If you ever visit me, one vegetable you won’t find lacking in my kitchen is the cucumber. This is because cucumber planting only takes a little work. Even though planting a cucumber is easier than planting a tomato, there is still a small issue of knowing how to space your cucumber plants.
If you fail to space your cucumber properly, you may harvest low-yielding, diseased cucumbers. But with proper spacing, you should be able to get a very high yield and enough crunchy cucumber to last you through the summer. Let’s look at how you should space your cucumber for the best results.
Cucumber Spacing: How To Go About it?
If you think of planting your cucumber at normal garden ground level, you must know how to space them. I particularly enjoy planting my cucumber seeds on my garden ground level because this method is easy and quick. When planting on ground level, you may plant in rows or groups. If you are planting in rows, plant the seeds about 10-12 inches apart, and the rows should be spaced about 18-24 inches apart. If you plan to walk between the rows regularly, you may need to give more space in the rows.
However, if you want to plant the cucumbers in groups, then you should plant the seeds with three in each group. The distance of each group from the next should be 18 inches.
Sometimes you would not want to plant cucumber seeds but purchase seedlings from a supermarket and transplant them into your garden soil. If the scenario described above is you, then there are a few things you should know. First, thumbs up to you for choosing to transplant because it will help you harvest if you live in an area with a short growing season. Finally, you should know that the roots of seedlings are very fragile and should be handled with care when transplanting.
Vertical growing is also another thing that can affect the spacing you will give to your cucumbers. Cucumbers grown vertically need to be supported using a fence, arch, or trellis. This is important because cucumbers that are grown vertically will grow upwards. If planting seeds at the base of the trellis, you should give them a four-inch spacing. This method is very good because the cucumber seedlings will not compete for light or air because they will grow vertically.
Even though cucumber seedlings won’t compete too much for light and air, seeds planted vertically using a trellis will compete for soil nutrients. So, it is important that you pay keen attention to your cucumbers and regularly support them with water and fertilizer.
On the other side, you may plant seedlings at the base of a trellis. The accurate spacing should be 6 to 8 inches apart if you opt for vertically planting cucumber on a trellis. This is necessary because transplants’ root systems are already developing strongly in their tiny pots or nursery packs. You want to lessen the likelihood that they will experience transplant shock by limiting the water and nutrient competition they will experience during their initial few weeks of growth.
Now that you know the right spacing when planting your cucumber in a garden ground or vertically using a trellis, the next is to know how to space cucumbers in a garden pot. The most important thing when planting cucumbers in a container is the soil volume the container can hold, and one seed should be planted to 2 or 3 gallons of soil volume.
If you choose the variety of cucumbers that have full-length vines, you will need to plant one per 5 gallons of soil volume. However, if you grow your cucumber in a pot along with other plants, it is important to always go for a bigger pot. This means that you will need to regularly water your plants and feed them fertilizer because of the high competition that will go on between the cucumbers and other plants.
Why Do I Need To Space My Cucumber Plant?
You may be reading all the spacing measurements for cucumbers and thinking, “why do I need to go through all this?”. Below are a few reasons why spacing your cucumbers properly is very important.
1. Space Utilization
Of course, there are other things you want to do with your space beyond just planting cucumbers—Like planting cucumber companions. Using a trellis, you will save more space when you plant and space your cucumber well. This applies to those who want to plant their cucumbers vertically, and vertical growing allows you more space for cultivating other plants.
2. Suppressing Disease
This is common sense. Even in animal husbandry, crowding animals together in a tight space is not a good idea as this can cause disease to break out and spread. The diseases that easily affect cucumbers are fungal ones, and fungal diseases thrive in humid conditions. So, if you pack your plants so close together, you will limit air circulation, allowing fungi to thrive. You should take proper spacing very seriously if you don’t want a disease such as downy mildew to ravage your plants.
3. Prevention of Pests
The ideal distancing of cucumber plants promotes healthy, uncrowded growth, which helps to ward off frequent pests. Naturally, healthier plants are more pest-resistant. You’ll want to deter cucumber beetles as much as you can by keeping your plants as healthy as possible because they can also spread a devastating virus known as bacterial wilt. Some pests that regularly attack cucumbers are whiteflies, aphids, flea beetles, and more.
4. Better Yield
The third reason you should space your cucumber is for better yield(You may be wondering why I didn’t lead with this reason). I purposefully left it for last because I expect every serious gardener to know the importance of good spacing in determining the results they get at harvest. As a rule of thumb, learn how to water your vegetables without soaking them.
Using a layman’s system, you may get a better yield by cramming as many seeds as possible in a confined space. However, the opposite is true. When you crowd seeds, they will compete for everything( water, air, nutrients, and fertilizer) as they grow. However, when you adequately space your cucumber plants, they will grow freely and yield better.