Growing cucumber can be very easy and rewarding if you have little bit knowledge about them. The cucumber first originated in India and then spread across the world. It is closely related to squash.
The best time to sow the seed is in late spring or early summer. Although cucumber is a fruit of the warmer time, it is very critical to control the temperature so that the temperature could not rise above 90 degrees. If you are growing cucumber in a hot climate it is recommended to provide afternoon shade to cool down. You can use companion planting or you can provide shade cloth of your own.
Plant cucumber near radishes, marigold or dills. It has a mutually beneficial effect. It is called companion planting. Don’t plant the cucumber near tomato or sage it will have the reverse action.
Cucumber seeds do best in the soil temperature of 70 degrees and a pH of 6.5. Provide ample space (2-3 ft) between two plants. They grow very fast so you need to give space to do so.
As we all know cucumber is a watery fruit, you need to provide the plant with plenty of water particularly at the time of fruiting. If the plants do not get the sufficient water during this growth phase they will result in bitter tasting fruit. They need at least 1 or 2 inches of water every week. Check out these water giving tips before moving forward. You can provide mulch(such as straw) cover also so that the water remains in the soil.
It is necessary to keep your plant in a place where it gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Lack of sunlight can be devastating for cucumbers. For detailed Impact of sunlight on plants check this blog.
Put some trellis so that your plant can climb upwards. It also protects the fruit from laying in the moist soil.
Cucumber plant is a voracious feeder. Make sure to enrich the soil with a good amount of compost or manure. The plant needs nitrogen and phosphorus in heavy quantities. The lack of which can result in yellowish leaves. Make sure to use nitrogen and phosphorus-rich components in your compost or manure.
A healthy bee population nearby can greatly increase the pollination process for cucumbers.
The best time to pick the fruit is before their seeds become hard and before full maturity. If you let them too long in the vines it will get yellow with tougher skin and will not taste good. The best quality cucumber is uniformly green, crisp and firm. Leaving too long in the vines can also result in low productivity of the plant.
Cucumber contains 90% water. So it is very important to retain the moisture while storing. It is good to wrap those in plastic wrappers while storing. You can also store them in a refrigerator for 10 days.
Cucumber is not only good for eating you can also use these as facial during summer time for toning of the skin.
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