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Growing Great Cucumbers

veggies warm season gardening Mar 19, 2024


Having cucumbers in your garden invites you into a world where your kitchen garden becomes a source of endless salads, pickles, and snacks.  How many times have you picked up a summer recipe only to find that the one ingredient that you are missing is a crisp, delicious cucumber?  Not this summer!  No ma'am! 



You may be thinking, I do not have room for one more thing in my garden!  My beds are planted and I've heard cucumbers take up so much room! Well, I've got some good news for you.  Cucumbers are the perfect spring and summer crop to grow vertically.  Do you have an arch that is empty? Maybe a trellis you bought but never knew what what to grow on it? Maybe you plan to plant melons this summer, but have some empty space now?  Cucumbers are the perfect vegetable to grow vertically.  Not only does it save you valuable space in the garden, but it adds a whimsical feel to any garden space.  You won't regret it! We even have a whole course called Growing Gardens Vertically if you are venturing into the vertical growing game for the first time! 



I grow cucumbers in my garden every year,  and I can't imagine a spring and summer garden without them.  Not only are cucumbers fairly simple to grow, they are incredibly versatile and can be transformed into a variety of dishes and refreshing drinks that take me back to my childhood. Growing up during the warm season, there were almost always cucumbers on our supper table.  Sometimes, it was just a bowl of sliced cucumbers.  Sometimes, it was a simple cucumber salad, you know the kind.  Sliced cucumbers with a little bif of vinegar, some salt, maybe an onion or tomato added if we had it.  And, as I got a little older, I developed a love for a good cucumber sandwich.  Again, deliciously simple, and so perfect for a garden party!  Made with cream cheese, a sliced cucumber, and a little bit of dill, on a yummy slice of soft white bread this finger sandwich does not disappoint. And don't forget pickles!  Check out this blog post all about pickling cucumbers.  You will be amazed at how easy these recipes are, and you might just end up with a steady batch of refrigerator pickles all summer long!  For me though, Tzatziki Sauce, cucumber cocktails, and tabouleh are the top of my list of things I love to to make with my cucumbers.  Cucumbers are more than just a pretty face in the garden. They are a staple.  And you NEED to grow them!  



If you are headed to the nursery looking for some plants, maybe even be feeling extra brave and have decided that you are going to grow cucumbers by seed (you totally can btw), I have some things to make sure that you know first.  Did you know that Team Wild Child is made up of a group of homeschool mommas?  It's true.  I homeschooled my daughters all the way through to graduation, Lindsey (Wild Child Community Manager) homeschools her 4 kiddos, and Shauna (Wild Child Program Coordinator) homeschools her son too.  So you better believe that when we set our minds to doing something, we will be putting in the work on the research.  


I have spent the last year compiling data, reading everything I can find, talking to our Garden Club members, and experimenting in my own garden.  And this is what I have come up with. You can grow cucumbers in your garden starting in the spring, and going all the way to the first frost; If you have a plan!  And to get a plan, you need to know three things. 


Know The Types of Cucumbers

Cucumbers can be open-pollinating, self-pollinating, parthenocarpic, etc.  All of this is translated to a more simple idea..."how are the pollinated."  And we need to know this.  It is so important because growing the right types at the right time is key to your success.  


Know the Heat Tolerance of Cucumbers

Most cucumbers love the early spring and early fall temps in our zone 9 gardens, but there are some that will keep right on trucking through the heat of summer.  This is good information to know because as your more cool loving varieties give out, you can keep the cucumbers coming by simply adding some heat lovers in their place.  


Know How To Deal With The Pests 

Cucumber pests are inevitable.  The most concerning is the cucumber beetle.  They are not only annoying, but also devastating to your cucumber, melon, and squash harvests. It is not so much because of what they do (they feast on the flowers) but more because of what they carry.  They carry lots of viruses and diseases, most commonly known are mosaic virus and bacterial wilt.  I don't how how else to say this.  This is a non-negotiable.  They cannot stay in the garden, no matter how cute they are.  They have to go.  They are not yellow lady bugs. They are actually very harmful and carry diseases that can destroy your garden for years.



So what do we do.  Chemical pesticides do not work and should not be used on cucumber beetles (or on any pest in your garden) as they destroy the living ecosystem that is so important to your garden's success.  The goal to eliminate the cucumber beetle is to disrupt their life cycle.  And in my course Growing Great Cucumbers I am going to teach you exactly how to do that!  If you are already a member of the Wild Child Garden Club, the entire course library is available to you as part of your membership, and this class is in your library.  You can also purchase this class HERE.  This is a brand new course, and it is so good!   That is because the key to great cucumbers is simple.  You have to know what kind of cucumbers to grow at what time, you have to know how to work with the heat of summer, and you have to know how to deal with the pests of these southern summer staples!!  But this is often so misunderstood or worse, completely overlooked.  In Growing Great Cucumbers, I will break down all the different types of cucumbers out there, which ones work best for spring, summer, and fall in our zone 9 climate, and exactly how to plant them in your garden!  And we will talk in depth about the dreaded pest the cucumber beetle and exactly how to get rid of them! You will leave this course feeling confident that you are ready to grow great cucumbers in your kitchen garden.  And you will be enjoying cucumbers with your family before you know it!  I hope to see lots of cucumbers in your garden this season.


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