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If you are a gardener who loves planting all kinds of vegetables and you are looking for a simple way you can grow cucumbers in your garden as the summer planting season is approaching gradually. Then you should consider growing your cucumber on a raised garden bed.
It is the best choice that you can make and you will marvel at the level of productivity of your cucumber planting.
You might be wondering how you can start this type of planting if you are a beginner or even an expert in the field. The processes, the Do’s and Don’ts and many more.
Bearing in mind how much you might be thinking, we have put together 17 Tips for a successful raised bed cucumber planting that will help to make your new planting adventure a success.
Let’s drive in.
Tips For Growing Cucumbers In Raised Garden Beds
As you know, cucumber is regarded as one of the most popular vegetables used in the garden. They can be grown anywhere but preferably when planted in a raised garden bed, it tends to yield more output than other methods.
It grows vertically in either the raised bed or the container which makes it stand out among others.
Let’s take a quick scroll through the 17 Tips that you must bear in mind as you are growing cucumbers in the summer season.
1. Look For A Quality Raised Bed
The first thing that every gardener must consider before starting any agricultural plan is to source the right quality product.
You have to consider the type of material that is made with it and the one that suits your taste. Among all the materials, the untreated wood raised bed is the first choice though cedarwood materials are also exceptionally good as it has a high resistance to wet conditions.
You can also opt for the use of a galvanized metal garden as it has good holes on the bottom. You should also avoid materials that can leach toxins into your soil as they can cause great damage to your cucumber.
There are some other basic growing things that you must look out for while getting a new raised garden. They include:
A. Raised Bed Size
You must ensure that the size is up to 4 feet and another benefit of raised beds is loose, well-aerated soil. So, if you step into the bed to reach your cucumbers, you will compact the soil around your foot.
B. Raised Bed Depth
Most raised beds provide you with enough room for a soil depth of 12 inches-18 inches and in this type of soil, cucumbers thrive much better.
2. Pick The Right Variety
There are two main varieties of cucumber that you can plant in your raised garden bed. They include slicing and pickling cucumbers and also vining and bushing.
Vining cucumbers are those varieties that send out sprawling vines from the main stem that is used to meander up fences, trellises, and stakes.
Its shoots grow up to 15 feet long. This is the best type of cucumber that you can plant, especially if you have enough space or if your raised bed is kept in a strategic place that is close to the fence.
Furthermore, you can try out the bushing variety. It grows compactly upright. It is a popular choice especially if you have smaller raised or elevated beds as they are very easy to control.
Apart from the above species, there are so many different cucumbers to choose from which are also very good with great recommendations if you are seeking to try them as well.
You can browse and check out the Just Cart Spacemaster Bush Pickle, the Straight Eight, or the Boston Pickling Cucumber. Decide on which one to pick and plant.
3. Pick A Disease Resistant Varieties
Cucumbers usually face the infestation of pests and diseases. So, you should select a variety of cucumbers that has a high level of pest/disease resistance.
Most of the pests and diseases include bacterial wilt which is usually circulated on the cucumber plant by beetles. It can also be affected by a disease called the mosaic virus.
To remedy these issues whenever it arises you have to start with healthy plants and avoid watering your plant unnecessarily.
You can control the bacteria wilt through rotation and removing the affected areas. Once the mosaic virus infects plants, there are no defensive measures. So do well to prevent the transmission but in a case whereby the disease is not manageable, you can request for a permit.
Furthermore, You can search most seed sites for disease-resistant cucumbers and choose the types of diseases that are most common in your area.
4. Invest In High-Quality Soil
Not all soil is compatible with any type of cucumber plant. They are heavy feeders and require organically rich, fertile, well-draining soil to thrive. They enjoy slightly acidic soil that has a good pH between 5.5 and 7.
For a better result, it’s good to check out the soil before planting to see where things are. If you find your soil is too alkaline, then add a soil acidifier at the same time as your compost.
To help prepare your raised bed, start with rich, loamy outdoor potting soil. Sort About a month before planting, amend your soil with compost, gently digging it in.
Read more: Can You Freeze Cucumbers?
5. Avoid Early Planting
Cucumbers are a warm-season crop which shouldn’t be planted in any frost. Just like tomatoes and bell peppers, it’s advisable to wait until night-time temperatures are consistently above 55 degrees as they tend to thrive better in soil with a temperature above 70 degrees. Doing so will help to ensure that the soil temperatures are warm enough for the cucumbers.
Furthermore, the soil in raised beds is typically warmer than the soil in the ground. This means that you can plant your cucumbers a little earlier in the season. All you have to do is to install the cucumber plants early and also install a floating row that will cover your raised bed to keep the young seedlings protected.
6. Practice Crop Rotation
Crop rotation is very important, especially for a plant that is constantly faced with pests and diseases. It can also help to reduce soil-borne diseases from attacking plants yearly.
Also, try to avoid planting cucumber plants in soil that was used to grow other cucurbits. The best step to take is to plant other types of vegetables there and relocate your cucumbers to another site.
However, if you have a single raised bed, I will highly recommend that you use a large container with a trellis to plant your cucumbers in years to come. If you have multiple beds, planning a simple crop rotation should work fine.
7. Plant Your Seed In Your Raised Bed
Cucumbers from a nursery tend to grow better when planted in your raised bed.
Like other cucurbits, cucumbers don’t like to have their roots disturbed, which makes them tricky to transplant. They are extremely easy to grow from seed and you will likely see germination within 5-10 days depending on the variety that you purchased.
Do well to plant 2-3 cucumber seeds about 1 inch below the surface of the soil, spacing the plantings 18-36 apart. Afterwards, cover the seeds with soil, and press down lightly with your fingers. Lightly mist the top of the soil with a spray bottle or a very low-flow hose.
Please note that you don’t need to pour water over the top of the plant or use a hard spray attachment over newly placed seeds since it can wash them away or force them too far under the soil. Rather you can place seed markers at the plant sites so you don’t forget what you planted.
When the seedlings are about 3 inches tall and have 2 sets of true leaves, thin out extra plants, leaving only one per hole.
To effectively do this, use a scissor to snip them off at the soil level and avoid pulling them out.
8. Plant Your Cucumber In A Sunny Location
Cucumbers need to be planted in an area that receives full sunlight for at least 6 hours daily. Though at times, 8-10 hours of sun is mostly preferred as it helps to maximize fruit production.
If you are residing in the southern part of the country, it is the perfect place where sun-loving vegetables such as cucumbers can be planted since there is always enough sunlight. They can also do well in the Eastern part.
Inadequate sunlight can cause stunted growth in the plant as well as other problems that might arise. So before you start, ensure that your garden is positioned to the east and south.
If your garden is located only to the east, it will lead to the hottest of your plant so therefore to remedy this, you have to introduce a little shade with your plantings.
You can do this by planting a taller plant like dill or sunflowers near your cucumbers, or by installing a floating row cover in your bed. This will allow plenty of light to reach your plants while protecting them from the harshest rays.
9. Adequate Water Supply
The cucumber is a very water-thirsty plant which requires 1 inch of water per week and more watering during the summer heat.
To avoid watering above the expected range which will lead to the drowning of your cucumber plant. You can control the water volume by using the drip irrigation system to water your plant.
However, if you decide to water by hand, then I will recommend that you water the soil around your cucumber plant and avoid the leaves. You should water early in the day as it will allow the leaves to have enough time to dry up before nightfall.
If you decide to water later in the day, it will cause the leaves to stay wet overnight which will cause the plant to weaken as a result of the diseases which have glue to it.
If you ever notice any yellowish spot on your leaves, decay, or your plant not producing the quality of fruit you anticipated it. Then it is a clear indication that you are overwatering your plant or the rainfall is affecting it as well. So do the needful.
10. Mulch Your Soil
As a gardener, you must know that mulching plants are inevitable as it is an important aspect when it comes to gardening.
Just like every plant needs mulching, the cucumber plant needs it too. Through mulching, it helps to protect against excessive heat, helping the soil to retain its moisture, preventing the spread of fungal diseases through splashing water and preventing weeds.
You can treat your plant with the use of organic materials or herbicides/Insecticides.
11. Weed Regularly
Cucumbers, like most vegetables, enjoy the overgrowth of the weed surrounding them.
Weeds are most caused by overcrowding and airflow issues, steal vital nutrients from your plant, and attract pests and diseases such as Mosaic virus, cucumber beetle and bacteria wilt.
To avoid the appearance of weeds, you can source various weed barriers such as nasturtiums, marigolds, chives, and basil. You should plant them around your cucumber plant and you will also enjoy the extra benefits of controlling the appearance of pests.
12. Fertilize Your Plant
Every plant needs to be fertilized at some point and failure to do so always attracts some deformity.
So, if you notice that your cucumber vines are looking pale green or yellow, especially the older leaves, then they may need a nutritional boost. All you need to do is add rich compost to your soil, a moderate amount of nitrogen, and higher levels of phosphorus and potassium to optimize fruit production.
You can also search for any portion of organic plant food with the first number lower than the last two such as 3-4-6.
You have to be careful of the amount of fertilizer that you put in the soil as too much nitrogen will seriously cause your plant to have excessive leaf growth and less fruit production.
If at any point you observe that your plant is struggling to keep growing, then stop feeding it with nitrogen rather feed it with liquid fertilisation for a short period of one month.
13. Grow Your Cucumber Vertically
Due to the high risk of growing your cucumber vines on the ground which has always caused your plant to be infested by pests and diseases and also the low fruit production of your plant. That’s why you should grow your plant vertically.
Place your raised bed against a fence and build a trellis which you must install. If your beds are located anywhere other than against a fence, you’ll need to look into installing a trellis for your cucumbers.
A trellis is a frame that helps cucumber plants grow vertically. You can use a lot of things as a trellis but as a result of the material quality, it makes the idea match for this plant. It will help your plant to grow as it should while keeping it away from pests and increasing its productivity.
You can purchase the premade trellis systems from your local garden centre, or you can make your own. You can also try out other methods by adding wood or PVC pipe to your frame and filling the space with chicken wire.
14. Monitor Cucumber Pollination
A lot of garden plants are self-pollinating, meaning that the flowers have both male and female parts. Some of those plants include tomatoes and peppers. But cucumbers on the other hand have male and female flowers.
For the plant to set fruit, a pollinator has to take pollen from the male flower and place it inside a female flower. The fruit then develops from the female flower. The male flower will close and fall off after a few days.
Cucumber plants tend to produce a lot of male flowers days before the first female flower appears, though it usually happens by design. The flowers are meant to attract a lot of pollinators so they are already in the area once the first female flowers open up.
Please note that male and female flowers are easy to stay apart. Male flowers bloom in clusters of 3-5 and fall off the plant after pollination. Female flowers bloom by themselves, one per stem, have an ovary at the centre, and will develop a small fruit at the base of the stem after pollination.
To know that your plant has pollinated, you will notice that after the flower has been pollinated, it will begin to wilt. If it’s a male flower, it will dry up and fall off the plant. However, if it’s female, the flower will dry up as the fruit behind it begins to form.
So, if you start noticing that your flowers aren’t wilting, it means they aren’t being pollinated and may need a little help. This can happen when not enough pollinators are visiting your plants. If your raised beds are set apart from other flowering plants, this could be the cause. So ensure that you plant your cucumber in a place where there are a lot of pollinators.
15. Pests And Diseases
As cucumbers are mostly infected by pests and diseases. You must look out for the signs and deal with them immediately. Examine the leaves, and the plant itself and look for small pests such as aphids, ants or cucumber beetles as well as bacterial wilt diseases.
Let’s look at each of these expected infestations.
A. Cucumber Beetles And Bacterial Wilt
Cucumber beetles are the most common pest you are likely to come across as they love feasting on the cucumber plant.
There are two different varieties of cucumber beetles which are the spotted and the striped beetles.
The spotted beetle looks a bit like an off-coloured ladybug. The adult beetles feed on leaves and flowers, while larvae feed on the plant roots. They’re good pollinators but they tend to cause bacterial wilt, which is fatal to your cucumbers.
The first sign of infection is you will notice your cucumber looking wilted, with dead vines and drying leaves seemingly overnight. To get rid of this pest, you have to cut off the affected stem at the base. You can administer pesticides or introduce beneficial pests that feed off such pests.
B. Cucumber Diseases
Cucumber diseases like powdery mildew, downy mildew, and mosaic virus are the major diseases that you face while growing your cucumber.
All you need to do is prevent the infestations of these diseases by taking the necessary actions.
Practising companion planting is one of the best ways to avoid such occurrences. It will help to starve off the diseases in your cucumber plants.
Also, ensure that the leaves are constantly dry. That’s why you need to know the right techniques for watering the cucumber as it will go a long way in preventing fungal diseases.
You can also treat the infected plant with organic fungicides but make sure that you carefully read the directions and apply as directed.
16. Practice Companion Planting
Companion planting is important for pollinator attraction, pest management, disease prevention, and flavour enhancement of the core crop.
Below are some of the plants that you can plant alongside the cucumber plants.
A. Corn And Sunflowers
Planting corn and sunflowers with your cucumbers can be incredibly beneficial as these tall plants will help to provide a natural trellis for your cucumbers to climb up, but they also offer shade protection in the hottest parts of the day.
This is beneficial to nearby plants especially heavy-feeding cucumbers as it provides them with vital nutrients. They have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil-dwelling bacteria.
These bacteria take nitrogen from the air in the soil and feed it to the roots of the legumes. In exchange, the plant provides carbohydrates to the bacteria and any of the nitrogen not used by the legume is released into the nearby soil.
Most fragrant herbs help to deter pests from your cucumber plants. So, choose only one or two of these herb plants and plant them close to your cucumber. Some of them include:
Borage is a flowering herb that pollinators and predatory insects swarm to. it will go a long way toward both natural pest control and natural pollination once your cucumber flowers start to bloom.
Dill is another great herb to have in your garden if you plan to make pickles this year. It has a strong smell that can repel pests like cucumbers and flea beetles.
c. Garlic Chives
Another one of my favourites, the sulfur compounds deter aphids and come back year after year. These are also great to add to your cooking wherever a light onion flavour is needed.
This is a strong-smelling herb with an established reputation for repelling pests. But while using it, you have to keep in mind that you will need to cut back your oregano in a raised bed since the plant is a fast-growing perennial.
Flowers are incredibly important to encourage pollinators to check out your cucumber plants. Planting flowers naturally in your area can help this as well. But if you’re looking for some tried and true flower helpers, check out marigolds and nasturtiums.
French marigolds especially act as a trap plant and will attract pests like whiteflies and aphids away from your cucumbers. You’ll need to plant these several weeks ahead of your cucumbers for them to be large enough to make a difference.
Nasturtiums attract pollinators, and predatory insects, and act as a trap plant specifically for aphids. When planted near your cucumbers, they can also help enhance the vegetable’s flavour, vigour, and growth rate.
17. Regular Harvesting
Cucumber plants are always more productive if they are harvested frequently and very early during the harvesting period.
So, if your cucumbers are ready to be harvested, it is best advised to pick the slicing cucumbers when they are roughly six inches long while you can harvest the pickling cucumbers when they are about 3 inches.
Also, don’t allow your cucumbers to get too big as they will stop growing since the soil will feel that it’s finished. If you have large cucumbers, you will notice that they will be bitter, so it is much better if you harvest your cucumber when it is smaller to avoid loss, especially if you are harvesting your cucumber for sale.
Harvesting is an area where raised beds help out as it will make it much easier for you. But before commencing your harvesting, it is important to be careful especially if you are a gardener with very sensitive skin. You need to protect your hands from the spiny that is mostly on a fully ripped cucumber and if not picked with care, it might irritate your skin/fingers. I will recommend that you get a gardening hand glove and wear them while harvesting the fruits.
Meanwhile, if you have already gotten a spiny or any form of irritation on your finger, you can remove them by simply rubbing them under cold water and you will feel relieved.
1. What Makes Cucumbers Grow Better?
Cucumbers thrive best at relatively high temperatures, between 75 to 85 degrees.
Also, as it is a quick-growing crop, it must be well supplied with moisture and plant nutrients throughout the growing season.
Water is also a very indispensable factor when planting cucumbers, mostly in the fruiting stage.
2. What Are The Top Tips For Growing Cucumbers?
The top tips for growing healthy cucumbers include:
A. Keeping them moist, not wet, so little and often is best.
B. You must care for the plant by feeding your cucumber plants with a high-nitrogen feed every two weeks.
C. You must expose the plants to sunlight, but best in mind that it is prone to scorching, so some shade is preferable.
D. You can also encourage greenhouse varieties to climb to boost yields.
3. How Many Cucumbers Will One Plant Produce?
A healthy cucumber plant can be expected to produce 10 large cukes or 15 small ones within a harvest period of about three weeks.
4. How Many Weeks Before Transplanting The Cucumber?
Cucumber seedlings should be transplanted 3 weeks after germination which is a couple of weeks after the last frost when the nighttime soil temperature stays above 55 degrees consistently.
Start hardening off the cucumber seedlings one week before transplanting them by taking them outdoors and exposing them to sunlight.
Engaging in a raised garden bed gardening is the ideal choice especially if you are considering planting cucumbers during the summer.
With just a little bit of care and knowing the basic things about how best to grow your cucumber, rest assured that you will have an enjoyable fresh agricultural product as well as an interesting planting experience.
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