How to Grow Pickling Cucumbers

Pickling Cucumbers

How to Grow Pickling Cucumber Plants in Your Garden

Pickling cucumbers are fun to grow. These “little” cukes grow just the right size for your favorite pickle recipe. They are tender and tasty, with smaller seeds than a regular-sized “Cuke”. Popular varieties include Boston Pickling and Homemade Pickling. For an Heirloom variety, try “Homemade Pickling”. Both of these varieties of pickling cucumber seeds are readily available in stores and online. Use this handy guide on “How to Grow Pickling Cucumbers”, and you’re sure to have a great crop this year. 

Pickling cucumbers are grown just like regular cucumbers. It is a vining plant. They will grow well on the ground, or on a fence or trellis.

People often ask if you can pickle a regular cucumber. The answer is yes. Of course, pickling cucumbers are preferred for their size, taste, and texture.

Planting Pickling Cucumber Seeds

Plan pickling cucumber seeds in rows or hills. Plant the seeds, one to 1 1/2 inches deep. When planting in rows, sow seeds 2 to 3″ apart. If you are planting in hills, plant four to five seeds per hill. After they have germinated, keep the best two to three. Cover very lightly with soil.

Indoor Starts: Pickling cucumbers are great candidates for an indoor start. Plant pickling cucumber seeds indoors 2-4 weeks before the last frost date in your area.  Sow 2-3 seeds in each peat pellet or peat pot.  Then, before transplanting into the garden, thin seedlings to one or two plants per pot.

Water on planting day, and if there is no rain, every two to three days until they germinate.

Days to Germination:  Seedlings will sprout in 3 -10 days, depending upon weather and soil conditions.

Final Spacing: Thin plants to 8 – 10 inches apart. Space rows 5′ apart.

Cucumber Seedlings

How to Grow Pickling Cucumbers

Grow Pickling cucumbers in full sun. 

Cucumber plants require well-drained soil. However, make sure to provide lots of water for fast growth, especially during hot and dry weather.

Like other members of the Cucurbita family, they are big feeders. Provide plenty of fertilizer high in nitrogen. Switch over to a more balanced fertilizer, after the flowers begin to bloom. A side dressing of fertilizer and regular feedings of fertilizer will significantly help the health of the plant and the size of the harvest.

When grown on the ground, keep the plants well weeded. Weeds can quickly overcrowd the low-growing plants.

We recommend growing pickling cucumbers on a fence or trellis. This requires much less garden space. And, the fruit will remain cleaner off the ground.

Tip: Cucumbers grow quickly and are at their best when picked before they get too big. Encourage new fruit development by picking regularly. Do not allow them to get overripe on the vine or they will slow down, if not cease bearing new fruit.

Ideal Soil pH: 5.5 – 7.0. Ideal Soil pH for Vegetables.

Also, see:

Plant Problems

Soil Temperatures – Ideal germination temperature by vegetable.

A Word About Hot Weather...

Cucumber plants do not like mid-summer heat and humidity. The leaves will wilt and can burn in the hot, midday sun. Using overhead sprinklers intermittently during the midday can alleviate the problem. Shade covers are also effective. Or, you can grow them in an area that is shaded to partially shaded from the midday sun. 

How to Grow Cucumbers - Insects and Pests

Like all members of the Cucurbita family, the Cucumber Beetle is the dreaded pest of cucumbers. Cucumber Beetles are either striped or spotted. They feed on the leaves of the plants and can cause even greater damage as they spread disease from one plant to another. They are effectively treated with most insecticides.

Public enemy number one to the Cucurbita family is the Squash Vine Borer which bores into the vine, usually near the taproot, and will eat right through the vine. Once it gets inside, the only way to kill it is to surgically remove it. Cutting Squash Vine Borers out of your vine is done by slicing up or down from the entry area until you find the pest. Then, apply fungicide around the wound to minimize disease.

A variety of other pests can also cause problems, depending upon where you live.

More on the Squash Vine Borer

How to Grow Cucumbers - Plant Disease

As a member of the Cucurbita family, cucumbers are susceptible to the same diseases as pumpkin and squash. These include both fungus and bacterial problems. Most notably, powdery mildew is a frequent problem. Treat with fungicides at the first sign of problems.

More on Powdery Mildew

Important Garden Tip: Importantly, keep the leaves as dry as possible when watering. Wet leaves promote powdery mildew and other plant diseases.  

How to Grow Pickling Cucumbers - Harvest Time

Days to Maturity: 50 to 65 days. Once cucumbers begin to ripen, you can usually harvest them for several weeks. They are profuse producers, too.

Once cucumbers begin to ripen, you can usually harvest them for several weeks.

The fruit is best while still young and tender. Older fruit turns sour, and the seeds are tough.

Plant Hardiness

The plants are tender annuals. They are susceptible to spring and fall frost. They grow best in temperatures between 60 to 80 degrees.

Making Homemade Pickle Recipes

Making pickles is easy. All it takes is salt, water, and pickling cucumbers, and your favorite pickling spices.  When it comes to pickling spices, home gardeners get creative, often using a variety of home grown herbs, to produce many different pickle flavors.  

Dill Pickle Recipe

Cucumbers and Your Health

Here are 10 reasons to eat cucumbers:

  1. Aids in digestion

  2. Aids in weight loss

  3. Controls blood pressure

  4. Cures Diabetes

  5. Fights cancer

  6. High silica content promotes silky hair

  7. Prevents headaches

  8. Reduces cholesterol

  9. Re-hydrates and re-mineralizes the body

  10. Relieves joint pain

How to Grow Cucumbers- Related Articles

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Dill Pickle Recipe

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