Cucumbers

By Lara DeHaven
The cucumber plants climb the arched cattle panel.

The cucumber plants climb the arched cattle panel.

Cucumber plants like to climb.  We have tried various things for them to climb like cyclone fencing and tomato cages.  These items served their purpose, but we have the best luck with a piece of cattle panel.  We had to buy a cattle panel for an unrelated project.  It only used part of it; therefore, a long, thin section of the panel remained.  It is about 16′ x 3.’

My husband, Lane, bent it into the shape of an arch.  He supported the panel at both ends with a metal t-post.  I formed a mound of soil around the ends of the panel.  Then I planted cucumber seeds on the inner and outer sides of the panel.  As the plants grow, their tendrils reach out and catch on to the panel.  They literally grow up the arch.

Sometimes a plant will have a hard time catching on to the panel.  If this happens, I help it out by wrapping its tendril around the panel wire.  The tendrils are sticky and curl tightly if not attached to anything.  I gently stretch out the tendril and curl it around.  However no matter how gentle I am, the tendril will sometimes break or refuse to hold.  Then I use zip ties, bread twist ties, or even pieces of nylon hosiery to tie the vine to the panel.

Cucumbers hanging on the vine.

Cucumbers hanging on the vine.

I think that growing cucumbers on an arch allows for easier access to the cucumbers.  As the cucumbers grow and ripen, they hang down from the arch; therefore, they are easier to find and harvest.

I have learned to water my cucumber plants very well.  If you don’t water them enough, their rind will turn yellow and/or they taste bitter.  If you pick a cucumber and it tastes bitter, then you can try this trick.  Cut the ends off of the cucumber.  Using the cut off ends, rub the sides of the cucumber in a circular motion.  Usually it will begin foaming.  Rub until the foam disappears.  Try the cuke, if it is still bitter there is nothing you can do besides feeding it to your chickens or worms.  However more than likely, the cuke should be edible.

If this is necessary with your cucumbers, remember to water them more.  The baby vegetables growing and ripening on the plant still have a chance to taste good.  Water is key to great tasting cucumbers.  As with so many garden vegetables, pick them daily.  It sometimes seems that they become enormous overnight.  Make sure to pick them before they grow too big.

My family really likes cucumbers.  They are excellent to eat raw, with dip, or in vinegar.  Of course, cucumbers are great pickled.  I should have enough to be pickling them soon.  We go through a lot of pickles in a year’s time.

If you like cucumbers and are frustrated with how they grow or how they taste, try these techniques.  Use an arch of cattle panel or some other material.  Most importantly, water them well.

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7 Responses to “Cucumbers”

  1. I had never seen this explained so well before. I do know that more and more people are growing all kinds of plants utilizing gravity to coax more size.

    You have a very nice website here Lara. I’d invite you to check out my new social experiment (tongue firmly in cheek.) It’s also a homesteading centered site, with a Forum included to provide much of the first person type accounts.

    Good Health and Blessings to yourself and family!

    Doug

    #268
  2. Lara DeHaven

    Thank you, Doug. I love the name of your site: theruralindependent.com I will have to check it out.

    #269
  3. Jacinda Shafer

    I have stubbled upon your site while I was looking for something some time ago. I marked in favorites to go back to again. Here I am again looking for ideas. I noticed your page in my list and thought I would ask you. What do you do to bring in the New Year? I am leader of our churches youth group and we are hosting the New Years Eve party.

    #577
  4. sarah

    I enjoy perusing your blog and get your regular updates via Google Reader and bookmarked this post a while back. I plan to try this method for cucumbers this year but on a smaller scale – my arch will only be 4 feet wide to fit within an existing raised bed. My question to you is, how many individual plants do you have growing on your arch? Do you think one plant on each inside end would be enough for the arch I have in mind? Thanks!

    #644
  5. Lara DeHaven

    Sarah,
    I do not think one plant would be sufficient. We plant seeds both inside and outside of the wire arch about 2 inches apart. This allows plenty of plants to make vines as well as give you an opportunity to thin out the cucumber plants if needed. Regardless how wide your arch will be, I would still plant the same way. Most probably your cucumber plants will completely fill your arch to make a stunning visual centerpiece of your garden. Your arch will not only be beautiful, but more importantly functional.

    #646
  6. Linda

    Loved your idea on using cattle panels to grow cucumbers up on. We raise cattle so have plenty of panels laying around. I have salvaged things from my husband’s junk before for growing plants on and up. I have been using a tent shaped a frame I found in his junk pile. I put chicken wire on it and plant my cukes up it. This year I am using it for peas so will try the cattle panel idea for my cukes! I can see all kinds of possiblities using cattle panels for vines! Thanks!

    #702
  7. Adrienne

    Practical AND pretty–just what I like! I’m going to try this. Thanks!

    #729

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