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In Barb's Garden

Time to Plant Cucumbers!
by Barb Foster
by Barb Foster


Inspired to nuture, Barb Foster took up gardening over a decade ago. She has a particular passion for this areas hardy perennials.

Barb collects her own seeds, grows seedlings in a greenhouse and has 500 sq ft of growing beds plus numerous perennial flower beds in her Zone 1b garden in Chetwynd, B.C.

Barb writes weekly for the Chetwynd Echo.

April 27, 2009

It is time to plant Cucumbers! The first decision is which seed to purchase. A short season, bush type, slicing cucumber is my preference. I am also growing "English Telegraph" a long European type Cucumber this year.

Here in Chetwynd we need to start cucumbers indoor's. I use foam cups (with a hole punched through the bottoms)or peat pots as starting pots; and a water proof drain pan.

Sterilized potting soil is a good starting medium for Cucumbers. Just push the seed into the soil about a half inch, and water well. Place the tray of pots into a large clear plastic bag with a few holes for venting. Put the tray in a warm spot away from direct sun (the seed may cook in direct sun light). As soon as the seed germinates remove the plastic cover and move the tray into a warm spot in the sunlight. Keep the seedlings well watered but drain off excess water immediately after watering.

When the weather warms, about the first week of June, it would be safe to plant the seedlings outdoors. Before planting out the seedlings will need to be hardened off, do this gradually beginning in mid May, place them in a shady spot sheltered from the wind for an hour while the temperature is above 10 degrees C.. Be sure to bring them back indoors after an hour, then each day (only if the temperature is above 10 degrees C.) leave the cucumber plants out a little longer and gradually move them into full sun, to harden them off by the beginning of June.

A cold frame is very useful for hardening off seedlings. I move my cucumbers to the green house, and plant them in prepared beds, filled with a mixture of top soil, peat moss, and aged manure. If you plan to plant cucumbers in the garden; choose a sunny location, prepare the soil by adding lots of aged organic matter, preheat the soil with a "plastic mulch" (lay clear or black plastic over the soil, pin the plastic down so that it can't be blown away).

When its time to plant, cut a hole in the plastic, and dig a small planting hole. Remove the cucumber seedling carefully from it's pot (it does not like its roots disturbed). I cut the foam cup with shears and remove the pot from the root ball. Some people might like to use peat pots, if you use peat pots be sure the rim is buried below the soil when you plant. Plant the Cucumbers about 12 to 18 inches apart.

A floating row cover of spunbonded polyester fabric would help protect your plants from cool night temperatures, and insects. However the flowers need to be pollinated to produce cucumbers so perhaps the cover would need to be removed for pollination to occur. I hand pollinate my greenhouse cucumbers and tomatoes, with a small paint brush.

Give the cucumbers lots of water and fertilize every two weeks once the plant begins to bloom.

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