Cucumbers are edible gourds consumed throughout the world for their crisp texture and taste. Right from their presence in pickles and salads to digestive aids and beauty products, cucumbers have been a truly versatile vegetable. Growing cucumbers in pots is not that difficult as one usually thinks it to be. A favorable climatic condition coupled with a little bit of know-how is all that you need to have your own cucumber crop. Cultivating cucumbers in containers at home have several advantages. Not only are they delicious and convenient, the containers can be moved anywhere in the yard that gets enough sunlight. You can easily control the quality of the soil and move the plant indoors, when the temperature outside is too cold. A few simple steps can help you produce healthy vines growing tall and yielding delicious cucumbers. Read on to know how.
How To Grow Cucumbers In Containers
- A Container, with a diameter of 12 inches (plastic or clay)
- Fiberglass Filter/ Several Layers Of Newspaper, for the bottom of the pot
- Handful Pebbles
- Cucumber Seeds
- Potting Soil, Peat Moss, Compost
- A Staking System (trellis or tepee style is good)
Choosing the Right Cucumber Variety
Cucumber seeds come in different varieties, hence making some better than others, for growing in containers. While purchasing cucumber seeds, check the back of the seed packet whether it is recommended for container use or not. Some cucumber varieties are best suited for pickling, while others are better for eating fresh. For fresh cucumbers, you can get the Salad Bush, as it plants 8-inch cucumbers and grows as short vines. For a pickling variety, go for the Midget Bush Pickler.
Preparing the Pot & Soil
Cucumbers grow in environments with good drainage system. Mix equal parts of potting soil, peat moss and compost. This makes a good, well-draining soil. Your pot should have plenty of drainage holes in the bottom. Place a fiberglass filter on the bottom of the pot to avoid the soil leaking from the holes. Instead of fiberglass filter, you can use several layers of newspapers to line the pot bottom and place an inch-deep layer of pebbles.
Installing a Staking System
Since cucumbers grow on vines, it is important to provide enough support to the vines, enabling them to grow vertically rather than dragging on the ground. Though there are many different staking systems, the best is the tepee system. Place the tepee in the pot before you start off with filling it with soil and planting the cucumbers.
Cucumbers require warmth for germinating, the idle temperature being around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Wait till this temperature is achieved and fill the pot with the soil mixture - 1 inch empty from the top. Sprinkle 5 to 6 seeds in the center and cover up with another ½ inch layer of soil. Water the soil thoroughly.
Water, Food and Sun
Once the plant germinates, cut out the smallest seedlings leaving the strongest two only. When the cucumbers reach 8 inches, have separate pots with one cucumber per pot. The cucumber plant should get around 8 hours of sunlight on a daily basis. Water the plant whenever required. In mid-summers, fertilize the plant weekly after watering with a water-soluble fertilizer. Since cucumbers are sweeter when picked on the smaller side, harvest regularly. The more you harvest, the more cucumbers your plant will yield.