One of the most commonly grown crops in backyard vegetable gardens is none other than cucumbers. Despite their popularity, many gardeners are unaware of how much space cucumbers actually need to grow. Cucumbers are known to grow in any the direction they please, so can be difficult to determine how much space each plant really needs.
So how much space do cucumbers need? Cucumber plants will require a space measuring 4 feet long by 2 feet wide. Cucumbers require a lot of space because their vines like to grow outward and without adequate spacing, cucumber plants become overcrowded and therefore susceptible to diseases such as powdery mildew.
Overall, cucumbers need a lot of space to grow. However, if space is a concern, there are some ways to minimize the area cucumbers grow in while still maintaining adequate space for each plant to properly grow.
Growing Cucumbers on Trellises to Save Space:
As stated earlier, cucumbers like to occupy a lot of space when growing. However, cucumbers don’t have to take up copious amounts of space in the garden when they are growing upwards. This is where a trellis comes into play. A trellis is a framework of bars that are used to support plants that like to grow upwards.
While cucumbers are commonly grown on open flat soil, they have no issue growing upwards on a trellis. By using a trellis, the cucumber plant will be encouraged to grow upwards and latch onto the bars of the trellis. As a result, this will free up a significant amount of space in your garden to grow other vegetables.
Another advantage of using a trellis to grow cucumbers is the convenience it provides when harvesting the cucumbers. When the cucumber plant starts to produce cucumbers, the cucumbers will often hang off the bars of the trellis making it super easy and convenient to harvest cucumbers growing on the vines. Say goodbye to squatting down in the garden to pick out your cucumbers as the trellis makes harvesting them a breeze!
Selecting smaller Cucumber varieties:
Another great way to save space when growing cucumbers is by selecting smaller cucumber plant varieties. By selecting smaller cucumber varieties, you can minimize the overcrowding of your cucumbers before you even plant them.
One such variety of cucumber that doesn’t take up a lot of space is called the bush slicer cucumber. This variety of cucumber plant is actually well suited to grow in a container rather than in a garden bed. Instead of lengthy vines that grow all over your garden, bush slicer cucumbers produce shorter vines that are more clustered together like a bush; hence the name “Bush” slicer cucumber. Another bonus of bush slicer cucumbers is that they are resistant to many common cucumber diseases like powdery mildew and cucumber mosaic virus.
Pruning Your Cucumber Vines:
The Vines of a cucumber plant can and will grow out wherever they can. As a result, your cucumber plants will eventually take up too much space and begin to choke out other plants within the garden. This is why it’s important to prune your cucumber vines when growing cucumbers in a limited amount of space.
So how do you determine which cucumber vines to prune? Select secondary vines that shoot off from the main vine of the cucumber plant and prune them. These secondary vines will draw energy away from the main vine as they grow and will produce smaller leaves as well as smaller cucumbers.
Some secondary vines are okay to have on your cucumber plant however, when they begin to grow out of control and invade other plant’s growing space, they should be pruned. In addition, cucumber flowers that bloom when the plant is still young should be pruned as the plant lacks the energy to produce an adequately size cucumber at that point. By pruning flowers early on in the season, you will allow your cucumber plant to produce larger cucumbers later on in the growing season.
Another part of the plant to consider pruning are leaves that shows signs of disease. Whenever you spot a cucumber leaf that is discolored or mottled, it is important to prune said leaf as it had been infected with a disease. Pruning diseased leaves will prevent the disease from spreading to other parts of the cucumber vine.
How much Sunlight Do Cucumbers Need? Cucumbers need 7 to 9 hours of full sunlight each day. Therefore, it would be best to plant your cucumber plants in an area that gets full sun and isn’t in the way of any shadows. Cucumbers that receive insufficient sunlight will bare fewer fruits and the ones that do set will be significantly smaller in size.
How much water do Cucumbers Need? Cucumbers need 1 to 2 inches of water every week. Cucumbers like soil that is moist however, not soaking wet. When watering your cucumbers, consistency is the key.
Why are my cucumber plants turning Yellow? The leaves of a cucumber plant will turn yellow as a result of cucumber mosaic virus. This virus is spread by insects like cucumber beetles and aphids. There is no cure for cucumber mosaic virus however; pruning infected leaves can help prevent the spread of the virus.