Container Gardening · Vegetable Gardening

Growing Cucumbers in Containers

Cucumber - ready to harvest

You don’t need a large expanse of garden space to grow cucumbers. They are ideal candidates for growing in pots.

First, choose a large container – the larger the better. The more soil, the more consistent the moisture will be for shallow-rooted and thirsty cucumber plants. Provide a trellis for vines to climb. It can be as simple as three bamboo poles arranged as a teepee or as decorative as a favorite obelisk repurposed from the perennial border. Trellises keep fruit off the ground resulting in cleaner, straighter fruit and minimize space needed.

Tendrils wrap around their support.

Tendrils wrap around their support and hold vines as they grow.

Next, select a suitable variety. Bush-type varieties grow less aggressively. They have less space between leaves and branch more quickly than vining types. From the many bush types available, I grew Patio Snacker. It produces dark green fruits that grow six to eight inches long. They are crunchy and delicious.

Cucumber - flowers

Choose a parthenocarpic or monoecious cultivar. Flowers on parthenocarpic plants form fruit without pollination. Monoecious plants have both male and female flowers on the same plant. Patio Snacker is a monoecious type.

Cucumber - male and female flowers

Female flowers have a tiny cucumber right behind them. Male flowers grow close to the main stem of the plant and have a short, thin stem. Bees collect pollen from male flowers and transfer it to female flowers.

Lastly, give cucumbers what they want: sunshine, consistently moist soil, and fertilizer. Cucumbers love heat so wait to plant them until all danger of frost has passed in a spot that receives at least six hours of sun each day.

Plant two or three seeds in a group half an inch deep at least six inches apart directly in your pot. Keep soil moist until seedlings emerge.  Keep the strongest seedling and thin out the two weaker ones.

Cucumbers - just planted in pot

Or purchase small transplants already started. Water them in to settle the soil. Cucumbers are shallow rooted so keep the soil just slightly moist.

Nasturtium - flowers

I planted three nasturtiums in front of the cucumber plants to hide their less-than-attractive ankles. The orange flowers of the nasturtiums partner beautifully with the sunny golden yellow blooms of the cucumbers.

Cucumber - new one forming

Cucumbers are hungry plants. I mixed Dr. Earth Vegetable & Herb fertilizer in the soil before planting and applied an organic all-purpose fertilizer when the plants started to set fruit.

Cucumber - ready to pick

It’s important to harvest cucumbers as they ripen to encourage continuous production of more fruit. They have the best flavor when harvested before the seeds inside are fully developed.

Cucumber - ready to eat

Rubbing them with a sponge not only cleans them but also removes the spines from their skin. I prefer to eat cucumbers in salads so all that’s left to do is slice them and enjoy!

If you haven’t grown cucumbers because you didn’t think you had enough room for their massive vines, find a large pot, choose an appropriate variety and get growing. Garden with me!

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