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The cucumber is one of the most widely grown vine plants that bears one of the most widely consumed vegetables in the world, the cucumber. There are three popular varieties of the cucumber: pickling, slicing, and the seedless cucumber.
The cucumber is native to South Asia, but now it is widely cultivated in many parts of the world. Various different types of cucumbers are cultivated on different continents.
If you like growing vegetables and fruits in your own garden, you should definitely consider growing cucumbers as well. Many people plant cucumbers because they are relatively easy to care for.
Cucumbers are rich in water and are generally quite nutritious. They are the main ingredient used in different kinds of salads and can also be used as an eye mask.
However, many people who grow cucumber plants tend to make some common mistakes that affect the growth of the plant. Before we talk about how to grow cucumbers properly, it’s important that you eliminate the following mistakes so that your cucumbers can take root and grow in a steady fashion.
1 – Planting Too Early
One of the most common mistakes that people tend to make is that they plant the cucumber too early. You should know that the cucumber plant generally does really well in the hotter months. It also needs a lot of sunshine to grow properly.
Ideally, you should plant the cucumber seeds after giving a break of two weeks since the last frost date. You have to understand that these plants are incredibly sensitive to frost damage, and don’t do well with the cold.
To allow for germination, the soil needs to be at least 70 degrees F. Furthermore, as mentioned above, these plants need a great deal of sunlight, so it’s important that you plant the cucumber in an area where it will receive a full day’s worth of sun.
If you want, you can also start growing your cucumber seeds in an indoor garden a few weeks earlier, especially if you are able to control the temperature. The best thing to do is place the seeds atop a water heater so that they are able to get the heat from the bottom.
2 – Not Paying Attention to Soil pH Values
Cucumbers tend to grow very quickly in soil that is generally neutral or has a slight alkaline soil rating. If the pH value is around 7.0, the soil is perfect for cucumber growth.
Experts also recommend that you mix in compost or aged manure in your soil. Ideally, you should mix it all the way until it is six to eight inches deep.
Remember, when preparing the soil, you have to make sure that it remains moist. It should not be soggy at all, as that is a problem. When planting the seedlings, you should make sure that they are at least one inch deep.
Also, when spacing out the seedlings, you should make sure that they are at least 40 inches apart. The gap should not be more than 60 inches, however.
If you are growing the cucumber vine on a trellis frame, you should make sure that the distance is not more than a foot. This is a common mistake that many people make when growing cucumbers, and it’s one that you should absolutely avoid.
3 – Watering Errors
Cucumbers, as you might know, are full of water. The plant also needs a great deal of water to grow properly. As mentioned, the plant needs a moist soil at all stages of its growth, but the soil should not be waterlogged or soggy.
When watering the cucumber, you have to make sure that you carefully insert a finger in the soil to check whether it is moist or not.
If the soil is waterlogged, you will want to avoid watering for a little bit of time until the soil drains out before you add water again. Letting the soil dry out is one of the main reasons that will hinder the growth of your plant.
If you are not regularly watering the plants, not only will it hinder the growth of your plant, but the quality of the cucumbers produced will suffer as well. You can say goodbye to those juicy cucumbers, and worse still, the taste of the cucumbers produced will also be quite bitter.
The plant generally requires at least one inch of water a week. The best way to check it is by inserting your finger into the soil and seeing if it is dry past the first joint of your finger.
One of the best things that you can do is water the cucumber with the help of a soaker hose. Soaker hoses are going to ensure that the leaves remain firmly dry and the plant won’t fall prey to diseases over time as well.
Most people don’t get this, but waterlogged soil is basically an open invitation to pests that will eventually destroy your cucumber. They are going to eat the leaves and infest the fruits of the plant, causing irreparable damage in the long run.
4 – Planting in a Small Area
Another common mistake that people make with cucumber plants is that they add them into a relatively small and confined space. While most of the varieties of cucumber tend to grow on vines, you don’t really need to provide a lot of space.
If you do not have a spacious yard, you can simply install a trellis frame and get started on the planting. The trellis doesn’t just save a great deal of space, but it also protects your cucumber plants from any long-term damage.
Instead of growing them on the floor in a tiny garden space, you should consider installing a trellis frame or adding support for the vines. In fact, many talented gardeners are also able to grow these plants in hanging baskets, though don’t expect much fruit as a result.
Instead, you need to revise your gardening practices and opt for a trellis to save space.
This is out of your control, but it’s important for you to evaluate the weather conditions when planting the cucumber. Weather conditions play a critical role in the way cucumber plants grow.
If the air temperature falls below 65 degrees F, your cucumber plants are going to be in danger. Frost causes serious damage to your cucumber plants and is likely to reduce the growth of your plant.
There’s also a risk of frost killing the plant permanently. If there is a frost forecast in your area, you might want to add some floating on top. This offers protection and will ensure that your plant continues to grow in a safe and secure fashion.
On the other hand, while the plant likes moisture, you should know that it does not do well in temperatures higher than the mid-90s F. Adding shade cloths is a wise idea, as they will also block a majority of the sunlight that filters through during the afternoon.
These are just some of the mistakes that people make that prevent the cucumber plant from growing. Make sure you avoid these errors!