but, if you live in colder countries, wait for summer or spring.
Guide the growing vines to climb the support
One cannot just leave the cucumber vines from climbing the trellis or the garden mesh on their own as these need our guidance and help. Once your seedlings appear, you have to take measures to train the vines to make an upward climb up the support so as to allow twining.
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Some points to bear in mind in this regard
1. A vital step in this process involves tieing up the cucumber vines to the support after you have guided them upwards. You can use strips of soft cloth or rags for this purpose but be extremely gentle when handling the vines.
2. Any harsh handling will make the vines break which you obviously would want to avoid. However, the cloth strips must be tied, keeping in mind to leave loose loops for ample growth of vine stems. You can keep one inch of space in the loops. Do not tie the vines too tightly as this will hamper their growth.
Watering is an important activity in growing cucumbers
How to grow cucumbers abundantly? If you are wondering what went wrong the other time you tried growing cucumbers vertically, it might just be that you didn’t follow the steps accurately. Of all the steps in cucumber cultivation, watering is perhaps the most important.
Water is the life giver and plants need it in ample amounts to thrive. A cucumber plant needs to be watered quite frequently. Its needed to retain moisture in the soil, a factor that’s primal to allowing optimal growth of these yummy veggies.
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Important points to keep in mind when watering
1. If you are living in an arid place, make sure to water the cucumber plants every alternate day. Less watering may result in sagging of plants and this will hamper their proper growth.
2. Mulching is also vital as it offers a protective cover to the plants against harsh elements. When the cucumber vines grow and become mature, mulch the soil to 4 inches more in depth than usual. You can use any kind of mulch as you prefer like coca mulch, grass clippings, pine straw, compost and chopped leaves.
3. Fertilizing is another equally important step to attain full growth of your cucumber plants. This can be done every three weeks by spraying fertilizers lightly over the vines.
4. You can use an organic based liquid fertilizer or Foliar Feeding. However, use the fertilizer only at the root area. If using a diluted liquid fertilizer, be sure to spray it when watering the cucumber plants.
5. Refrain from excessive use of fertilizers as this may result in less cucumbers and more of leaves and bushes.
How to grow cucumbers indoors using containers
When we think of vertical gardening, its often the pots and containers that come to our minds. Containers can be used both outside and inside to grow veggies and herbs. Here, we will guide you as to how to grow cucumbers indoors in them.
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When you are planning to grow cucumbers indoors in containers, you are allowing yourself the luxury to savor these throughout the year. But, for an indoor plantation, you need to plant the varieties that will grow tall instead of spreading over the soil bed. Hybrid ones are best as the seeds do not need pollination.
A few steps on growing cucumbers indoors
These steps are easy to follow. Do take a look and get started.
1. Buy hybrid seeds
Its always better to buy hybrid seeds that are of the dwarf variety. Dwarf hybrid cucumber seeds occupy much less space and are prefect for indoor plantation. These seeds also do not need pollination unlike the bushy varieties.
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2. Cucumbers require a big space to grow
When growing cucumbers indoors, be sure to invest in big sized containers or pots as these need a large space to grow and mature. Cucumbers of any variety need space and hence you must buy large containers. If you have hanging pots, use these to plant your cucumbers.
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3. Add gravel in the bottom of the pot or buy a pot with drainage holes
Once you have selected your containers, prepare these by placing gravel or tiny stones at the bottom. This is done to help in proper draining of excess water. Any extra water has to be drained out as it may cause plant sagging or wilting. If you have pots with drainage holes, buy them and place these in an upside down position in the center of the bigger pots for drainage.
4. Add potting soil along with compost to the pot
After placing gravel or stones for drainage, you must add potting soil to your containers along with compost. The ratio maintained should be 50:50. However, the soil used should be free of any debris or pest.
5. Keep in mind the optimal depth and spacing when planting cucumber seeds
Once the containers are filled with potting soil and compost, its time to plant or sow 4 to 5 cucumber seeds with a depth of 12 mm. Keep the spacing to 1/2″. Make sure you do not plant the seeds in close proximity to one another as it may lead to improper growth.
6. Keep in mind to water the soil abundantly
After you have sowed the cucumber seeds in the containers, water these frequently so as to maintain moisture. However, water only in small amounts at regular intervals. Make sure that excess water drains through the holes at the bottom of the containers.
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7. Exposing the cucumber planter to direct sunlight is a must for healthy growth
Showing direct sunlight is extremely primal for healthy cucumber growth. Your potted cucumbers need sunlight often as these love heat rather than cold. If you have windows, place your pots near the window sills when the sun is at its peak. Expose the potted cucumbers to sunlight everyday for at least 6 hours.
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8. For an easy growth of cucumbers, keep in mind the minimum height that is to be maintained
Once the cucumber plants start to grow, let them take their own time to reach a height of 2 to 3″ before planning to clip or thin them. You should not thin the seedlings before they reach this prescribed height as doing this will disturb their natural growth.
9. Choose the healthiest two cucumber plants without disturbing the soil
After they have grown taller, pick the two plants that appear the healthiest of all. Remove all other plants from the pot but with gentleness. When you remove the rest of the plants, make sure not to disturb the soil area of the two cucumber plants that you have chosen for growing.
10. Allow these two plants to grow to 254 mm in height
The selected plants now have to be grown to a height of 254 mm or 10″. Make sure to expose them to sunlight every day and do rotations whenever you think one of the plants is not getting enough sunlight.
11. Choose among the best of the two plants for final harvest
As the second last step, remove the weakling from the group of two plants that you have allowed to grow in the pot. This will prevent an unhealthy plant from growing further and producing no fruit when its ready for harvest. Remove the weakling by gently cutting or clipping it from the base.
12. Offer support to the plant and guide it to climb
No cucumber plant in a pot can grow taller unless you offer a support in the form of small trellis near it. A small stick will also serve as an efficient support. Once you have planted the support near the cucumber plant, guide the vine to make a climb upwards. Also, expose it to sunlight everyday which will ensure that it grows 1″ taller each passing day.
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13. Keep the soil moist and supple by watering the plant regularly
Let the vines twine with the stick or trellis inserted near the plant and then water it often to make the soil moist. Do not water in excess and at once. Drain the water.
Mulching has to be done and raised to 4 inches in depth around the soil when the cucumber vines begin to mature or ripen.
15. Fertilize the cucumber vines every two to three weeks
After mulching, its time for adding fertilizer to the vines. When adding fertilizer, do it very gently and slowly into the base of the soil. Fertilization is done to prevent pest infestation and can be done every three weeks.
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When you opt for a vertical cucumber garden, choose a hybrid variety that will use up less space. Growing cucumbers vertically is not a difficult task and anyone that will read this post can easily grow these healthily all year round. We do hope that this article that has enlisted tips on how to grow cucumbers vertically has cleared most of your doubts and will help you attain a beautiful yield in no time.