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Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) are gourd like plants that are members of the cucurbitaceae family, and are closely related to melons, squash and pumpkins. Like all those plants cucumbers are hungry, thirsty plants that love sunshine and take up a lot of space in your garden.
However to overcome this space issue cucumbers can be grown easily in pots on your terrace, patio, at work or just about anywhere. The advantage of growing them in pots rather than directly into the soil is that they can be grown when space is short and can be moved to a sheltered position or greenhouse as required.
Indoor and outdoor cucumber varieties are available, so check your seed variety before you grow them. Greenhouse cucumbers require high temperatures, very high humidity and a minimum night temperature of 18C/60F to grow successfully. Hardier varieties are less fussy and can be grown outside sucessfully after the risk of frost has passed.
In the UK you will need to start off your hardy cucumber plants early in a greenhouse or indoors in order to make the most of the available sunshine. Start off your pots early in a greenhouse or indoors in March to give them a head start, taking the pot outside in May after the risk of frost has passed. You can sow seeds direct into the final pot or transplant cucumber seedlings into it.
You can transplant the cucumber seedlings into their final pot when they have 2-4 true leaves. Fill a large 30 cm pot with a mixture of potting compost and general purpose fertiliser and place one cucumber seedling in each pot. Water thoroughly. Harden off your plants in a cold frame before placing outside.
Cucumber plants like to stretch out so when grown in pots vertical height is required. Use a stake to encourage your plants to grow up . Ensure you water well during dry spells and feed fortnightly with a general purpose fertiliser.
Cucumbers are ready to harvest July to October depending on variety. Keep an eye on them during this period or they may suddenly grow to massive proportions.
For related articles click onto:
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How to grow cucumbers from seed
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