Posts Tagged ‘cucumber’

Ways with watering

July 5th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Sweet peas appreciate plenty of water

“Watering requires more care than is often given to it.” As we look back over a hundred years, so we read in the introduction to the fine old Annual & Biennial Garden Plants by A. E. Speer published in 1911.

“In dry weather a little sprinkling does more harm very often than good. The roots are attracted to the surface only to be burnt up by the hot rays of the sun. When watering do it thoroughly, so that it may go down to the roots, and not the roots up to the moisture.

“Some annuals, like Sweet Peas, especially if grown for exhibition, require copious watering, and occasionally with a little liquid manure added. Always water after the sun is off the plants; and it may be added, rain-water saved from a tub is preferable to water from a pipe. It is softer and not so cold.”

Good advice. My approach is to enrich the soil with organic matter by mulching and working in weed-free compost when planting so the soil retains as much moisture as possible.

I’m also very keen on spot watering and spot feeding individual plants as they need it. Tomatoes, courgettes, outdoor cucumbers, sweet peas and dahlias in particular appreciate a regular drench and to make this easier, when planting, I create a shallow dip into which the plants are set. This collects water and feed where it’s needed and prevents it running away across the border.

The good Mr Speer is right when he says that “pipe” water can be very cold. But it’s also good to remember that the water in a hose pipe left out in the sun can also get very hot. Some gardeners line up filled watering cans one day for use the next, allowing the water to warm up.

Me? I think it’s more important to do it rather than not, and not to worry too much about the temperature. Either way, you’ll see the difference.

Growing Cucumbers From Sowing to Harvest

June 11th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

If you are wondering if you should plant cucumber or not, the answer should be yes!

They are cucumber varieties suitable to be grown outdoors or in the greenhouse, so watch this video to find out how to grow your own cucumber.



Where to grow cucumbers

Outdoor cucumbers also called ridge cucumbers will tolerate cooler climates.

Greenhouse cucumbers form smoother fruits but do need the extra warmth for success.

Some varieties will happily grow inside or out, pick a sunny, sheltered spot in the garden.


How to sow cucumbers

Sow cucumbers from mid-spring into small pots of seed starting or general potting mix. Sow 2 seeds about 1 inch/3cm deep and water well. To germinate cucumbers, need temperatures of at least 68⁰F/20⁰C; so place pots into a propagator for a speedier germination, or simply wait until later in Spring to get started.

Once the seedlings appear, remove the weakest to leave one per pot.


Greenhouse cucumbers

Greenhouse cucumbers can be planted into beds, large containers of potting soil, or growing bags. If using the latter, plant 2 cucumbers per bag into bottomless pots set on top of the growing bag. These will help to trap moisture every time you water instead of running off, over the surface.

Put in place support such as bamboo canes, vertical wires, strong netting or trellis. Train vines up their support, then pinch out the growing tips when they reach the top to encourage side-shoots. The side shoot should be pinched out after each developing fruit, to leave two leaves beyond each fruit.



Feed plants every two weeks, with a liquid fertilizer, that’s high in potassium and keep these thirsty plants moist at all times.


Male and female flowers

Unless you are growing an all-female variety, remove the male flowers from greenhouse plants. This prevents bitter-tasting fruits. It’s easy to identify female flowers by the slight swelling of the embryonic fruit behind each bloom.


Outdoor cucumbers

Outdoor cucumbers should be planted when the soil is warm, in late spring or early summer. Gradually acclimatise plants for a week or two beforehand. A cold frame is useful for this hardening off period.

In warmer climates you can sow seeds directly.


Soil requirements

Cucumbers prefer rich, fertile soil so dig in plenty of well-rotted organic matter, such as compost before planting.

If you are growing your cucumbers upwards using support such as trellis, set plants about 18in/45cm apart. Or if you are leaving them to grow over the soil surface instead, plant them about 3ft/90cm apart.

Pinch out the growing points after 6 leaves have formed to encourage plants to produce fruiting side shoots. Climbing plants might need tying to vertical supports, particularly as the heavy fruits start to develop.


Make a cucumber frame

Another option for outdoor cucumbers is a cucumber frame.

To make one, stretch wire or netting over a wooden frame and secure it into place using staples or U-shaped nails. Prop the frame up onto an A-frame of bamboo canes. The beauty of this type support is that leafy salads like lettuce may be grown underneath, to take advantage of the shade produced by the cucumbers. This is a clever solution for growing cools season crops in hot climates.


How to harvest cucumbers

Harvest cucumbers when they are still small and tender. Cut them free using a sharp knife or pruners. Pick often to encourage more fruits and if you can harvest in the morning while it’s still cool.

Gherkin varieties are picked very small, 1in/3cm long for crunchy cornichons or 3in/8cm long for larger pickles.


Cucumbers are always welcome, sliced into sandwiches or salads, pickled or dropped into soothing summer drinks; there are many ways to enjoy them.



These are just a few tips and ideas to help you grow your own cucumbers. If you would like to share any tips on how to grow your cucumbers or recipes with us, comment below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page.

Interesting facts about cucumbers

March 1st, 2016 | The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Cucumber Beth Alpha Cucamelons Hanging on the vine cucumbers

Cucumbers were originally found in India around 4000 years ago, and they have since become the fourth most widely cultivated vegetable in the world. China is the largest commercial producer. The species grown for food are Cucumis sativus (cucumber) and Cucumis anguria (West Indian gherkin). The latter is grown in Central America, the West Indies and the southern United States. Its fruits grow to around 6cm long and are usually eaten raw or pickled while immature. In temperate countries such as the UK, cucumbers are grown to maturity in a greenhouse or polytunnel, although ridge cucumbers and our form of gherkin are a little hardier and can be planted outside when danger of frost has passed.

Cucumbers were very popular with all classes of citizens in Ancient Rome, and they remained popular in Italy for several centuries afterwards. The Emperor Tiberius insisted on eating cucumber every day of the year, and it was also used extensively in the medicine of the day.

They have the distinction of being mentioned in The Bible:

We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick. Numbers 11:5.

Cucumbers found their way to England during the 14th century, but were not at all popular. They did become more widely eaten during the 17th century, but they suffered from the erroneous belief that fruit and vegetables were potentially harmful unless cooked, which became widespread in the latter part of the century. The first documented use of the phrase ‘cool as a cucumber’ was in the poem “A New Song”, by John Gay in 1732.

Cucumber is an essential ingredient of the Indian dish raita, where it is mixed with yogurt and seasoning and eaten as an accompaniment to hot dishes. The Greek dish tzatziki is similar to raita. Cucumbers are high in potassium and fibre, and have moderate levels of vitamins A and C, as well as folic acid and magnesium. Cucumbers are made up of 95% water, 3.4% carbohydrates and 0.75 protein.

In these increasing packaging-conscious times, we may wonder why commercial producers sometimes shrink-wrap cucumbers. Research has shown that a wrapped cucumber can last up to three times longer than an unwrapped one. Wrapped it will lose about 1.5% of its weight through evaporation after 14 days, compared with a loss of 3.5% in just three days if left ‘exposed’.

Cucumbers require a fertile, well-drained soil, but do not thrive in one with a low pH (acidic) one. The plants’ root systems are shallow, but wide-spreading. The incorporation of plenty of well-rotted organic matter into the growing medium is beneficial.

As the comedian Ken Dodd once said “What a lovely day for sticking a cucumber through your neighbour’s letterbox and shouting ‘The Martians have landed!'”


To browse all the Cucumbers we have on offer at Mr Fothergill’s just follow these links to the cucumber seeds section or the cucumber young plants section of our website


Royal Horticultural Society


This article was first published on the RHS website February 2016. 

Read more on the RHS website about growing cucumbers successfully.