How to Grow Cucumbers

Botanical Name: Cucumis Sativus

Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) originate from India. They are vining plants with cylindrical or oval fruits known for their refreshing taste and high water content, making them popular in salads and pickles.

Do you want to know how to grow cucumbers? If so, let’s dive in.

  • How to Grow Cucumbers
  • How to Grow Cucumbers
Planting Guide Image

Cucumbers Planting Guide

Method

Seedlings or direct

Sowing Depth

10 mm

Season

Warm

Germination

16 – 35°C

Hardiness / Life Cycle

Frost Tender Annual

Row Spacing

120 – 150 cm

Plant Spacing

40 – 60 cm

Position

Full Sun

Days Until Maturity

8 – 12 weeks

Storage

Pick at night for longer lasting fruit. Airtight container or bag in crisper in fridge. Pickle.

When to Plant Cucumbers in Australia

What growing
region am I in?
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Cool Plantable in Oct Plantable in Nov Plantable in Dec
Temperate Plantable in Jan Plantable in Feb Plantable in Sep Plantable in Oct Plantable in Nov Plantable in Dec
Sub-Tropical Plantable in Jan Plantable in Feb Plantable in Mar Plantable in Aug Plantable in Sep Plantable in Oct Plantable in Nov Plantable in Dec
Tropical Plantable in Jan Plantable in Feb Plantable in Mar Plantable in Apr Plantable in May Plantable in Jun Plantable in Jul Plantable in Aug Plantable in Sep Plantable in Oct Plantable in Nov Plantable in Dec
Arid Plantable in Jan Plantable in Feb Plantable in Aug Plantable in Sep Plantable in Oct Plantable in Nov Plantable in Dec
Cool Temperate Sub-Tropical Tropical Arid
Jan Plantable in Jan Plantable in Jan Plantable in Jan Plantable in Jan
Feb Plantable in Feb Plantable in Feb Plantable in Feb Plantable in Feb
Mar Plantable in Mar Plantable in Mar
Apr Plantable in Apr
May Plantable in May
Jun Plantable in Jun
Jul Plantable in Jul
Aug Plantable in Aug Plantable in Aug Plantable in Aug
Sep Plantable in Sep Plantable in Sep Plantable in Sep Plantable in Sep
Oct Plantable in Oct Plantable in Oct Plantable in Oct Plantable in Oct Plantable in Oct
Nov Plantable in Nov Plantable in Nov Plantable in Nov Plantable in Nov Plantable in Nov
Dec Plantable in Dec Plantable in Dec Plantable in Dec Plantable in Dec Plantable in Dec
What growing
region am I in?

Growing Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a refreshing and versatile vegetable that can be easily grown in Australian gardens. Whether you have a spacious backyard or limited space in pots, you can enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own cucumbers. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of growing cucumbers, from planting to harvest. With essential tips and techniques, you’ll be well-equipped to cultivate thriving cucumber plants and savour the delicious rewards they bring.

When to Plant Cucumbers in Australia

Choosing the right time to plant cucumbers is crucial for successful growth. In Australia, the ideal time for planting cucumbers varies depending on the specific region and climate. Here are some general guidelines:

 

  • Tropical Regions: In tropical areas, it is best to plant cucumbers during the dry season. This typically falls between April and September, depending on the specific region. It’s important to avoid planting cucumbers during the wet season or periods of heavy rainfall. Excessive moisture can lead to fungal diseases and hinder plant growth.

 

  • Subtropical Regions: In these areas, cucumbers can be planted during the warmer months, typically from September to January.

 

  • Temperate Regions: In temperate regions, cucumbers can be planted during spring and early summer, from September to November.

 

  • Cool and Alpine Regions: In cooler areas, cucumbers are best planted during late spring and early summer, from October to December.

 

By planting cucumbers at the right time, you’ll provide them with favourable conditions to grow and produce a bountiful harvest.

How Long Does It Take to Grow Cucumbers?

The time it takes for cucumbers to grow and reach maturity depends on the cucumber variety and growing conditions. On average, cucumbers take around 50 to 70 days from planting to harvest. However, some varieties may take longer, so be sure to check the seed packet or variety information for specific details.

How to Grow Cucumbers Vertically on a Trellis

Growing cucumbers vertically, also known as vertical trellising or vertical gardening, can save space, improve air circulation, and make harvesting easier.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to grow cucumbers vertically:

  1. Choose a suitable cucumber variety: Look for compact or bush cucumber varieties that are well-suited for vertical growing. These varieties tend to have shorter vines and produce more compact plants.
  2. Select a trellis or support structure: There are various trellis options you can use, such as a wire mesh, wooden trellis, or a netting system. Make sure it’s sturdy enough to support the weight of the cucumber vines and fruits.
  3. Prepare the soil: Cucumbers prefer well-drained, fertile soil. Amend the soil with organic matter, like compost, to improve its structure and fertility. Ensure the soil is loose and well-prepared for planting.
  4. Plant the cucumber seeds or seedlings: If starting from seeds, sow them according to the recommended depth and spacing mentioned on the seed packet. If using seedlings, transplant them carefully into the prepared soil, ensuring they have enough space around them.
  5. Install the trellis or support system: Place the trellis or support system near the cucumber plants before they start growing. Make sure it’s firmly anchored in the ground or against a sturdy structure.
  6. Train the vines: As the cucumber plants grow, gently guide the main vine towards the trellis or support structure. Use soft ties or twine to secure the vines to the trellis, allowing them to climb and spread out.
  7. Prune and manage the vines: Regularly prune the side shoots and suckers that develop between the main stem and leaves. This helps focus energy on the main vine and encourages upward growth. Pruning also improves air circulation and reduces the risk of diseases.
  8. Provide support as needed: As the cucumber plants grow, periodically check and adjust the ties or twine to ensure the vines are well-supported. You may need to add additional ties or adjust the trellis height if the plants outgrow the initial support.
  9. Water and fertilise appropriately: Cucumbers require consistent moisture to thrive. Water the plants regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Apply a balanced fertiliser according to the recommended dosage and schedule.
  10. Monitor pests and diseases: Keep an eye out for common cucumber pests, such as aphids, cucumber beetles, and powdery mildew. Take appropriate measures to control pests and prevent diseases, such as using organic insecticides or practising proper crop rotation.
  11. Harvest cucumbers: As the cucumbers grow, regularly check for mature fruits and harvest them promptly. Harvesting frequently encourages more fruit production and prevents overripe cucumbers that can inhibit further growth.

 

By following these steps and providing proper care, you can successfully grow cucumbers vertically and enjoy a bountiful harvest in a smaller garden space.


How to Grow Cucumbers in Pots

Growing cucumbers in pots is a great option if you have limited garden space or want to grow them on a balcony or patio. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to grow cucumbers in pots:

  1. Choose a suitable cucumber variety: Look for compact or bush cucumber varieties that are well-suited for container gardening. These varieties tend to have shorter vines and are more manageable in pots.
  2. Select a large and sturdy container: Choose a container that is at least 30 cm (12 inches) in diameter and 30 cm (12 inches) deep. Make sure it has drainage holes at the bottom to prevent waterlogging.
  3. Prepare the potting mix: Use a well-draining potting mix suitable for vegetables. You can also mix equal parts of compost, garden soil, and perlite or vermiculite to create a homemade potting mix.
  4. Plant the cucumbers: If using seeds, sow a few seeds in each pot and thin them out later, leaving the strongest seedling. If using seedlings, dig a hole in the potting mix and carefully place the seedling, making sure to cover the root ball with soil.
  5. Provide support for climbing varieties: If you’re growing climbing cucumber varieties, install a trellis or vertical support in the pot when planting. Place it towards the back of the pot and secure it firmly.
  6. Place the pot in a sunny location: Cucumbers need at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Choose a sunny spot on your balcony, patio, or near a window where the cucumbers can receive adequate sunlight.
  7. Water regularly: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Check the moisture level by inserting your finger about an inch into the soil. If it feels dry, water the plant thoroughly, ensuring the water reaches the root zone.
  8. Fertilise regularly: Container-grown cucumbers benefit from regular feeding. Apply a balanced liquid fertiliser, manure mix, or slow-release granular fertiliser according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Avoid over-fertilising, as it can lead to excessive vine growth at the expense of fruit production.
  9. Prune and manage the vines: Regularly prune side shoots and suckers that develop between the main stem and leaves. This helps control the size of the plant and encourages upward growth. Pruning also improves air circulation and reduces the risk of diseases.
  10. Monitor pests and diseases: Keep an eye out for common cucumber pests, such as aphids, cucumber beetles, and powdery mildew. Take appropriate measures to control pests and prevent diseases, such as using organic insecticides and fungicides or practising proper hygiene.
  11. Harvesting cucumbers: As the cucumbers grow, regularly check for mature fruits and harvest them promptly. Harvesting frequently encourages more fruit production and prevents overripe cucumbers that can inhibit further growth.

 

By following these steps and providing proper care, you can successfully grow cucumbers in pots and enjoy a fresh harvest from your container garden.

Growing Cucumbers on the Ground

Growing cucumbers on the ground is a traditional method and can be done easily in a garden or larger growing area. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to grow cucumbers on the ground:

  1. Choose a suitable cucumber variety: Look for varieties that are well-suited for ground planting. These can include both vining and bush types, depending on your preference and available space.
  2. Select a sunny location: Cucumbers require at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Choose a spot in your garden that receives ample sunlight.
  3. Prepare the soil: Cucumbers thrive in fertile, well-draining soil. Remove any weeds or debris from the area and amend the soil with organic matter, such as compost, to improve its structure and nutrient content.
  4. Sow cucumber seeds or use seedlings: If starting from seeds, sow them directly into the prepared soil according to the recommended depth and spacing mentioned on the seed packet. Alternatively, you can use seedlings or young cucumber plants purchased from a nursery.
  5. Plant the cucumbers: Dig a hole in the soil and carefully place the seedling or sow the seed, ensuring it is planted at the proper depth. Space the plants according to the recommended spacing for the specific cucumber variety.
  6. Provide support if desired: While cucumbers can grow on the ground without support, you may choose to provide support to keep the fruit off the ground and make harvesting easier. Options include using cages, stakes, or trellises around the plants.
  7. Water the plants: Cucumbers need consistent moisture, especially during hot weather. Water the plants deeply and regularly, ensuring the soil stays evenly moist. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot or other issues.
  8. Mulch around the plants: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or wood chips, around the cucumber plants. This helps conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and maintain a more even soil temperature.
  9. Fertilise appropriately: Cucumbers are heavy feeders and benefit from regular feeding. Apply a balanced fertiliser according to the recommended dosage and schedule. You can also use compost or organic fertilisers to provide nutrients to the plants.
  10. Prune and manage the vines: While not necessary, you can pinch off the growing tips of the cucumber vines once they reach the desired length. This can help manage their spread and promote more lateral growth.
  11. Monitor pests and diseases: Keep an eye out for common cucumber pests, such as aphids, cucumber beetles, and powdery mildew. Take appropriate measures to control pests and prevent diseases, such as using organic insecticides and practising proper crop rotation.
  12. Harvesting cucumbers: As the cucumbers grow, regularly check for mature fruits and harvest them promptly. Harvesting frequently encourages more fruit production and prevents overripe cucumbers that can inhibit further growth.

 

By following these steps and providing proper care, you can successfully grow cucumbers on the ground and enjoy a bountiful harvest from your garden.

How to Grow Cucumbers from Seeds

Growing cucumbers from seeds is a cost-effective and rewarding method. Here’s how you can grow cucumbers from seeds:

  1. Seed Selection: Choose high-quality cucumber seeds from a reputable source. Consider the specific cucumber variety and your growing conditions when making your selection.
  2. Indoor Sowing (Optional): Start cucumber seeds indoors about four to six weeks before the last expected frost date. Use seedling trays or pots filled with seed-starting mix. Plant the seeds at a depth of about 1.5 cm (0.6 inches) and keep the soil moist.
  3. Outdoor Sowing: If you prefer to sow cucumber seeds directly in the garden, wait until after the last expected frost date or when the soil temperature reaches around 15-18°C (59-64°F).
  4. Soil Preparation: Prepare the soil in your garden by loosening it and removing any weeds or debris. Amend the soil with organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve fertility and drainage.
  5. Planting: Plant the cucumber seeds about 2.5 cm (1 inch) deep, with two to three seeds per planting hole or spaced according to the recommended spacing for the chosen cucumber variety. Space the planting holes about 60-90 cm (24-36 inches) apart.
  6. Watering and Care: Water the soil thoroughly after planting to ensure good seed-to-soil contact. Maintain consistent soil moisture throughout the growing season by watering regularly, especially during dry periods. Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.
  7. Thinning: Once the cucumber seedlings have developed a few true leaves, thin them out to leave the strongest plant in each planting hole. Remove the weaker seedlings to prevent overcrowding and ensure each plant has enough space to grow.
  8. Support (If Applicable): If growing vining cucumber varieties, provide support such as trellises, stakes, or cages to keep the plants upright and off the ground.
  9. Fertilisation: Apply a balanced vegetable fertiliser or compost tea according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Feed the plants regularly to provide essential nutrients for healthy growth and fruit development.
  10. Pest and Disease Management: Monitor the cucumber plants for pests and diseases, and take appropriate measures to manage them. Use organic pest control methods or consider companion planting to help deter pests.
  11. Harvesting: Harvest cucumbers when they have reached the desired size and colour. Check the plants regularly, as cucumbers can mature quickly. Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the cucumbers from the vine, taking care not to damage the plant.

How to Grow Cucumbers from a Cucumber

If you have a fresh cucumber, you can use it to grow more cucumbers. Here’s how:

  1. Cucumber Selection: Choose a fresh, healthy cucumber from the store or your garden. Ensure it is free from any signs of disease or damage.
  2. Seed Extraction: Cut the cucumber lengthwise and scoop out the seeds using a spoon. Place the seeds in a sieve and rinse them under cool water to remove any pulp or debris.
  3. Seed Drying: Spread the cucumber seeds on a paper towel or a mesh screen and allow them to air dry for a few days. Ensure they are completely dry before storing or planting.
  4. Preparation: Soak the cucumber seeds in water for about 24 hours before planting. This helps to hydrate the seeds and promote germination.
  5. Planting: Sow the cucumber seeds directly into well-prepared soil or pots. Plant them at a depth of about 2.5 cm (1 inch) and space them according to the recommended spacing for the chosen cucumber variety.
  6. Watering and Care: Water the soil gently after planting the cucumber seeds, ensuring the soil is evenly moist. Continue to water whenever the top inch of soil feels dry.
  7. Sunlight and Temperature: Place the planted seeds in a warm, well-lit area that receives ample sunlight. Maintain temperatures between 20-30°C (68-86°F) for optimal growth.
  8. Support (If Applicable): If growing vining cucumber varieties, provide support such as trellises, stakes, or cages to keep the plants upright and off the ground.
  9. Quick Harvesting: With proper care, cucumber seedlings should emerge within a week. You can start harvesting cucumbers when they have grown to the desired size.

Conclusion

Growing cucumbers in Australia is a rewarding experience that allows you to enjoy the freshness and versatility of homegrown cucumbers. Whether you choose to grow cucumbers in the ground, in pots, vertically, or even from a cucumber itself, the process is relatively straightforward. 

By following the guidelines provided in this comprehensive guide, you’ll be on your way to cultivating healthy cucumber plants and harvesting an abundant supply of crisp and flavorful cucumbers. Enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own cucumbers and elevate your salads, sandwiches, and snacks with the delightful taste of homegrown produce. Happy cucumber gardening!