Cucumbers – Seed to Table

Cucumbers are such a cool treat in the hot summer time.  They seem to cool you down, and replenish you. They are very nutritious as well.  They are full of vitamins A, K, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Calcium and Omega 6.

It is not surprising that cucumbers originated in India as they like the heat. This could be one reason that they do so well in Central Texas. They appeared on the scene in North America in the sixteenth century.

Planting Time

First off you need at least 5 hours of sunlight.  Start with good soil emended with well rotted compost and organic fertilizer and sow your seeds 1/2 to 1 inch deep and in rows 5-6 feet apart. The soil temperature should be at least 50 degrees for the seed to germinate.  If the soil is colder, the seed will rot. The optimum soil temperature is 80 degrees. The seed will not germinate in soil over 100 degrees.  Make sure all danger of frost is passed before you plant your cucumbers.  If you want to get a jump on things you can start you seedlings 3 to 4 weeks before the last average frost date.  Be careful to give your seedlings room though, as cucumbers do not like to be crowded.  The middle eastern cucumbers do exceptionally well in our area.

Keeping In Production

1. Once cucumber start vining, fertilize with an organic fertilizer like Lady Bug All Purpose Fertilizer  or Buds and Blooms

2. Mulch cucumbers as the roots are shallow and they should be kept moist.  Don’t overwater though.  Let the soil  dry out on the top in between watering or you will get fungal diseases.

  1. Cucumber do very well when trellised or caged.

Harvesting and Storage

Make sure to pick cucumbers before they turn yellow.  The standard goes as follows 2 inches long for pickling cucumbers, 4-6 inches long for dills, 6-8 inches for slicing cukes and burpless should be 1-1/2 inches in diameter and up to 10 inches long. Watch your vines carefully as they need picking every two days.

Cucumbers fresh off the vine have a very short shelf life of about 3 days. Keep them in a plastic bag or a tupperware container.  The cucumbers in the store have wax on them to make them store longer.  You can rub some fresh beeswax on them to make them last longer if you wish.  The best way to preserve them is to pickle them.

Pests and Diseases

Aphids

Cucumber Beetle

Pickleworm

Serpentine Leafminer

Sharpshooter

Spider Mites

Squash Vine Borer

Whiteflies

Anthracnose

Angular Leafspot

Bacterial Wilt

Cucumber Mosaic Virus

Cottony Leak

Downy Mildew

Powdery Mildew

Root-Knot Nematodes

Scab

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