So, your backyard consists of a small porch or patio and the idea of growing a garden, let alone cucumbers, seems futile. However, a plot of dirt is not necessary to grow plants outdoors. Growing cucumbers in containers is an ideal way to garden if you don’t have the space for in-ground planting.
It’s surprising how many people pass up the opportunity to grow their own vegetables simply because they feel they don’t have a large enough backyard.
Container gardening is a popular solution to grow a wide variety of plants, flowers, and veggies if you have limited garden space.
Not only is planting cucumbers in pots easy, but it’s possible to grow them even if your outdoor space consists only of a small screened porch or patio.
All these plants need is the right amount of sunshine, fertile soil, and a large enough pot to accommodate their root system.
- Ways to Grow Cucumbers in a Container Garden
- Growing Cucumbers in Containers
- The Best Cucumber Plants for a Container Garden
- How to Grow Cucumbers in Containers from Seed
- Planting Cucumbers in Containers
- Using the Right Garden Soil to Grow Cucumbers in Pots
- Ways to Fertilize Cucumber Plants
- How to Maintain Potted Cucumbers
- Common Cucumber Problems and Ways to Fix Them
- Controlling Pests in a Cucumber Garden
- When and How to Harvest Cucumbers
Ways to Grow Cucumbers in a Container Garden
There are many cucumber varieties and many ways to plant them with limited space, including raised beds, pots, and containers.
We’ll explain the differences in cucumbers and containers and guide you on your way to growing the perfect salad and pickling cucumbers.
Growing Cucumbers in Containers
The first step in growing cucumber plants in pots is to find the right container for the job. A trip to your local garden center feels a bit daunting when you see the many varieties of cucumbers. Understanding the differences makes the job of choosing a container easier.
Garden containers are made of many different materials, including plastic, wood, clay, and metal. They also range in sizes, which is the most important thing to consider since bigger is better. Choose a container that holds about seven gallons of potting mix.
Ensure it has proper drainage holes, and add them to the pot’s bottom with a drill if there aren’t any. Pick a material that isn’t too heavy in case the cucumber plant needs moving.
The Best Cucumber Plants for a Container Garden
Before learning how to grow cucumbers in containers, it’s a good idea to understand the differences between plants to determine which ones grow well in a pot.
Some cucumber plants are vining and require a trellis and more space, while others are happy to grow in a raised bed.
There are many varieties of cucumber, but they fall into two main types, vining and bush. A salad bush cucumber and other bush varieties are ideal for growing in pots since these have short vines that only reach an average of two feet in length and don’t require a trellis. Growing bush cucumbers in pots is a favorite with many home gardeners.
While cucumber vines are better for growing in the ground, it is possible to plant them in a large container. These types grow up to eight feet, depending on the type, and need a pot with an 18-inch diameter and a supporting trellis.
Another thing to consider when searching for the right plant is the type of cucumber you desire. The perfect candidate for growing in pots is the Arkansas little leaf, a small parthenocarpic variety. These types do not need male and female flowers for pollination.
Pickling cucumbers are shorter and have thin skins, while slicing cucumbers are longer and tasty in salads and sandwiches.
The burpless types are seedless, thin-skinned, and do not contain cucurbitacin, the compound responsible for bitterness.
How to Grow Cucumbers in Containers from Seed
There are a couple of ways to plant cucumbers. In the spring, your local nursery often sells young plants ready to stick in the soil, but buying a seed packet is another way to grow veggies. Here is how to grow cucumbers in containers by planting seeds.
To grow cucumber seeds, plant them in peat moss pots and start them indoors three to four weeks before you plan on moving them outside. Fill the pots with a seed starting potting soil.
Make holes in the dirt, a half-inch deep and one-inch apart, and drop a seed into each hole. Cover them with potting soil and give them a drink of water.
Place them in front of a sunny window and keep them moist to encourage germination. After about a month, transplant the seedlings into their permanent container and move them outdoors.
Planting Cucumbers in Containers
If you decide not to fuss with planting seeds, planting cucumbers in containers is easier if you purchase a small plant. These plants have already begun to establish themselves and require slightly less growing time to produce cucumbers.
Fill the container with rich potting soil, add organic fertilizer, and make a hole in the middle that is large enough to accommodate the plant. Remove the cucumber plant from the pot and work the roots apart gently before placing it into the hole.
Fill the area around the roots with dirt, and pack it down lightly. Spread a mulch layer around the base, and water it thoroughly.
If you plan on growing a vine, position the pot near a trellis or place a tomato cage into the pot if you are growing bush-type cucumbers. Set the pot in an area where it receives about eight hours of full sun daily.
Using the Right Garden Soil to Grow Cucumbers in Pots
While your first instinct is to think that all dirt is created equal, this is not the case. There is a big difference between the dirt in your backyard and potting soil from your local nursery. Not only that, garden center soil varies from bag to bag.
The ideal soil mixture to meet the cucumber needs is equal parts of potting soil, compost, peat moss, and perlite. However, the easiest way to use the right soil for growing cucumbers is to purchase a premixed bag from your local nursery.
If you choose to grow your plants from seed, make sure to use a seed-starting potting mix. If you’re transplanting a seedling or young plant, use rich potting soil.
Ways to Fertilize Cucumber Plants
As much as we’d like to think that all a cucumber plant needs is some dirt to grow strong and healthy, it requires a bit more. These plants are heavy feeders, and fertilizers go a long way in producing a good crop of cucumbers.
Cucumbers need high potassium and phosphorus levels and low nitrogen requirements to thrive. The easiest way to achieve this is to purchase a store-bought fertilizer that contains the correct formula.
Add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil during the planting process to feed your plants throughout the season. This is also achievable by mixing well-aged compost with your potting soil.
How to Maintain Potted Cucumbers
There is more to be done after planting cucumbers in containers. These plants now need a daily dose of tender loving care from you to ensure they grow properly and reward you with an abundance of tasty cukes at the end of the growing season.
Water your cucumber plants regularly to prevent them from wilting and drying out. Potted plants require more watering to maintain a consistent moisture level than those in the ground, and cucumbers need a steady water supply to maintain good health.
Make sure your cucumbers receive at least eight hours of sunshine each day. Check the plants for disease and insect damage, and take care of the problem immediately.
Common Cucumber Problems and Ways to Fix Them
Unfortunately, planting a cucumber plant and giving it the food, water, and sunlight it loves is not always enough to keep it healthy. Sometimes these plants get diseases, and it’s essential to deal with cucumber problems as soon as you notice them.
Downy mildew creates yellow, angular spots on the leaves, and as the disease progresses, the leaves turn brown and fall off. Powdery mildew is a white residue that appears on the stems and leaves, while brown spots are a sign of leaf blight.
All of these conditions require a commercial fungicidal treatment or a DIY solution with Neem oil.
The best way to stop these diseases is to control garden pests such as aphids and cucumber beetles, use high-quality seeds and plants, and keep the pot free of plant debris.
Controlling Pests in a Cucumber Garden
Even though your plants are growing safe and snug in a container, it does not mean they aren’t prone to insect destruction, even if it’s growing on a patio.
Many garden pests find their way to your plants, and it’s vital to act immediately to prevent the destruction of your hard work.
Cucumber beetles are a cucumber plant’s worst enemy and top on the list for getting rid of in your container garden. These insects are a quarter-inch in size and have yellow and black stripes on their abdomen.
They produce worm-like larvae that feed on the cucurbit roots, and the adults make holes in the leaves, leaving them yellow and wilting.
Remove these insects by hand as soon as you notice them and place yellow sticky traps around the base of your cucumbers to catch them as well as other garden pests.
When and How to Harvest Cucumbers
Watching your plants grow and mature is only half the fun of growing cucumbers. The end of the growing season means it’s cucumber harvest time, and knowing when they are ready for picking is key to the tastiest cucumbers.
Most types of cucumbers are ready for harvesting 50 to 70 days after you plant them, and leaving the cukes on the plant too long results in a bitter-tasting veggie.
It’s best to harvest slicing cucumbers when they are dark, bright green, and seven to nine inches in length. Pick pickling cucumbers when they are two inches long for sweet pickles and three to four inches long for dill pickles.
To harvest them, wear gloves since some plants are prickly, and use garden shears to clip the stem about an inch away from the cucumber’s end to prevent the end from rotting during cucumber storage.
Growing vegetables is not an impossibility, even if you live in a city with a small backyard patio. Containers come in all types and sizes, and knowing which cucumber variety grows well in these pots goes a long way.
Providing your plants the necessary fertilizer, water, and sunshine helps them thrive and produce plenty of cukes for your dinner table.
Growing cucumbers in containers is an excellent way to have fresh veggies throughout the growing season, so why not share our container cucumber growing guide with your vegetable-loving friends and family on Facebook and Pinterest?