Growing cucumbers is a lot easier than you think. Plus homegrown cucumbers are so delicious! Their taste cannot be compared to the cucumbers that are sold in the shops. You can grow cucumbers in a pot if your outdoor space is small.
If you have a sunny sheltered spot, then you have the perfect location for growing cucumbers. Plus lots of water and some nutrient rich compost! I like to start them off indoors as the summer season is short here in the UK.
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Growing Cucumbers from Seeds
I would recommend growing the ‘Marketmore’ variety as it is very reliable, a good cropper and I have grown it every summer for the past few years. Also a great variety if you are growing cucumbers for the first time!
How to sow cucumber seeds indoors
- Take a small clean pot which has holes at the bottom for good water drainage. Fill it with seed sowing compost. I use this compost as it is an ideal texture to hold moisture for the seeds to germinate. However, if you only have multipurpose compost, that will be fine too.
- Use a chopstick or the blunt end of a pencil to make holes that are 1 cm deep.
- Place a seed in each hole – I tend to place from 4-6 seeds in each pot (remember to sow a few more than you need, as not all seeds will germinate)
- Cover each seed up by closing the hole with the compost on the sides.
- Use slightly tepid water to moisten the compost. Try to avoid over watering as it may cause the seeds to rot.
- Use a plastic bag to cover the pot or place in a tray that has a plastic cover – this will help to hold the temperature and humidity.
- Leave the pots or tray in a warm place indoors. I like to leave mine near the boiler in my kitchen. At this stage, I must say the seeds do not need light to germinate.
- Within 7-14 days, you will see little green shoots peeking through the compost. Keep an eye on your pot after 4 days as they could pop up even earlier. Once this happens, you can take the plastic cover off and place them near a bright warm window.
- Water often to keep the compost moist but not soggy wet. I prefer to water them from below – stand your pot in a tray of water for 10 minutes and it should seep up from the drainage holes to the developing roots.
- Once the seedlings have the second set of leaves (true leaves), they are ready for transplanting into their own pots.
Transplanting the seedlings
You will need slightly bigger pots which are clean and some fresh multipurpose compost. Water the seedlings well before you transplant them. This will help the seedlings to be moved easily.
Keep the transplanted seedlings well watered on your bright windowsill indoors.
Growing cucumbers outdoors
Once the danger of frost has gone, which is about mid- May in the UK, you can plant these outdoors after ‘hardening’ the young cucumber plants. This means getting your plants used to the conditions outside by letting them spend daytime outdoors but bringing them in at night. In about a week or so of doing this, they will be ready to be planted outside.
Cucumber plants are easier to grow with some support given to them. I use a handmade frame with some hessian string weaved in it. You can read about this in my Growing Cucumbers Outdoors post. However, you can be more creative or buy supports from your garden centre.
Plant in a sunny position and keep them well watered. Once the cucumber plants start to flower, you can give them a diluted tomato feed or seaweed extract every week. Planting flowers like nasturtiums and marigolds also helps to draw in the bees, which will help with pollination.
Wait for the cucumbers to form and if they detach when you twist them, they are ready to be harvested!
When I have loads, I love to preserve them and this is my tasty Cucumber Pickling Recipe if you’d like to have a go! Of course, fresh cucumbers are so welcome on hot summer days with this refreshing and easy to make cucumber salad!