A single cucumber plant can spread out over 12 to 20 square feet when grown in traditional rows or hills. But one way to make better use of space and maximize yields is to grow cucumbers vertically – that is, to let the vines expand upward instead of outward, by supporting them on a raised structure. This is a perfect space-saving solution for anyone growing cukes in containers, raised beds, or other small plots of land (like a narrow side yard).
Choosing Container and Trellis
If you’re growing cucumbers vertically in containers, prefer large containers that are about at least 12 inches deep and wide. How many cucumber plants you can grow in such a container depends on the variety you are planting. A vining variety grows tall and send long roots, whereas bushier varieties are short.
Choose a 5 to 6 feet tall trellis that is sturdy and doesn’t topple. If growing climbing varieties use “A frame trellis” so that the plant crawl up and down from it easily.
Propagation and Planting Cucumbers
Sow seeds directly onto the desired spot or in small pots. Cover them with about 2 cm of soil. Once the seedlings germinate and have a few leaves, transplant the healthiest ones into a bigger pot or on the frost free ground in spring or summer when soil temperature is around 70 F (20 C). If you live in tropical or subtropical climate, you can grow cucumber year round.
Cucumber plant is a heavy feeder like tomatoes, prepare your soil well before planting by incorporating decomposed manure and compost.
Requirements for Growing Cucumbers Vertically
Cucumber loves a warm and sunny exposure that is less windy. It does not tolerate temperature below 50 F (10 C). Optimum temperature to grow cucumbers fall in the range of 60 – 95 F (15 – 35 C).
It prefers well drained, loose and deep soil, rich in organic matter and neutral in pH.
Regular and deep watering is the key of productive harvest, when growing cucumber. It is due to the high water content of its fruits. While watering, avoid wetting the foliage as it may encourage fungal diseases.
At the time of planting add all purpose slow release fertilizer in soil. Once the plant starts to flower, side dress the plant with aged manure. Also apply balanced liquid fertilizer at that time according to manufacturer’s instructions.