Ever tasted a crunchy, delicious, sweet, freshly harvested homegrown cucumber? If not, you’re missing out on one of the greatest joys of home gardening.
There are a very few things that can give you the refreshing, cool, delicious taste that a straight from the vine cucumber can bring to you on a scorching summer day.
Can a perfect summer garden ever be imagined without the presence of lush green cucumber vines, cukes from which taste like heaven?
The taste of cucumbers you will grow at home will always be way better than the ones found on the shelves of the supermarkets. Besides, the delight of taking a bite of or pickling the cucumbers from your own garden will always be worth the effort.
Fun fact, even though you have probably thought of cucumbers as vegetables all your life, they are botanically fruits as they grow from flowers and contain seeds.
Growing these in your backyard might seem like an especially laborious task, but in reality, it is extremely easy to cultivate them. They grow quite well even in limited spaces and do not need any extra care.
If you are planning to grow your cucumbers at home it is important that you know everything you need to know about them, including how and when to plant and harvest them.
One of the greatest questions to ask in this regard is how long does it take for cucumber to grow. The answer to this might seem a little uncertain, but don’t you worry.
In this article, we will try to enlighten you with everything you need to know about the time cucumber plants take to grow from seeds and produce harvest-able fruits.
Read on to find out. But first, let us go over some basics about cucumbers that you might have missed.
Also Read: Why My Cucumber Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?
As you just read, cucumbers, scientifically known as Cucumis sativus, are actually fruits which are very healthy for your body.
Extremely popular among salad fans, cucumbers are packed with health benefits owing to the high nutrient contents, antioxidants and several plant compounds that make them a star among the healthy eaters.
Natives of India, cucumbers are extremely low in calories with abundant water and soluble fibre which make them great promoters and enablers of hydration.
Consisting of 96% water, cucumbers are rich in Vitamins A, C and K and are rich in antioxidants. They also contain minerals like magnesium, Potassium and Manganese. They help in the prevention of infections, also helping in weight loss.
Cucumbers can be utilized in the kitchen in a large number of ways. Their most popular use is in salads.
These crunchy, low in calories delicious fruits blend extremely well with the other ingredients of the salad adding a plethora of flavours to it. They can also be pickled or even eaten up raw, with a pinch of salt.
These fruits grow both in bushes and in vines. They grow best when first grown indoors and then transplanted outside after the last date of frost has been gone at least two weeks.
These summer plants grow best in loamy soils with full exposure to the sun. These are easy to care for, growing best when provided with adequate amounts of water and warmth. They need a temperature of about 70⁰F.
How Long Does it Take for Cucumber Seeds to Sprout?
Now that you have attained enough knowledge about the cucumber vines and their growing conditions and benefits, let us discuss one of the most frequently asked questions about the cultivation of cucumbers and how long does it take for cucumbers to germinate?
This question can be a bit tricky to answer since the germination of the cucumber seeds depends on a number of factors.
Cucumber seeds germinate properly and on time only when provided with enough water and adequate air and ground temperatures.
The kind of farming practice followed also plays a vital role in determining the time it takes cucumbers to sprout. It is therefore important to keep a few things in mind while cultivating them.
Cucumber vines belong to the cucurbit family and are annuals. These plants require a sunny location in the garden and ample water, accompanied by fertile, well manured, loose, loamy soil with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH.
When provided with proper care and kept free from disease, these plants produce fruits that are slender in nature slightly sweet to taste.
Cucumbers can grow about 2 to 20 inches, taking about two months to grow completely and produce fruits. This, however, depends on a number of important factors such as the variety of the seeds chosen, the ground temperature, the kind of soil, the use of fertilizers and the availability of the required nutrients.
When grown under the ideal conditions, cucumber plants take a little over 65 days to harvest.
Cucumbers do best when planted from seeds. These seeds are easily available at nurseries or gardening stores around the corner. You can also make use of seedlings bought from the stores, but making use of seeds is always a better option as it guarantees the quality of the harvest.
Before planting the seeds, keep in mind cucumbers do better when they are transplanted. This is important because these seeds need extra care while germinating and in case of negligence they may not germinate at all.
This, in turn, happens because cucumbers are extremely sensitive to cold weather and cannot survive frost. Therefore, until the ground outside is ready and warm enough for their growth, growing them indoors in transplantation beds or small nurseries is always advisable.
The best time to sow the seeds in the trays or beds is about two to three weeks before they are to be transplanted. This provides a head start and the seedlings grow healthy. While planting them in the garden, make sure the ground temperature is at least 65⁰F.
For the cucumber seeds to germinate, a minimum temperature of 68⁰F is required. If the temperature is below 50⁰F, the seeds do not germinate at all.
The typical time period for germination under ideal situations is 3 to 5 days. However in case, the weather is cooler than required, the seeds may even take 10 or more days to sprout.
In case you have chosen to directly plant the seeds in the garden soil, make sure that the temperature of the ground is above 65⁰F. Cucumber seeds do better when the temperature is about 70⁰F.
In cooler regions, try to heat up the soil before the seeds are planted. This can be done by covering the soil with a black plastic bag to trap the heat.
In this case, it is likely for the pants to take a little longer to sprout, as the ground temperatures tend to fluctuate. In any case, expect to see your seedlings sprout about 5-6 days after planting, latest by 10 days.
After the seeds have sprouted, be sure to take good care of the plants, preventing their exposure to temperatures cooler than 70⁰F during the day and 60⁰F at night.
Check this out: How to Speed up Tomato Ripening on the Vine?
How Long Does it Take to Harvest Cucumber?
After the seeds have germinated, it is quite common for the gardeners to wait eagerly for the first harvest of these nutritious delights, wondering how much time it takes to grow cucumbers. We shall now deal with this question.
It takes 50-60 days to harvest cucumbers.
However, there can be no definite answer to this question as the time required for the growth of these plants depends on several factors like the geographic location and the kind of seed used.
Under average conditions, cucumber plants take a little more than two months to grow, mature and produce fruits that can be harvested.
This happens through a series of different processes which are a part of the development of the plant. We have listed some of these processes below.
After about 30 to 50 days from planting the first flowers are seen in a cucumber plant. The early or late arrival of the flowers depends on the variety of the seeds that you have planted. The first flowers to arrive are male flowers which bloom in clusters of three to five.
A week or so later, another batch of flowers arrives. These flowers are female and are seen to grow on a single stem. In most cases, the same plants produce both male and female flowers. After fertilization, male flowers fall off from the plants.
So, in case you witness your flowers falling off in large numbers do not get disheartened. The male flowers that have already served their purpose are falling off.
After the plants have flowered, it is time for them to get pollinated. This takes place immediately after the plants have flowered and the female flowers have developed completely. Cucumbers are mostly pollinated by insects like honey bees.
In case your region has a low population of these extremely useful insects, hand pollinate the flowers to ensure fruit production. For this, remove the outer part, that is, the petals of the male flowers leaving the anther exposed.
It is this part that contains the pollen. So use this as a brush to pollinate the female flowers.
#3. Fruit-bearing and failure
A fertilized female flower takes about ten to twelve days to produce the first fruit. The fruits that are produced initially are dark green in colour and gradually lighten as they grow bigger.
If grown in ideal conditions, they can grow from 3 to 20 inches long. If harvested at the proper time, cucumbers are a delight to taste.
However, it is commonly noticed that many cucumber plants fail to produce fruits. This problem arises because of improper flowering or problems in pollination. The most common cause of this is the root-knot nematodes that feed on the roots and hinder the development of flowers and fruits in the plants.
Pests are also a common cause. Another important problem in this aspect is the problem of pollination. If you have planted your plants too close or too far away pollination is hindered. The ideal distance to plant consecutive plants is 35 to 50 inches apart.
Cucumbers should be harvested long before they fully mature or ripen. Ripe cucumbers are yellow in colour, bitter to taste and have hard seeds. These are inedible. If cucumbers are allowed to reach this stage in the vine further fruition is discouraged.
So in order to enjoy the continuous harvest, pick cucumbers at an early stage, when they are still green in colour and are averagely 4 to 10 inches in size. At this stage, they are the tastiest to eat.
For a plant to go through this entire process, 50 to 70 days are required on an average, depending on the variety of the seeds used. If proper care is taken cucumber plants take a little over two months to bear fruits.
However, in case of negligence or improper weather conditions, this time may extend up to 3 months or even more. Therefore in order to gather your harvest in time, be sure to tend to the plants.
Important Tips to Grow Cucumbers
Now that you know how long does it takes cucumbers to germinate and grow, we hope it is easier for you to cultivate your own homegrown delicious cucumbers. In order to help you further, we have listed some gardening hacks and tips, following which you can ensure the cultivation of only the best quality cucumbers in your own garden. Take a look:
#1 Hydration is the key
To keep your cucumber plants out of the stress you have to keep it moist, especially when it is time for the plant to go through the flowering and fruiting process. Even a little disproportionate hydration problem can give rise to many malicious compounds. Some of these compounds created by water can invoke bitterness in the cucumbers.
Cucumbers are heavy growing juicy fruits, so they usually need about 1to 2 inches of water per week when they are growing, depending on the soil and the weather type. The key is to keep the soil moist to touch at all times. Water your plant vigorously once or twice in a week and in case of sandy soil even more.
#2 Your cucumber bed needs Mulch
It is common for you to think that your cucumber bed is fine as long as you can see the monster at the stem point, but that’s not correct. To reduce the water stress adequately you have to surround cucumber plants with mulch. It will create a periphery that will conserve the water and moderate the moisture levels.
It will also block the weeds. You have to wait until summer or till the soil has reached about 70 degrees Fahrenheit to start the process. You can apply organic mulches such as straw.
#3 You need to have the right temperature
No matter what type of weather your cukes need the right temperature to grow. Cucumbers thrive in warm conditions. But too much heat can cause adverse effects. So it is very tough to grow tasty green full cucumbers in scorching hot summers. If you go above the perfect temperature your plant will start to grow more male flowers. And as you know male flowers cannot bear fruits. So wasting your sweat on the flowers that just bloom and disappear is unwanted.
If you live in a mild hot climate you most probably don’t need to worry. But if your locality is very hot during the summer then you need to take some precautions. Provide fully grown plants with afternoon shades to help them cool down. If you have a larger area then try to plant tall trees around your cucumber plants that will provide them with the necessary shades. You can also provide shades by hanging clothes to block the sun about 40 to 50 %
#4 Good plant needs good soil
Even when all the required conditions are met things, can still go south. If your cucumber plants don’t get a good soil rich in natural nutrients no amount of fertilizers can save the day.
Your soil should be rich in organic matter with a pH between 6 and 7 for healthy and tasty cucumbers to grow. To ensure good soil you can add soil by replacing the old soil surrounding your tree. You can even use containers and a raised bed. It will help your soil to drain properly and let your plant breathe.
#5 Weeds should not be tolerated
The best way to protect your cucumbers from leaching weeds and crawling pests are to manually remove all of them in your cucumber bed and the surrounding area. Weeds near cucumber plants can cause bacterial wilt disease with the help of cucumber beetles. These Beatles along with the bacteria can suck out the life of the water-stressed plant. So prevention is better than cure.
#6 Get the attention of the pollinators
You need pollinators to turn your female flowers into juicy cucumbers. To get the maximum numbers of pollinators in your cucumber garden you must use decoy flowers. Poorly pollinated plants will not be able to convert flowers. Badly pollinated flowers will bear oddly shaped cukes rather than green and juicy ones. So you should plant attractive flowers in between your cucumber plants to attract the maximum number of pollinators. You should also be wary of invasive flower species.
#7 Contrary to popular belief
It may sound contradictory to previous tips but always provide cucumber plants with sunlight and fertilizers. Don’t get it wrong, these are very important supplements for any plant. While maintaining the temperature you should also provide cucumber plants with adequate sunlight to get the green colour. Also, avoid over-fertilizing. But when your plant is turning yellow, especially on the leaves, you should put more fertilizer than you think.
Following these tips would guarantee that your summer garden blooms with the perfectly juicy and delicious cucumbers. Enjoy these as tasty treats, toss them into a salad, cook them, use them to cook the authentic Indian raita, or bake them into crunchy chips- savour them as you wish.