I will teach you how to grow cucumbers in Florida and all the tips and tricks on how to get the best harvest in the sunshine state.
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If there is one thing that is a must to grow in your garden and that is cucumbers.
Warm-season crops like cucumbers are an amazing snack in the summer and a refreshing vegetable to eat while walking around your garden.
Some might say cucumbers are fruits, I explain Is a Cucumber a Fruit or Vegetable? The Answer is Here!
Table of Contents How to grow cucumbers in Florida
Cucumbers are an amazing and healthy snack for all ages!
I think everybody should have cucumbers growing in their Florida garden.
Different Varieties of cucumber plants
Did you know there are about 100 different varieties of cucumbers?
The most popular cucumbers are commonly found in the supermarket and farmers’ markets.
Some examples include:
This type of cucumber has thin skins, minimal seeds, tastes sweeter, are long, and can grow up to a foot long
Have bumpy skin, very green color, firm skin, short, used as pickling cucumbers, and have a mild taste.
Look like English cucumbers, can be seedless, has thin skin, and are smaller in size growing about 6 inches long.
You can grow either bushing or vining cucumbers
Grow very short vines and have a bush-like appearance that does not take up much space.
Bush cucumbers are great for small gardens, as they can take up to only 3 square feet of room.
These cucumbers grow best if they have a trellis to climb onto.
Vining cucumbers come in a wide range of different shapes and sizes.
You can grow vining cucumber vertically which can be a great advantage for any garden.
Best cucumber varieties to grow in Florida:
When to grow cucumbers in Florida
The rule of thumb is the best time to grow cucumbers in Florida is after your last frost date.
Cucumbers do not like cold weather ad can not take frost or cold temperatures under 50. It’s best to put your cucumber plants out after the chance of frost is gone.
Best time to grow cucumbers from seed in all parts of Flordia:
North Florida: Feb-April & July-August
Central Florida: Jan-March & Septemeber
The ideal time to start cucumber seeds in Central Florida is in January and February time frames indoors.
South Florida: Sept-February
Transplanting time frame
If you can keep your starter cucumber plants indoors until your last frost date.
If sowing seeds outside be sure there is warm soil, specifically your soil temperature should be at least 70°F.
I would recommend sowing cucumber seeds four weeks before your last frost date.
How to grow cucumbers in Florida
Cucumber plants like acidic to neutral soil and plenty of organic matter.
Organic matter like compost should be added to Florida’s sandy soil or you can buy bags of soil from your local nursery or big box store.
Make sure your soil is not compacted and is well drained.
Planting in the ground, you can mount your soil to help drainage or you can throw them in a raised bed of a trellis.
Where to grow cucumber plants?
You can grow cucumber plants straight in the ground, in raised beds, containers, or grow bags.
I love using 20-gallon grow bags and planting 2-3 cucumbers in one 20-gallon grow bag that is by a trellis.
I also use galvanized metal raised beds because they are affordable and can hold a lot of cucumbers.
If you want to plant seeds indoors, I would recommend sowing cucumber seeds four weeks before your last frost date.
Sowing seeds directly outdoors in soil I would wait until your last frost date has passed.
If you are sowing your seeds outside, you will wait until the weather warms up to at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit, or above.
How to sow cucumber seeds
You should place a cucumber seed at least one inch deep down into the soil and a seedling will emerge from the soil within 4 to 10 days.
Be sure the seed is fully covered because this type of seed is quite large.
For a decent harvest, make sure your seeds or at least 9 to 12 inches apart.
If you’re planting in rows, each row is at least 18 inches apart from each other.
How to water cucumber plants in Florida
After you have prepped your soil and have sowed your seeds make sure you keep your soil moist by regular watering.
Cucumbers need at least an inch of water a week to grow successfully.
In Florida, it can get very hot and dry so make sure that your soil is moist, especially in the dry season when we get no rainwater.
During our drought, you can water every other day or every day if needed.
You can always hand-water vegetable plants, but it is very time-consuming.
I recommend setting up some irrigation for your cucumber plants, setting a timer, or place drip tape and water automatically.
Watering cucumber plants can be tasking so if you take the time to set up irrigation it can is a time saver.
Some great irrigation ideas are below:
A good rule of thumb to know a good time to water is to put one finger in the soil and If it comes out with dirt on it then it is well watered.
Watering in the early morning and evening is the best time to water because during the day heat watering may evaporate.
You do not want to overwater any vegetable plant, but when it comes to cucumbers they do need a lot of water because they’re made up of over 90% of water.
If you’re growing specifically vining cucumbers pruning them will help you get a bigger harvest at the end.
Market gardeners and professional growers get the most out of their cucumber plants by pruning them as they grow up a string.
Prune cucumber plants by taking the suckers off while they grow and unnecessary large leaves.
Prune cucumbers Step-by-step
- Start from the bottom of the plant where it comes out of the soil, trailing up the main stem.
- You’ll hit a point where you see a couple of things happening.
- You’ll see a big sun leaf, a tendril, a baby cucumber or flower, and a sucker.
- You will remove the sucker, which is the leaf growing on top of the cucumber.
You can compare a cucumber sucker to a tomato sucker for all my experienced gardeners out there.
Pruning your training cucumber plants to focus on growing more fruit, which will provide you with more cucumbers, and fewer leaves that carry disease.
Fertilizing cucumber Tips
- The best fertilizer for cucumbers is compost, which has a little bit of nitrogen and a whole lot of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for your cucumber plants over time.
- Sprinkling organic matter like worm castings, is one of the best fertilizers for any type of vegetable in your garden.
- Another great fertilizer to give your cucumber is any fertilizer that’s granular or liquid that has high phosphorus and potassium.
- Getting a slow-release fertilizer that has an NPK where the P (phosphorus) number is larger than the N (nitrogen) will focus on more fruit production.
- You can give your plant fertilizer that is more N (nitrogen) like Fish Fertilizer once every 2 weeks when your plant is starting to grow.
- This will help keep your leafs green and help the plant grow strong before it is ready to bear fruit.
Cucumber plant support
When your vining cucumber plants start growing, they will naturally hang on to any structure and trellis.
If cucumber plants do not have any structure around them, they will just cover the ground in leaves and start producing cucumbers
I recommend having a support structure for your cucumber plants because it does help your cucumber plants stay healthy.
Some reasons why you should have cucumber support:
- It keeps your cucumbers off the floor to avoid bugs and insects from destroying them.
- A trellis provides air circulation for your cucumber plants
- Decreases the chances of pests and diseases.
- It can make harvesting cucumbers easier on your body
Giving cucumber vines a trellis can also add a beautiful aesthetic to your garden space.
If you choose to buy or create a cucumber trellis for your plants, there are so many options for you.
Cucumber trellis buying options
Common Cucumber Problems & Diseases
You will see crooked or weirdly shaped cucumbers if you have poor pollination.
Try to plant flowers to help bring pollinators!
Some common pests and disease problems are:
- Angular leaf spot
- Bacterial wilt
- Powdery mildew- Try to water under the leaves not over to prevent this issue.
- Yellow leaves – Adding liquid fertilizer(once every 2 weeks) that is high in nitrogen will help it bounce back.
- Wilting leaves – Water to prevent wilting
Click here for more common diseases in cucumber plants
Common Cucumber Pest
These bugs weaken foliage, suck on leaves making them yellow and inject toxins into your plant.
Aphids suck on sap from the underside of leaves and are tiny bugs that have soft bodies.
For more common cucumber, plant problems, CLICK HERE.
Before you harvest, check how long your specific variety of cucumber takes to grow to maturity.
To find the time for maturity look in the back of your seed packet or find that information or simply use Mr.Google.
Use that time to maturity as a guideline, for example:
If your cucumber takes 60 days to maturity (harvest) know that around at 60-day mark it can take more than 60 days but at least you’ll be close to gathering time.
A tip is to research to look what the cucumber looks like when it is mature.
Some cucumbers look different and have a different shade of green or white.
If you have an idea of what the cucumber looks like you will have an idea of what it should look like in your garden before harvesting.
So how do you harvest cucumbers?
You can use your hand or even better use some sharp shears to harvest cucumbers off of the vine.
To harvest by hand grab a single cucumber in your hand and twist it off carefully or clip it off with pruning scissors.
The more you harvest the more cucumbers you will get!
If you wait for your cucumber to get too large or do not harvest your cucumber plant will stop producing fruit.
As long as you see the cucumbers are full-grown cucumber pick them up as soon as possible.
It’s pretty easy but you have to make sure you harvest at the right time.
- Cucumbers need to be harvested depending on their size and variety.
- Some cucumbers are ready to harvest at 2 inches and others can be ready to harvest at over 10 inches.
- Harvest early in the day or at the end of the day when it is cooler.
- For example, if you’re growing Armenian cucumbers, they can be picked at any time as they are very long and do not look like the traditional cucumber.
- Usually, a pickling cucumber can be from 4 to 9 inches.
- Be sure to pick cucumbers when they feel nice and firm, and have a nice green color or the color they should be depending on the variety.
I hope all these cucumber-growing tips will help you get the best cucumber harvest every year.
Now you know how to grow cucumbers in Florida!
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