UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County

Edible Plants

Cucumbers, growing

lemon cucumber
Cucumbers, relatives of melons, are annual vines of the curcurbit family. There are 2 types - slicers and pickling - and many varieties. Slicing cucumbers are usually long, smooth, green cucumbers. Pickling cucumbers are usually smaller and have bumpy skin. There are round, yellow lemon cucumbers as well as Armenian and Asian varieties. There are also bush varieties whose vines take up less room.

Plant in full sun and rich soil. Keep the soil consistently moist (not soggy). Row covers can be used to protect seedlings from slugs, snails, beetles and other insects. Remove the covers when the plants flower to ensure pollination occurs. 

Read more about planting cucumbers.

cucumber on trellis
They can be grown on a fence or trellis to keep the fruit clean, help avoid fungal disease by improving air circulation, and save space in the garden. If allowed to grow over the ground, mulch underneath the fruit to keep clean.

Bitterness in cucumbers can be caused by temperature variation of more than 20 degrees, moisture stress, and storage of cucumbers near other ripening vegetables. Avoid growing cucumbers in cool or shaded locations and provide uniform moisture and ample nutrients to ensure a good yield of quality fruit. Select the new hybrid varieties since bitterness has been much less of a problem in these. Sometimes bitterness can be removed by peeling away the skin and outer flesh and the removing the stem end.


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