Cucumbers are not only valued as a delicious and healthy food, but are also widely used in skin care because of their specific ingredients. The cosmetics industry brings a variety of skin care products such as cucumber lotions or cucumber milk onto the market every year.

Cucumbers growing in the garden

A basic distinction is made between free-range cucumbers and greenhouse cucumbers. The latter can only thrive in greenhouses, as they are extremely sensitive to cold and draft. A distinction is also made between two main types: cucumbers and pickled cucumbers. Depending on the type of cucumber, the growing time can vary between 50 and 70 days. Cucumber plants are either climbing plants that can reach a height of up to three meters or prostrate bushes. Cucumbers thrive best in dry, sunny weather and well-drained soil.

Two cucumber plants are enough to meet the needs of a family of four. If you want to harvest fresh cucumbers from your own garden until late summer, you should plant two cucumber seedlings. The first in mid to late May, the second in late June to early July. The cucumbers ripen for around six weeks, provided that they are harvested regularly.

Sow cucumbers correctly

Cucumbers can be sown in the heated greenhouse from mid-March. Outdoor cucumbers can be sown on a windowsill or in the greenhouse, but not before mid-April, as the young plants must not be too big when transplanting into the garden. The following steps are required for correct sowing:

  • Fill the pots halfway with potting soil
  • Put two to three seeds in each pot and cover with soil
  • Keep it evenly moist and ensure the correct temperature of at least 20 degrees Celsius
  • If the leaves of the seedling look over the edge of the pot, the weaker leaves must be removed. The pot is filled with earth. This makes it easier for the cucumber seedling to take root.


Depending on the weather conditions and the region, the time for planting may vary. It is important that there is no more frost. Pickles need a warm and sunny location, which is ideally also sheltered from the wind. The cucumber bed should be enriched with organic fertilizer, the soil properly loosened. Since cucumbers, as prostrate bushes, require a lot of space, only one row should be planted in the middle of the bed, with a distance of 15 to 20 centimeters between the individual plants is optimal. After setting, nothing should stop the young plant from growing further. However, young plants are sensitive to heat and wind and can die at a temperature of around five degrees Celsius or if the wind is too strong.

It is therefore advisable not to sow the cucumbers until mid-May. The young plants grow faster on black mulch film and covered with fleece. The mulch film increases the floor temperature by four degrees Celsius. Before planting, it is important to harden the young plants by putting them outside during the day. Overgrown plants should not be planted under any circumstances and should rather be brought to the compost. Because with plants that are too big, growth stagnates after planting, which you cannot get under control again. With cucumbers, it is optimal if they have two to a maximum of four real leaves when they are planted. Pickles should have two to three leaves of leaves. When planting out, make sure that the roots remain intact.

Transplant in the greenhouse

As soon as the young plants have reached a height of around 25 centimeters, they are transplanted to their permanent location in the greenhouse. The distance between the individual plants should be at least 60 centimeters. As a rule, cucumbers are placed in large tubs in the greenhouse to avoid soil replacement. After the season, the soil is put on the compost. Alternatively, it can be spread around the garden. The cords hanging down from the roof of the greenhouse serve as a climbing aid for the cucumber plants. The cords are twisted around the stem in a spiral and rewound over and over again. When the cucumber plant has reached the greenhouse roof, the top is cut off. The side shoots should be shortened after the first bloom in order to counteract the wild growth of the plant.

Proper care

Under no circumstances should cucumber plants suffer from drought, otherwise the cucumbers will become bitter. In the greenhouse, the plants should be supplied with lukewarm water, for example from the rain clays. Heavy evaporation and premature drying of the soil can be prevented with a layer of mulch. As soon as the first fruits are there, liquid fertilizer can be used every two weeks. On hot days and when the plants are growing, make sure that the humidity is correct, which is 60 percent. Spraying the earth helps to increase the humidity, which has fallen sharply.

In the case of outdoor cultivation, attention must be paid to snails, which like to eat young cucumber plants. To avoid diseases, the cucumber plants can be pollinated with network sulfur from time to time. It is very important to ensure that there is sufficient air exchange in the greenhouse. When watering the cucumber plants, make sure that the leaves remain dry.

Pests and diseases

Free-range cucumbers sometimes have a bitter taste. The following causes can lead to this:

  • Too cold irrigation water is used
  • Lack of water
  • Cold nights

Bitter-free varieties are now available on the market.

Leaf spot disease
The so-called leaf spot disease is characterized by the fact that the leaves form brownish spots which later dry out and create holes in the leaves. The fruits are also affected. They can shrink or develop brownish spots as well. The infestation can be stopped by spraying copper. No cucumbers or vegetables from the pumpkin family should be grown on the bed for at least three years.

Burning spot disease
This is the case when stems, leaves and fruits show gray-brown sunken spots. This fungal disease occurs mainly in cold weather and too high humidity. If that happens, the infected plants should be destroyed and the affected bed should not be grown for three years.

Powdery mildew
This disease occurs when there is drought in warm periods. The leaves have floury-like spots. Over time, they get darker and eventually fall off. Stems and fruits can also be affected. The spread of this disease can be slowed down by removing affected leaves and watering properly. Spraying with garlic stock or diluted milk can also help.

Downy mildew
often occurs with prolonged moisture. Similar to powdery mildew, this is a fungal disease. First yellow spots develop on the upper side of the leaves, which later turn brown. The underside of the leaves has a white-brown mushroom coating. After this infestation, the leaves quickly wither. Downy mildew can spread to all crops within a few days. Here, too, diseased plants must be destroyed immediately. In addition, a break from cultivation must be observed, which is at least three years.

The cucumber wilt
This occurs mainly in greenhouses. Cucumber wilt can also be caused by cold and waterlogging. Affected plants die quickly. The following preventive measures are recommended:

  • Ventilate the greenhouse frequently
  • Make sure the soil is loose and thereby supply the roots with sufficient oxygen

The same applies here: The infected plants should be destroyed and a three-year break in cultivation should be taken on the affected bed.


Cucumber plants require humus-rich, loose soil. They should be fertilized with natural means, preferably with compost and manure, ideally with horse manure. If neither compost nor manure is available, horn meal or horn shavings can be used. These two fertilizers are commercially available. Horn meal is very finely ground and works faster, while horn shavings have a long-term effect.

manure This manure is very suitable as a fertilizer for cucumbers and is quite easy to make:

  1. Put about one kilogram of nettles in a ten liter bucket and fill the bucket with water. Place the bucket in a sunny corner in the garden and stir the mixture daily.
  2. After a few weeks, when the nettle manure is dark in color, pour the mixture through a sieve and dispose of the plant remains.
  3. Mix the liquid manure with water in a ratio of 1:10 and use it to water the cucumber plants once a week.

Cucumber varieties

The cucumber, also known as the snake cucumber, is the most common type of cucumber that is mainly grown in greenhouses. Field cucumbers are often referred to and marketed as “land cucumbers”. Pickling cucumbers also grow outdoors. Depending on the variety, they can be smooth-skinned or spiked. Pickling cucumbers are harvested immature and sorted according to size, with smaller grades than gherkins and pickled cucumbers in canned glass on the market. Another variety that is also grown outdoors is the peeled cucumber. It is harvested when it is ripe and, prior to further processing, comes onto the market as a mustard cucumber.

Harvest, storage, conservation

Depending on the variety, cucumbers can be harvested from mid-July. Regular harvest promotes the subsequent ripening of further fruits. Salad and pickled cucumbers are harvested unripe, while peeled cucumbers are allowed to ripen longer. From mid-August, the plant should be able to focus its resources on the ripening of the fruits that are already there. For this purpose, new flower approaches should be clipped off.

Pickled pickles and pickles have a very long shelf life and are edible. Fresh cucumbers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

Cucumbers – the healthy vegetable with few calories – have a water content of around 95 percent. This makes them an excellent fluid supplier, especially in summer. Cucumbers are also very rich in vitamins, especially vitamins from the B group and vitamins C and E. The minerals represented are: calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium as well as potassium and phosphorus. Many vitamins and minerals are mainly found in the cucumber peel, which is why the cucumber should be eaten with the peel. The prerequisite for this, of course, is an untreated shell. Another important ingredient is the erepsin enzyme. It has the property of breaking down protein, thus helping meat to digest better and has a bowel cleansing effect.

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