Growing Cucumber

cucumis sativis : Cucurbitaceae / the gourd family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
    S S S S S          
      T T T T T T      
      P P P P P        

(Best months for growing Cucumber in Australia - tropical regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • P = Sow seed
  • Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 16°C and 35°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 40 - 60 cm apart
  • Harvest in 8-10 weeks. Cut fruit off with scissors or sharp knife.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Nasturtiums, Beans, Celery, Lettuce, Sweet Corn, Cabbages, Sunflowers, Coriander, Fennel, Dill, Sunflowers
  • Avoid growing close to: Potato, Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers on plant ( - Rasbak - CC BY-SA 3.0)
  • Young plant
  • Female flower with baby fruit
  • Male flower

A trailing plant which will grow tendrils as it gets bigger. Cucumbers can be started in small peat pots then transplanted when weather is suitable. Lebanese cucumbers are best picked about 10 -12 cm (4 - 5 in) and eaten whole. Gherkins are usually picked 5 or 6 cm (2 - 3 in) long and pickled. They have a prickly skin. Apple cucumbers are round with a pale, almost white, smooth skin.

Grow in full sun up a trellis or framework to save space and keep the fruit clean. Needs ties to support it at first. Water regularly and fertilise to encourage growth.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Cucumber

Pick frequently before the fruit become too big.
Use raw in salads, peeled if preferred. Bash them with a rolling pin before slicing and marinade with a rice vinegar/fish sauce/sugar mix and they will absorb the flavours of the dressing.

Your comments and tips

09 Feb 23, Wayne (Australia - temperate climate)
Cucamelons in Adelaide: I’m having varied success with growing Cucamelons in Wicking Beds. The major issue is that the leaves turn yellow and then die. Samples taken to local nurseries have failed to identify the issue, with insect, disease or virus. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
13 Feb 23, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Was applying some trace elements this morning and it said lack of T E can cause yellowing of leaves. Also may be lack of N.
09 Jan 22, Trina Richmond (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I live on the Gold Coast, and have been growing mad hatter capsicum successfully for about three years now, and grape/cherry tomatoes about the same but not very much fruit. This year I planted continental cucumbers. The plant grew very large in about two weeks, (5 foot+), and the leaves are huge, but I have only had 4 fruits and the leaves are being eaten so badly that they look like a very thin, worn out, see through piece of material. This past month for some reason every capsicum, yellow, green and mad hatter, all produced rotten fruit, and I ripped out the plants, except the cucumber. What has caused this? I may have over fertilised.. Also all plants are producing a lot of yellow leaves, especially the tomatoes.
12 Jan 22, Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 7b Mild Temperate climate)
I forgot to mention: as part of my previous reply; that the insects are eating your plant because it is stressed. That is, insects USUALLY attack/eat plants that are NOT healthy..... plants that are deteriorating are easily digestible. It's part of the natural process; the insects help breakdown a plant that is dying, rather than the insects killing the plant. So focusing on the insects may again, be misleading. Clearly, if you're trying to save the plant, you will need to get rid of the insects....but in MOST cases the insects are not the root cause of your issue.
17 Jan 22, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I generally have very healthy plants and I can tell you the insects don't wait until they are stressed. Recently very healthy egg plant and now the leaves have been decimated by something eating the leaves.
14 Feb 22, Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 7b Mild Temperate climate)
I did say USUALLY -- that is to say: rabbits will go for your greenest crispiest leaves -- caterpillars tend to pick the best of the lot as well -- aphids are PLACED on healthy fava beans by ANTS (as a form of enslavement/hostage situation) to suck the sap and excrete honeydew ... and so on for many insects --- BUT what we have IN THIS situation is clearly STRESSED PLANTS -- and stressed plants will bring in the decomposers -- that is the natural cycle- so focusing on which decomposers you have is really not going to solve the problem here.......... this is my best guess -- the plants where stressed and failed to perform first, and then the decomposers came in.... judging by the description of the problem.
12 Jan 22, Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 7b Mild Temperate climate)
Have you had a lot of humidity (higher than usual) lately ? If so, your plants may be having a hard time transpiring. Transpiration is the process of releasing moisture (like sweating and evaporation rolled into one). Plants suck up water through their roots and move the water up through their stems and into their leaves, where they release the water (transpiration). Only about 5-10% of the water they intake is used for growth - the rest is released into the environment. The movement of water facilitates the movement of nutrients. So if the movement of water is SLOWED due to really high humidity (and this mostly happens in greenhouses when they are not properly ventilated) plants start to show signs of nutrient deficiencies of all kinds (maybe blossom end rot in tomatoes despite having plenty of bio-available calcium in the soil). That is to say; you could have a lot of misleading signs like: blossom end rot, or nitrogen deficiency (honestly I'm not sure which nutrients need the most water to be moved).....but the take away is the signs could be really confusing, and appear totally illogical. This only happens in high humidity situations; again like an improperly vented greenhouse, or if somehow you have managed to trap the humidity in your space...... this is a long shot.....but I lived on the Gold Coast (Broad Beach area) 30+ years ago...... and I still remember how humid it could get... especially further North. Clearly, some plants are better at moving the water in high humidity situations....tomatoes tend to have difficulty in very high humidity. Ensuring proper air flow may be helpful.
04 Feb 22, Smithy (Australia - tropical climate)
Is there a way to counteract high humidity? Hydroponics might flourish in greenhouses but they are pumped up with water and chemicals. They look good but are not palatable.
16 Feb 22, Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 7b Mild Temperate climate)
If you have TRUE high humidity: humidex above 95% consistently -- then you have a real issue. If you have a "created" high humidity situation: like a poorly ventilated greenhouse; then correcting the ventilation will fix things. You can create an updraft by placing a screened window/door very close to ground level (or the lowest level that opens to fresh air) and then furthest and highest away from this point another screened window (on the ceiling/roof, or very high on the wall). So if you have a door on the North/East Bottom. the window goes on the South/West Top. When both of the windows are open, you should get a nice updraft that will whisk away all your humidity. It is best to situate the ground level door/window in a shady spot -- because this will be cooler air, and as this comes in it will force the hot/humid air up and out. There are also green house fans that can be installed (but if you do your updraft correctly you will probably not need one) ; and if you are fully indoors even a dehumidifier might work. If you are in a garden setting like the situation above; I think perhaps the cucumber created a roof that was helping hold in the moisture. In this case prune the cucumber to increase airflow. Things like fences can hold moisture; for example if you have a garden between two houses and there is a wood picket fence; this could impede the flow of air, and cause humidity to build up. The answer will ALMOST always be to increase air flow. If this is a true climate issue then you should select what you are growing with care, choosing plants that can tolerate high humidity; and still trying to situate your plants/garden in such a way that air flows freely. I have an allotment, that has "dense" fencing on two sides (I am in the back corner) and I can feel that I have an extra humid situation. I have found that runner beans do well; once they climb higher than fence level, they get a lot of air flow and do nicely. As far a hydroponics; I am not well versed enough to even begin guessing at the issues that may exist in these environments. Just remember that even when the humidex is NOT high, plants still need the airflow to move what they have transpired away from their leaves.
11 Jan 22, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
It is very hard to grow things during summer along the coast in Qld with all the rain and heat. Generally start planting seeds etc late Feb/Mar. Rain brings on the breeding cycle of a lot of insects etc. If plants are growing fast and too big - too much nitrogen. Yellow leaves - with lots of rain the fertiliser is leached through the soil. Also yellow leaves can be from a trace element deficiency. Use a fert that has trace elements. Here is my tips - during summer try and improve your soil with compost manures etc. Put grass clippings and leaves etc on you garden bed and dig in and turn over a couple of times during summer. Soil has to be watered to help break down the leaves etc. You should then only need a very light feritising.before planting in March. Plant cabbage broccoli etc in early May.
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