It’s a wonderful sight to see little cucumbers perfectly hanging in your garden. When grown in your garden, cucumbers seem extra delicious, and can be made into a refreshing, tasty salad. They’re also really easy to grow from seed. In this article, we will share how to grow cucumber, the nutrients and health benefits that can be gained by eating them.
Varieties Of Cucumbers
There are two main cucumber varieties- Pickling cucumbers, and slicing cucumbers.
Pickling cucumbers– Produce usually short cucumbers, 3-4 inches long with thin skins and spines. They often have striated skin coloration with gradations of dark green to light green at the blossom end. These cucumbers are usually harvested earlier than slicing cucumbers, but their harvest is shorter, 7-10 days.
Slicing Cucumbers– Produce Longer cucumbers, around 7-8 inches, and thicker skins than pickling variety. The skin is usually dark-light green, and are mainly sold in supermarkets. They are ready for harvest later than pickling cucumbers, but their harvest is longer, 4-6 weeks.
Under these two main types of cucumbers, there are many different varieties, here are some recommended varieties to grow:
‘National Pickling’– Very high-yielding, produce Dark green, bumpy skin, can be picked small 2-3 inches, picked full size at 5-6 inches long. Best grown outside when temperature 15-30°C.
‘La Diva‘- Produce Crisp, sweet, seedless, non-bitter cucumbers, grow up to 6 inches. Best grown outside when the temperature is around 20°C.
‘Bush Pickle‘- High-yielding, produce straight, green, crispy cucumbers, best picked at 5 inches. Best grown outside when the temperature is 15-20°C.
How To Grow Cucumbers
Select a site with full sun. Cucumbers need warmth and lots of light, Cucumbers require fertile soil. Mix in compost and/or aged manure to improve the quality of soil. Make sure that soil is moist and well-drained, not soggy, and compacted. Soil should be neutral or slightly acidic with a pH of around 6.5 to 7.0.
If your growing in a greenhouse, start cucumbers off by sowing seeds from mid-February to mid-March if your greenhouse is heated. Start sowing in April, if the greenhouse is not heated, plant seeds 1 inch deep. If planning to grow cucumbers outside, you can either sow indoors in late April, or sow outside in late May or early June, plant seeds 1 inch deep. Cucumbers germinate best in temperatures 15-30°C. If you don’t want to grow from seed, young plants are available from garden centres in spring.
The main care requirement for cucumber is water, water every day/every other day depending on the weather. The easiest way to check if the soil needs watering, stick your finger in the soil, if dry water it, and try to keep the soil moist.
Nutrients And The Benefits
Cucumbers are high in beneficial nutrients, they contain vitamins C, K, and A. Minerals– magnesium, potassium, and manganese. They contain antioxidants to prevent slow damage to cells. Cucumbers promotes hydration as 95% of a cucumber is water. May aid in weight loss, lower blood sugar, and are easy to add to your diet.
How To Add To You Diet
Cucumber are delicious, and refreshing of their own, but can be added to many recipes to enhance flavours and nutrients. here are some examples: Salads(veg salads, tuna salads), smoothies, soup, roll-ups(wraps, sandwiches), dips/dressings, ice pops, sushi, pickled, snacks, add to water, etc.