For saving space and soil, this method also has several
other benefits, including no soil-borne diseases, no
weeds to pull and no soil to till, run-of-the-mill side
benefits of soil-less gardening.

Growing Cucumbers From Seeds In The Greenhouse Or Outdoors

As most of the salad vegetables cucumbers taste best when they are freshly picked from the vine. There is a huge difference in taste between home grown and the ones bought the supermarkets. Bear in mind that quite a lot of space is needed for growing cucumbers; they can grow really bushy so you will have to train the plants on trellises or on some sort of cane structure.

Photo: sa_ku_ra

Sow the cucumber seeds individually into 3in pots filled with a good quality potting compost. Push the cucumber seed about half an inch deep into the potting compost. Make sure the compost is thoroughly watered after sowing the seeds as the cucumber seed is pretty hard coated, so will need lots of moisture to germinate. Keep the compost watered and the germination should take place within 10 days at a temperature of 15-20 Celsius. As the cucumber is a warm loving plant the higher the temperature is the better and the cucumber seeds will not germinate under 10 Celsius. If you have an unheated greenhouse it is a good idea to cover the pots with a plastic sheet just to make sure that you provide enough warmth and this way the compost will stay moist longer too. 

After germination place the seedlings into a sunny position and keep the temperature as constant as possible, even at night. The modern hybrid cucumber seeds will give you a good germination rate and they will produce tastier fruits than those old fashioned varieties. It is mainly down to the fact that the cucumber plant produces female and male flowers, and if the pollen from the male flowers pollinates the female flowers the fruit most likely to become bitter. But the modern F1 cucumber seeds designed to grow into strong plants which are growing only female flowers.

When the seedlings are big enough plant them into bigger 6-7in pots and keep them inside for a few more weeks. As the plants have 3 pairs of true leaves they are ready to go into their final position. If you grow them in the greenhouse you can use a growing bag or a larger container. You will need to feed the plants once a week with a tomato fertilizer or with a general high potash fertilizer. Follow the instructions on the labels carefully. Support the plants using small canes or wires attached to the top of the greenhouse. Prune the older cucumber leaves regularly, this will encourage the plant to produce more side shoots and more flowers therefore more fruits.

The new varieties mostly suitable to grow in a greenhouse unless you have a Mediterranean climate. Outdoor types like Marketmore can be grown successfully outside in colder climates too, but you have to harvest the fruits as soon as possible as they will get bitter as they age or if they have a luck of water supply.

If space is limited you can grow some smaller varieties like gherkins and the unusual Crystal Lemon cucumber, these plants produce lemon like fruits and with these you can impress your gardening friends and family too.

If you want to save your own cucumber seeds you have to let the fruit grow on the plant as long as possible. Then cut the fruit in half, scoop out the seeds and mix them with plenty of water and let it ferment for a few days. The good seeds will sank to the bottom, just separate them from the rest of the fermented material under running water and dry the good seeds on a newspaper on your windowsill.

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About the Author
Learn how to grow cucumbers from seeds in the greenhouse or outdoors. This article brought to you by Seed Parade explains everything you need to know when growing cucumbers.


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