Growing Cucumbers in Self-watering GrowBoxes
Cucumbers in Self Watering Containers
Healthy, easy to grow and very prolific, cucumbers are a great choice for your self-watering GrowBox. However, choosing the right variety and applying a few simple tips can turn a good crop into a great crop.
If your GrowBox will have plenty of bees to pollinate the flowers then any cucumber variety, including heirloom varieties, will crop well. Marketmore (20 cm long, burp-less) and Spacemaster (20 cm long) are both good choices, but make sure you rub the spines off the fruit before eating! If, however, you don't have many bees you should choose a parthenocarpic (self-pollinating) variety. Parthenocarpic varieties also generally produce more cucumbers per plant than standard varieties as every flower becomes a fruit. Varieties we have successfully trialled include Socrates F1 (18 cm long, tender thin skin) an Iznik Mini F1 hybrid (10 cm long, tender thin skin, early and prolific producer). Other parthenocarpic varieties that should work well include Lebanese Paska F1, Telegragh Louisa F1, Telegraph Bella F1, and Diva F1. For something interesting and a bit different try Crystal Apple, Lemon Cucumber, Salt and Pepper, Mini White, or Poona Kheara (note that all of these require pollinators - bees etc.). All varieties listed are available from Egmont Seeds
Cucumbers are easy to grow from seed, and can be either sown directly in a GrowBox or grown in a 10 cm pot and transplanted after about 3 weeks. To sow, make a hole 2.5 cm (1 inch) deep and drop the seed into the hole (to guarantee germination, drop two seeds into the hole and snip the weaker plant off at ground level a week after they emerge). Cover with soil and place in a sunny position. Do not let it dry out. Germination can take anywhere between 3 and 10 days.
It is often hard to find parthenocarpic (self-pollinating) cucumbers at garden centers (Iznik is sometimes available), so if you don't have many bees you may need to grow your own. See instructions above.
To plant, loosen the plant by gently squeezing the sides of the pot. Place your hand over the soil and invert the pot and plant. Lift the pot away and set the plant in your GrowBox at the same depth as in the pot. Gently firm the potting mix around the plant and water in gently from the top to settle everything in.
Left to their own devices cucumbers will produce a respectable crop, but a little extra attention will be well rewarded. Here are few tips:
- Two cucumbers is about the maximum that a GrowBox can grow well.
- Cucumbers need lots of light and warmth. They are frost-tender, so don't plant outside until after the last frost.
- Mind the sharp spines on both the stems and fruit!
- Remove fruit and laterals (side shoots) from the first 4 or 5 leaf node (where a leaf joins the stem) to help the plant establish.
- Train the vine up a trellis or wire/string. This keeps the cucumbers straight and reduces the risk of disease. It also takes up less room.
- Fertilise regularly. Cucumbers are big feeders and will benefit from small fortnightly additions of a soluble fertilizer to their water.
- Check/pick daily to encourage further fruitset.
If you have any questions please contact us. We're here to help!
Posted: Tuesday 29 August 2017