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Growing Cucumbers

How to grow cucumbers in  containers, growbags, garden beds and allotments



Family/Latin Name

Cucurbitaceae - Cucumis sativus

Type of Plant

Fruiting - Crop Rotation Group = Others

Suitable for

Garden Beds, Containers,  Growbags, Allotments, Greenhouse

Pests & Diseases    Companion Plants    In the Kitchen

See also:-  Vegetable Growing Glossary  |    Container Growing  | Buying Seeds & Plants


Plant Dimensions

Height  approx  30cm/12"  - Spread Several metres/feet

Yield Per Plant 10-25 cucumbers depending on variety

Time between sowing and harvesting

12-14 weeks

Sowing time

Greenhouse Varieties

Under Glass - Late February  - Temperature +23C/70F

Outdoors Varieties

Indoors- late April  - temperature    +19C/66F

Outdoors - Late May - June - Temperature +19C/66F

Where to Sow

Indoors in pots of compost 

Outdoors in containers or open ground

Requires very rich, well drained soil/compost

How to Sow

Indoors - 12mm/½" deep on its side -1 per  7.5cm/3" pot 

Outdoors in containers - 2.5cm/1" deep on its side in large  containers at least 30cm/12" wide  or 2 per growbag 

Outdoors in open ground - 3 seeds per station, 5cm/1" deep on their sides at least 45cm/18 inches apart on all sides.

After Germination

Keep well watered but not too wet

Growing on -  in Containers

Harden off indoor sown plants then transplant to large containers  at least 30cm/12" wide for each plant  or 2 per growbag

Growing on -  in Greenhouses

Transplant to large containers at least 30cm/12" wide for each plant or 2 per growbag

Growing on -  in Open ground Remove the 2 weakest seedlings at each station to leave 1 strong seedling.


Outdoor Varieties - Pinch out growing tips after 6 or 7 leaves have developed. This will produce side shoots. These can be left to trail on the ground or trained up netting. Keep very well watered but only water around the plants and feed with liquid fertiliser when the fruits begin to form. 


Greenhouse Varieties - Train the stem up up vertical wires or canes and pinch out the tip once it has reached the roof. Pinch out the tips of any side shoots 2 leaves after a female flower (these have very small cucumbers behind them whereas male flowers are just on stalks). Remove all male flowers as they appear.


Keep very well watered but only water around the plants and feed with liquid fertiliser when the fruits begin to form.


Keep the atmosphere as humid and ventilated as possible. Spraying down the floor helps.


Cut normal cucumbers at 15-20cm/6-8" and gherkin types at  5-7.5cm/2-3". Continual cropping is essential to encourage new more cucumbers to develop. Cropping continues over many weeks.

Pests and Diseases

Companion Plants

Powdery Mildew
Indications Yellow patches on leaves with a greyish mould
Treatment Organic
1. Remove the infected leaves and apply an organic sulphur spray/dust every 7-10 day
2. Spray with a VERY WEAK solution of milk and water  (1 part milk, 9 parts water) weekly
3. Increase humidity - the fungus loves hot dry conditions
 Spray with Dithane (mancozeb), or a multi-purpose fungicide containing myclobutanil,
Prevention Organic
1. Avoid damp or humid sites and overcrowding.
2. Practice crop rotation.
Mosaic Virus and Aphids
Indications Leaves puckered with pale or yellow mottling
Treatment None - destroy all infected plants
Prevention Organic
1. This virus is carried by greenfly. Spray young plants with a weak solution of soapy water as soon as you see aphids.
2. Use water through a hosepipe to knock the aphids off the plants
3. Practice crop rotation
Spray with an insecticide containing Dimethoate  or Pyrethrum
Indications Young leaves are eaten - sometimes completely missing
Treatment Organic
1. Sink small pots filled with beer to ground level. Empty daily
2. Sprinkle slugs with table salt
Use slug pellets
Prevention Avoid very wet sites

 Companion Flower Graphic

Beans, Sweetcorn, Pea, Sunflowers, Radish , nasturtium, marigold


If you know aphids are a problem in your area, grow flowers such as nasturtiums, calendula asters,  dahlias, and zinnias nearby as  they act as a lure.



Create a bio-diverse environment by planting flowers nearby to attract bees, ladybirds and other "friendlies". To learn more about companion planting click here.

In the Kitchen

Storage:  Refrigerate for up to 5 days 

Preparing:  wash in cold water. Cut a thin slice from each end then cut as required. There is no need to peel.

Cooking Cucumbers are generally eaten raw however they can also be battered or bread crumbed and lightly fried.  Gherkin types are excellent pickled.


For more preparation and  information about cucumbers plus lots of  recipes visit our sister site www.recipes4us.co.uk.


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