Harvesting Cucumbers

harvesting cucumbers

Cucumbers are a relatively easy selection to grow for first time gardeners, and they are an ideal selection for the more seasoned growers. For these reasons and the attractive versatility that the cucumber offers, they are a very popular seed for people’s gardens. So, if you’ve sowed your cucumber seeds properly in pronounced mounds of nutrient-rich loose soil, approximately six inches apart, receiving plenty of direct sunlight, and adequate hydration that can run off thoroughly. If you’ve kept close attention to the first flower (male) and the flowers to follow about a week later (female), chances are, your cucumber plants experienced a very successful season, and if you live in a particularly warm region, your cucumbers are probably ready for harvest since they only need about 60 days in consistently warm weather to reach maturity. If you attempted to sow your seeds too soon and got hit with some left over frost, you most likely know by now already that crop is mostly shot.

Other Reasons You May Experience Disappointment When Harvesting Cucumbers

If you’ve somehow grown the type of cucumber plant that only produces female flowers (gynecious) and were concerned you had no males for pollination. If you have no prior knowledge of this, it is very possible that you were standing in your garden scratching your head in confusion. If you’ve sowed your seeds to close together, the vines will strangle each other. Without properly dug drainage for excess water to run off, your cucumbers will grow in mold, which will ruin most of, if not all of your crop. Although the plant vines can be trained to climb, it is more common for the cucumbers to remain on the ground.

When Is It Time To Start Harvesting Cucumbers?

A well-managed garden grown in an ideal season can yield an abundant amount of cucumbers. Depending upon the type of seed you sowed, the maturity times can vary, but the cucumber variations all generally share the same short growing period of about 60 days. One week prior to this mark will probably begin producing mature fruits and from there, the rest will follow quickly. To begin your harvest you should prepare yourself with a pair of durable and comfortable gardening gloves, and a pair of sharp gardening sheers. The mature cucumber can range anywhere from three to eight inches in length and impressive girth depending on whether you’ve chosen a slicing cucumber or a pickling cucumber. The common cucumber will display a dark green color when mature although there are types that range anywhere from light green and yellow to all white in color. It is important to wear your gardening gloves as the cucumbers will tend to have small prickly spikes that can easily puncture the skin. The proper way to remove the fruit from the vine is to slightly twist rather than just pull the fruit off. Gently rinse the fruits of any dirt, allow them to dry and enjoy.

The cucumber is easily enjoyed sliced up in salads and is often pickled so that they can be eaten over the winter months, until spring is upon us and it is time to prepare your garden again.

Image: iStockPhoto

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