If you ever wondered why you should choose vertical way of gardening, there are many benefits that come to mind. It is not a hot trend nowadays for no reason. Vertical gardening will save space in your garden and it will make it look neat and organized. Not only that, but it will also ease the harvesting process for you as a gardener.
Learn how to grow cucumbers vertically to get the most productive plant. Growing cucumbers vertically also save lot of space, which is suitable for small gardens.
Benefits of Growing Cucumbers Vertically
One advantage of Growing Cucumbers Vertically is that by this you can avoid a common problem of fruit rot associated with cucumber cultivation, which happens when fruit sitting in moist soil for long period of time. When you allow cucumber vines to grow up vertically, it improves the air circulation around the plant that prevents fungal diseases. Cucumber plants have sprawling habit and growing cucumbers vertically allow their leaves to absorb more sun, which result in healthy plant and large cucumbers. One more key benefit is that you can harvest the fruits more easily and in time.
They spread out over 12 to 20 square feet if grown in rows or hills. You can save this space by letting the vines expand upwards if you have a good support like a raised structure for the cucumbers. You can grow cukes in raised beds, containers, or small plots of land.
Preparation for growing cucumbers vertically
Choose the right container and trellis
For growing cucumbers vertically, you need a large container around 12 inches in depth and width. Because there are different varieties of cucumbers, each type gives a different amount in the end. For instance, if you grow a vining variety, it will grow tall, but if you grow a bushy variety, it will stay short.
Choose the trellis size/Erect a support
The cucumber vines need great support. You can easily install one using a wire mesh fence, garden netting, or trellis.
Trellis should not exceed the height of 6 feet, but should be somewhere around 5-6 feet tall. It should also be sturdy and shouldn’t topple. You need to install the support in a way that the lower edge is at least 6 inches above the level of the soil. In this way, weeding and cultivating will be much easier for you. The support is best placed in the back of the garden so that the mature vines don’t shade the other plants.
Prepare the planting area
The soil needs good care before the planting process. Prepare the planting area by tilling the soil around 8 inches deep. Then, mix in 1-inch layer of compost during the process of tilling, Using a sturdy garden rake, mound the soil along the trellis line. This needs to be done in order to raise the planting bed for round 2-3 inches above the garden level.
The planting process and propagation
The next step is sowing the seeds. Sow them directly on the desired place or in the pot. Then cover the seeds with about 2cm of soil. Then, let the seeds germinate. After the germinating process, seedlings will have a few leaves and it is time to transplant some of them. Transplant the healthiest ones in a larger pot or you can also transplant them on the frost-free ground. This needs to be done either in spring or in summer, because then the temperature of the soil is around 70 F (20 C). However, this does not count if you happen to live in tropical or subtropical places, where you can grow cucumbers all throughout the year. You can also add decomposed manure in the soil if you please.
What cucumbers require to grow well vertically
Expose cucumbers to sun whenever possible. They thrive on warm and sunny weather with as little wind as possible. It is important to note that cucumbers will not grow below a 50 F (10 C) temperature. The optimum temperature for growing cucumbers is ranging from 60 – 95 F (15 – 35 C).
The soil needs to be well-drained, deep, and loose. Also, richness in organic matter makes it better for the quality of the cucumbers. Another soil requirement is pH neutrality.
Watering is the most important factor of growing a successful cucumber plant. You need to water deep an on a regular basis to maintain soil moisture. This is so because of the high water content of the fruit. Irrigation needs to be done equal to an inch of rainfall every three to four days, and even more when the soil is sandy or in arid areas. You should never let the plants wilt. When the vines start to mature, you should increase the mulch to 3-4 inches deep. Another important point is that you need to be careful not to wet the foliage while watering as it can lead to development of fungal diseases.
During the process of planting, it is best to add all-purpose slow release fertilizer in the soil. The cucumber vines need to be lightly fertilized every two or three weeks with the help of foliar feeding. When the plant starts to flower, it needs to be treated with aged manure. You can also use a diluted liquid organic fertilizer at the root zone when watering the plants. Be careful not to overfeed the plant, because it may lead result in lush foliage, but few fruits and flowers.
-Keep cucumbers picked. In this way, the vines will continuously bloom and produce.
-Insect pests need to be handpicked to remove them from the vines.
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