Light requirements: Full sun.
Planting: Space 36 to 60 inches apart, depending on type. (Read the stick tag that comes with the plant for specific spacing recommendations.) If you’re trellising vines, space plants 12 inches apart.
Soil requirements: Cucumbers need moist but well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Amend soil with compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Soil pH should be 6.0 to 6.8.
Water requirements: Keep soil consistently moist by applying roughly 1 inch of water per week. Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation to keep leaves dry and slow disease development. Mulch soil to reduce water evaporation, but wait until soil has warmed before covering it.
Frost-fighting plan: Cucumber is damaged by light frost (28º F to 32º F). If a surprise late spring frost is in the forecast, protect seedlings with a frost blanket.
Common issues: Inadequate or inconsistent moisture causes oddly shaped or poor-tasting fruit. If plants suddenly wilt and don’t recover, the vine has been infected with bacterial wilt, spread by cucumber beetles. Also keep an eye out for squash bugs, slugs, aphids, and powdery mildew. Squash bugs attack seedlings. Slugs like ripening fruit. Aphids colonize leaves and buds.
Harvesting: Pick cucumbers whenever they’re big enough to use. Check vines daily as the fruit appear because they enlarge quickly. The more you harvest, the more fruit the vines will produce. Oversized fruit is bitter. Cucumbers with a yellow end are overripe. Harvest using a knife or clippers, cutting the stem above the fruit.
Storage: If you’ll use cucumbers within 1 or 2 days, store at room temperature. Exposing cucumbers to temperatures below 50º F can hasten decay. If you must refrigerate cucumbers, wrap them in a dry paper towel and slip into a loosely closed plastic bag. Store them in a warmer part of the fridge and for best flavor and quality, use within 1 to 3 days.
For more information, visit the Cucumbers page in our How to Grow section.
- Carbohydrates: 9g
- Dietary fiber: 2g
- Sugars: 3g
- Protein: 1g
- Thiamin: 5% DV
- Vitamin B6: 4%
- Vitamin K: 4%
- Manganese: 6%
Cucumbers have a very high water content, very few calories, lots of fiber, and a whole range of vitamins and minerals. Their hydrating quality is important for healthy skin, and two compounds in them, ascorbic acid and caffeic acid, prevent water retention and explain why sliced cucumbers are often used topically for swollen eyes, burns, and other skin problems. Munching on a cucumber ever day is an easy, cooling way to add both fiber and water to the diet. Studies have also shown that adding foods high in potassium, magnesium and fiber, such as cucumbers, helps keep blood pressure at healthy levels.