Cucumber plants are particularly popular with hobby gardeners because they taste refreshing and delicious, but are also very easy to grow. We'll show you how easy it is to plant your own cucumbers. Of course you will also find out from us whether and how the extension is also possible on the balcony and hopefully you will also become an expert.
The story of the cucumber
The cucumber plant (Cucumis sativa L.) originally comes from India, where it has been cultivated for more than 3000 years. From India it reached ancient Rome, Greece. The cucumber plant first came to Germany around 1,500 AD
The main growing areas for cucumbers are in China, Turkey, Iran and the USA. But cultivation is also very popular in the Netherlands, Spain and Greece.
The cucumber plant belongs to the cucurbit family and is related to the pumpkin and melon. The fruits are among the berries that used to be spherical and yellow-striped in the wild form. However, these tasted please, as they protected themselves from predators. This wild form still grows today in the subtropical valleys of the Himalayas.
In and around Berlin, the cucumber is mainly known from the Spreewald. The cucumber plants love the moist and nutrient-rich soil there. The Spreewald gherkin is one of the few GDR products that continued to be available without interruption after reunification.
The right time to plant cucumbers
First of all, it is important to know what kind of cucumber you want to plant. Here you can decide whether it should be a cucumber or rather the smaller version, the pickled cucumber.
You can buy grafted cucumbers in stores, the advantage for you: they are more resistant to diseases due to a stronger and less sensitive root system, since they were grafted on pumpkin seedlings.
The optimal location for your cucumber plants
The spot where you can easily plant your cucumbers should be warm, sunny and sheltered from the wind. The temperatures should not fall below 10°C. A southern house wall is best suited for planting cucumbers.
This is how you succeed in growing your cucumber plants
Cucumber plants can be grown very well from seed, as they germinate reliably and grow quite quickly. Sowing begins in mid-April.
Step 1: Plant the seeds about 10cm deep in the ground. Use potting soil and a pot of your choice. If you don't have a pot available, you can easily use empty toilet paper rolls to prep your cucumber.
Step 2: After planting the seeds, cover them with some soil and keep the pot sufficiently moist.
Step 3: Place your pot in a warm, bright place in your home.
Step 4: After about 1 week you will already see your cucumber seedling. Now he needs a lot of light and less heat.
Step 5: After about 2-3 weeks, the plant will be big enough to plant in a larger pot. Only this time, use vegetable soil.
Tip: Snails love young cucumber plants. Protect the seedlings with a snail fenceimmediately after planting
Urban gardening: plant cucumbers on the balcony
Two varieties are particularly suitable for the balcony: Libelle (small and crunchy) or Picolino F1 (bitter-free, female-flowering cucumber plant)
If it's no longer cold below 8°C at night, you can plant your cucumbers on the balcony. To guarantee good root growth for your cucumber plant, the pot should be at least 30cm in diameter.If you have a raised bed, this is of course even better
Once you have finished planting the cucumbers, you should reach under the shoots of your cucumber with a trellis approx. 2m high. Climbing aids with a rough surface are particularly suitable because the fine shoots can hold on to it much better.
Cucumber plants are not the only plants you can plant on your balcony. If you want to plant a pumpkin on your balcony, then have a look here.
How to properly care for your cucumber plants
Once you've finished planting cucumbers, caring for your plants shouldn't be neglected. We have summarized all the tips and tricks for you.
Water a lot on the balcony
On the balcony, the cucumber plants need a lot of water, but make sure that there is no waterlogging. Water your plant at least once a day in summer.
Fertilize cucumber plants
If you give too much fertilizer before fruiting, you will get bushy plants but little fruit. If you don't use a slow-release fertilizer, add some liquid fertilizer for vegetable plants every 2 weeks when watering. However, cucumber plants are very sensitive to salt. They require little nitrogen and chlorine. Therefore, it is better to use fertilizers with little nitrogen or chlorine content.
Finish cucumber plants, that's how it works
The cutting out of superfluous side shoots of your cucumber plant ensures more controlled growth, stronger and more robust plants and increased flowering and fruit formation. Unlike the tomato plant, you only have to do this once.
If you let your cucumber grow upwards on a trellis, then remove all flowers and fruits below a growth height of 60cm. Remove side shoots all side shoots in a leaf axis by simply prying them out with your thumb and forefinger.
A bountiful harvest
Since the flowers of your cucumber plants bear fruit after just 2 weeks, you can harvest your cucumbers from the end of May/beginning of June. With large plants you can usually harvest 2 cucumbers per week. If you want to keep your harvested cucumbers fresh longer, then don't store them in the fridge, but in the basement or in the pantry.
Tip: If you harvest your cucumber plant early, this particularly stimulates the growth of new fruits.
Planting cucumbers can be so easy. Watering at least once a day and plenty of light are particularly important for the optimal care of your cucumber plants. The great thing about cucumber plants is, above all, that you can plant them on your balcony and because they climb up, they can be a nice privacy screen.