How, where and when you plant your cucumbers can make a big difference in just how successful your plants and your harvest can be – and that is exactly why it’s so important to avoid four of the most common cucumber planting mistakes that can put your plants in trouble right from the start!
Getting any vegetable plant off to a great start in the spring is important. The first few weeks of a plant’s life are vital for how it will eventually perform. A strong start means a vigorous root system. It also means healthy stems and foliage.
All of those are extremely important for cucumber plants. A larger root system means plants are able to absorb more nutrients and moisture from the soil. Even more, healthy stems and leaves allow the plant to absorb the sun’s energy through photosynthesis, powering itself to even more growth and better fruit production.
So what is the best way to get your cucumber plants off to a fast start? Well, it all starts by avoiding a few all too common planting mistakes that doesn’t only put your plants behind schedule with their growth, but sometimes in danger of even surviving.
With that in mind, here are four of the most common miscues to avoid, and how to get your cucumber plants growing like crazy this spring!
4 Big Cucumber Planting Mistakes To Avoid This Spring!
#1) Plant Seed, Not Transplants!
This may be surprising to many gardeners, but when it comes to growing cucumbers, it is better to plant seeds rather than transplants. Not only can it help to keep the roots, foliage and stems of your plants safer and out of harms way, it can also produce far larger growth and yields.
When tender cucumber transplants go into the ground in the early spring, they are at risk of all kinds of harm. First, the cold, wet weather makes it easy for them to succumb to mildew. Unlike tomato and pepper transplants, cucumber plants have more trouble adjusting and extending their roots into the soil.
In addition, cucumber transplants often suffer long periods of transplant shock with the cooler temperatures and wet weather. The result? Slow growth and poor root development. At best, it delays growth and a future harvest. At worst, it can cause young transplants to rot away and die.
Even more, the foliage of young cucumber plants can easily be damaged while it tries to recover from transplanting. The best way to avoid all of this is to plant by seed! To do this, simply allow the soil to warm to at least 65°(F) before planting. Any cooler, and they won’t germinate well.
One thing to not worry about is a seed planted cucumber not catching up to a transplant. Cucumbers are one of the fastest vegetable plant growers of all. And, because they never have to go through the shock of transplanting, the seed sprouts and never looks back. Affiliate Seed Link: Eden Brothers Cucumber Seed Selection
Once cucumbers sprout and grow, they often outgrow cucumber transplants that have been in the ground in just a few weeks! So save money & time, and plant cucumber seeds instead of transplants!
#2) Not Planting For Morning Sun – 4 Big Cucumber Planting Mistakes To Avoid
First and foremost, cucumbers need a lot of sun to produce fruit. But it is when that sunlight arrives that can really help propel them to a bumper crop.
Listen In To Our Podcast On The Secrets To Growing Cucumbers!
For maximum success, always plant your cucumbers so that they receive the first light of the day. Morning sun is nothing short of magical for cucumber plants. For starters, that early sunlight dries the dew off of the foliage. That can be key in the fight against mildew. Unfortunately, wet leaves are an open invitation for mildew to take over.
But even more that preventing mildew, morning sun helps cucumbers start early with the process of photosynthesis. In the cooler morning sun, plants have little stress. Because of that, they can power up fast and strong – leading to better growth, more blooms – and of course, a bigger harvest!
Make sure your cucumbers get at least 6 hours of full sunlight each day. Eight or more is even better. But more than anything else, make sure the morning sun will kiss their leaves!
#3) Avoid Planting Low – 4 Big Cucumber Planting Mistakes To Avoid
Just as important as planting for morning sun is to never plant your cucumbers in a low lying area or in a depression in the soil. In fact, you should be planting them in mounds or at the very least, slightly raised off of the ground level. No matter if you plant in a garden, a raised bed, or even in pots and containers!
The main stems of cucumbers are highly susceptible to rot. If you plant them in a low lying area or small depression, water can pool around the stem and rot it off. Some gardeners form a small well or moat around their plants for watering – with cucumbers, this can spell disaster.
If planting in a garden or a raised bed, plant in slight mounds that are a few inches above the surrounding soil. Taper the small mounds down gently to the surrounding soil. This allows water to drain away from the main stem but still sink below to the roots. If planting in a container, make sure the planting area is slightly higher than the pots edges.
#4) Planting Near Potatoes – 4 Big Cucumber Planting Mistakes To Avoid
Last but not least, what you plant around your cucumbers impact theirs growth and productivity too. More than anything else, do not plant potatoes anywhere near your cucumber plants!
Potatoes release a substance into the soil that will slow and even harm the growth pattern of cucumber plants. Keep potatoes at least 10 feet away if possible. Fortunately, cucumbers do more than fine with other nightshade plants such as tomatoes, peppers and tomatillos.
On the flip side, if you want to help your cucumber plants out, sow radish seeds near the plant when you plant your cucumber seeds. Radishes are excellent in helping to repel harmful insects like cucumber beetles and aphids that attack tender cucumber plants.
For more planting day secrets, check out our article and podcast on The Seven Big Planting Day Secrets – How To Plant Your Garden For Success. Here is to avoiding the four most common spring cucumber planting mistakes, and to growing your best crop of cucumbers ever this year!
Simple Garden Life is a website dedicated to keeping gardening fun, simple and enjoyable! We publish two new articles each week along with a new garden podcast episode every two weeks. This article may contain affiliate links.