Cucumbers are a very popular vegetable among young and old. They are just the thing for a healthy and balanced diet. All information about harvesting cucumbers can be found in this text.

Harvest time of cucumbers

Of course, the time when cucumbers (Cucumis savitus) can be harvested depends on a number of factors such as

  • location
  • temperature
  • Care including water and nutrient supply

According to the time of sowing

In addition, the time of sowing must also be taken into account and whether the seed was sown in the greenhouse or outdoors from the end of April/beginning of May to July. The start of the harvest time can be brought forward a little if pre-cultivation takes place indoors or in a temperate greenhouse from mid-March to early April.

  • first cucumbers in the greenhouse from the end of May
  • outdoors from the beginning of July
  • Maturity reached about 3 weeks after flowering

Under good conditions, a harvest time can last until the end of October. It is then possible to harvest the cucumbers twice a week.

Tip: In comparison to cucumbers sown outdoors, buds and fruiting bodies are formed more quickly in cucumber plants that have been cultivated in advance.

By variety

The type of cucumber or the use of the cucumber also determines when the cucumber harvest can begin. Here the size is the decisive feature. Despite the different sizes, the cucurbits are ripe and edible. The rule of thumb for harvest time is this

  • small gherkins (cornichons) with a size of 4 to 6 cm
  • Pickled cucumbers (delicacy cucumbers) with a size of 6 to 12 cm
  • Cucumbers according to the individual varieties from 20 to 30 cm
  • Peeled cucumbers when the peel is yellow
Note: For a lush cucumber harvest, one main shoot should be left per plant and the first flowers must be removed. This stimulates the cucumber plant to produce more flowers and fruit.

Identify ripe fruit

With the right temperature and care, the fruits grow in just a few days. For this reason, regular harvesting is advisable. Therefore, the plants should be checked every two days. The fruits must not get too big and they should be harvested while they are still young. This is the time when they taste best and, by the way, have the highest vitamin content. If the fruit stays on the plant for too long, it will begin to water down and the taste will become bitter. The same happens in cold temperatures, rain or water that is too cold. The cucurbits are ripe when

  • they smell fresh and pleasant
  • have a dark green, even colour
  • they are tight
  • the shell is taut

In contrast, overripe fruit can be recognized by the following characteristics:

  • stains present
  • yellow to brown skin
  • unpleasant smell
  • bitter taste
  • soft ends
  • begin to rot
  • Seeds inside usually already germinated

Such fruits must be removed from the plant immediately, otherwise it will only be unnecessarily weakened.

Note: If the cucumber plant does not branch, it is because the plant is too dark. Cutting the tip can help. Potted plants should be moved to a sunny location.

Harvesting cucumbers: tips

Here are a few tips to help you harvest the healthy fruits properly:

  • preferably harvest in the morning or early morning
  • then contain most of the nutrients
  • use a clean knife
  • disinfect beforehand with disinfectant, hot water or alcohol
  • thereby preventing disease or pest infestation
  • sharpen knives if necessary
  • Shoots must not be crushed
  • otherwise poor closure of the cut surfaces
  • Simply separate fruit from plants

At the same time, the plant should be checked for damage during harvest. Withered leaves, diseased shoots and other dead plant parts must be removed immediately to prevent the spread of diseases.

Store cucumbers properly

If the cucumbers are not processed immediately, they must be stored properly. There are various options, including storage in the refrigerator, although opinions differ here. Things to note here

  • Storage in the vegetable compartment
  • below 4 °C the cucumber will already freeze
  • then becomes blotchy, squishy and yellow
  • Storage time up to 4 days

However, storage in a dark cellar or pantry is more optimal:

  • Temperature between 10 and 15 °C
  • do not store next to apples, tomatoes, bananas
  • these give off ethylene gas
  • Fruits ripen faster as a result
  • Storage time: 2 to 3 weeks
Note: The flowers should be removed in September so that the existing fruits can still ripen.

frequently asked Questions

Watering is important for a good cucumber harvest. These should be done regularly until harvest, but waterlogging must be avoided. Watering is done in the morning, if possible with not too cold, lime-free and low-salt water and then only the soil around the plant. Depending on the prevailing temperature, two to four times a week are sufficient. Long dry periods should be avoided. The fruits are then shed and have a bitter taste.

Yes, of course the plants need the right nutrients for a bountiful harvest. Compost, horn shavings or manure should be worked into the beds before planting. From July, then every 14 days, a re-fertilization must be carried out. Nettle manure diluted with water in a ratio of 1:10, cucumber fertilizer or guano are particularly suitable for this.

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