I'm new to gardening and I am growing cucumbers for the 1st time. I would like to know if it is advisable to have the cucumbers on the ground. The vines are growing out of control, should I stake them like tomatoes?
WINDELLA from Pasadena, CA
Welcome to the wonderful world of gardening! It sounds as though you're on your way to your first successful crop of cucumbers. Congratulations! A smart gardener once asked, "Why grow horizontally when you can grow vertically?" This is especially true of crops like tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and pole beans. They tend to sprawl and use up a great deal of what is usually already limited garden space. There are also a number of advantages to using trellises, fences, stakes, and cages. Not only do they keep vegetables up off the ground, making them less susceptible to insect damage and many plant diseases, but they allow your vegetables to develop evenly while maximizing space. Support materials can consist of wood, extra stakes, twine, string, nylon stockings, or a nearby fences. Many gardeners prefer a tee pee shaped support that allows the fruits to hang freely in the center while the vines climbs up the sides to capture the sun. As container gardening gains popularity, many new varieties of cucumbers are being bred for their ability to climb and all varieties are easily trained once you get them headed up a support. Staking also allows the fruit to grow straighter and makes seeing the cucumbers at harvest time much easier.
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I did tie my tomatoes and cucumbers to a nylon trellis that I made. I am hoping that they will grow to be tall and produce LOTS of cukes!!
I grow my cucumbers in a wire cage. It is made out of fencing wire and about three feet around. Cucumbers usually just grow on the ground and take over whatever they want. This way, they are confined a little. I just keep putting the runners back inside the cage when they grow out. The trellis idea is interesting.
CUCUMBERS DO VERY WELL OFF THE GROUND. I'VE GROWN THEM AGAINST FENCES AND ON TRELLIS'. IT KEEPS THE CUKES CLEANER AND STRAIGHTER AND SEEM TO HAVE LESS TROUBLE WITH POWDERY MILDEW. IF THEY ARE TOO OUT OF HAND ALREADY, TRY TO STUFF SOME MULCH LIKE STRAW OR NEWSPAPER UNDER THE VINES SO THEY STAY OFF THE GROUND. NOTE: MOLDY HAY MIGHT HAVE POWDERY MILDEW SO IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED.
I just used regular tomato cages and ran the vines through the spokes. So far, so good! I think you don't want them on the ground if you can help it. They could get moldy.
All great ideas, but remember cucumbers are heavy feeders so be sure to feed them often. I use a weak solution of miracle grow or the generic/store brand weekly and this year I have gotten more cucumbers than ever.
i HAVE TRIED SOMETHING NEW!!! i HAVE STARTED GROWING CUKES NEXT TO SUNFLOWERS.i LEAD THE CUKES UP THE PLANTi HAVE ALSO USED THEM AND CORN FOR FOR staking pole beans!!!!
TWO CROPS ONE SPACE!!
You have to make a trellis, here's a picture of mine. There are 3 in this picture, in the foreground and to the right are for cucumbers, the one far behind is for catalopes. Under the big one in front I have 9 plants, for the small one I have 4 plants. For the melon trellis I have 3 plants. When you have limited space you have to grow upward, not outward. Inside the PVC are 5 ft. long stakes so this will be very sturdy. I had this PVC for another project that was destroyed by a storm, so I was fortunate to have it laying around but sturdy wood stakes would suffice. The 4' x 4' raised beds are not nessecary for the cucumbers, it just happens that I grow some in raised beds. Tomato cages will not work.
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