Soil and Site
Ridge (outdoor) cucumbers will grow in most well-drained soil but they
do not like acid soils. Prepare the soil a month or sow before sowing or
planting by adding lots of well-rooted compost. Work it into the soil
with a fork.
Cucumbers need lots of sun, they won't do well in shade
or partial shade. Also, choose a position which is not exposed to wind.
How to Sow and Plant Ridge Cucumbers
can be sown / planted in three different ways:
Sow seed indoors, harden them off for 2 weeks then
plant outside when the seedlings are about 15 cm (6 in) high.
Sow seed directly outside. We recommend that have
cloche protection in the early stage if you use this method.
Buy small cucumber plants, harden them off for 2 weeks
then plant outside.
The ideal method for growing cucumbers is to dig a trough
about 30 cm (1 foot) deep and wide. Fill in the lower 15 cm (6 in)
with well-rotted compost and then cover the compost with the dug
The dug soil will be higher than the surrounding soil, so form
it into a ridge. The picture on the left shows a cross-section
through the soil with the compost at the bottom and the dug soil
formed into a ridge.
If you have more than one ridge, then leave about 1.2m
(4 foot) between ridges.
Where your soil is very light and free-draining then the
ridge method is not suitable because the cucumber plant roots will not
have sufficient moisture. In this case, dig as described above but do
not form a ridge, leave a flat surface.
If you are sowing the seed directly outside, then
place the cloches in position three or four weeks before sowing.
This will warm up the soil and help the speed of seed germination.
Seed should be sown in
early May when all danger of frost has passed.
If you don't have a cloche, use large plastic
bottles with the bottoms cut off (see right).
Cucumber seed should be sown about 3 cm (1 inch) deep
and 60 cm (2 foot) apart. Sow three seeds in each position with the
pointed end of the seed downwards. Water well if conditions are dry.
Pot grown cucumbers should be hardened off gradually for
two weeks starting in
mid-April. When planting them out be
very careful to protect the delicate roots. The
best way is to force a pot of the same size into the soil. Remove the
cucumber plant and soil from the pot carefully by turning it upside down
and tapping the pot. Place the plant in the pre-formed hole in the soil
and fill in with sifted soil.
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