Seriously, If I can grow Cucumbers in containers, you can too. The thing going for you as a small space grower is that Cucumbers don't require a lot of space, and provided you you can supply a climbing structure for them to grow vertically and the following conditions you should be able to grow these fabulous salad and pickling veggies just as I do!
Cucs are Summer vegetables. In temperate and subtropical areas, sow and plant cucurbits (the family of Melons and Cucumber types) seedlings from September to January. In cooler areas, start plants in pots in September and grow them under glass until the soil is warm enough for planting in October/November.
If you want to know more about growing zones, refer to my Blog entitled Know Your Balcony Garden Growing Zone
Cucumbers generally don’t like root disturbance and can be difficult to transplant but I have success with either method in containers. Just be gentle with their root balls. My policy is, if you're running late, a little impatient to get started or just don't have the time or space to be tending seed tray, just purchase your seedlings from the nursery.
There are two forms of Cucumbers, "vining" and "bush", and within these, many varieties of Cucumbers. Personally, I like to grow vining varieties that climb vertically, allowing you to use the unused airspace in your small space. Bush or patio varieties are meant to be great space saves however, I find that their low profile makes them more susceptible to mildew issues and one pot will generally only support one bush plant comfortably if a bush variety. Great if you have room for multiple pots so that you can get a better yield. Growing up gives them access to airflow and light. Again, check your growing area requirements and select a variety that suits your climate or micro-climate.
As is true with growing most vegetables and fruits in containers, bigger is much better when choosing your container .
I would recommend starting off with a container of no less than 35cm wide and 40cm deep for Cucumbers, this would be a volume of roughly 35-39 Litres of potting mix for 3 Cucumber seedilngs.. If you have slightly more room, try a 78 or 95 Litre grow bag as a mini garden bed of Cucumbers. Six seedlings will grow comfortably in these sizes. Bush varieties will be happy cascading over the edge if raised off the flooring or supported by something like a tomato cage. I'd recommend only planting one Bush Cucumber per 39 Litre pot.
Vining varieties need a trellis support and and will be a taller plant that produces more fruit than a bush variety. Depending on the pot size you could plant 2 or 3 to climb upwards.
🥒Your Cucumbers will need 6-8 hours of full sun.
🥒Cucumbers depend on a consistent level moisture and good drainage. If a container is too small, it contains only a small amount of soil which will dry out fairly quickly unless you use a self-wicking pot or install a terracotta Olla Waterpot in the container, that takes the guesswork out of watering your plants. Our fabric Root Pouch grow bags are perfect for growing Cucumbers paired with our range of Ollas. They are 100% food safe, prevent rot cycling and have excellent drainage.
🥒Cucumbers are heavy feeders and need a medium to lightweight potting mix that is rich with organic material. Most commercial mixes will have enough fertilisers within to feed this hungry plant, so you won't need to add more. I always encourage second time round Balcony growers (if you've grown for one season already and now have spent mix needing to be refreshed) I'd recommend our Make Potting Mix At Home Guide that explains how to refresh your soil. Some liquid fish emulsion is a great fertiliser if you need to add this during the growing season.
🥒Trellising is needed for vine varieties which will keep them growing upwards towards the light.These can easily be made with found objects such as wash lines, chicken wire, garden stakes of bamboo, dog fencing, strings (dangled from a frame or eave) or bought at the nursery or hardware.
🥒Watch out for pests and disease - Powdery Mildew is one of the most common problems that can affect photosynthesis and growth. Try to keep water off the leaves which is the condition the mildew thrives on. Wet weather will exacerbate this condition and once it is spotted, you can use a natural homemade remedy that I run through in my Blog How to Treat Powdery Mildew in Your Small Space
So enjoy your Cucumber journey! With all the right conditions above you will be rewarded with these ridiculously rapid growing Cucumbers. They almost seem to grow before your very eyes! The more you harvest, the more will grow.
Do you want to enjoy your holiday away from your precious pots and not worry about how your garden is doing while you're away? It can be difficult to leave your garden for a holiday or work travel. This is especially true if you have a vegetable garden. A little preparation ahead of departure day will give your small space garden the very best chance of surviving without you! Plants in pots tend to dry out quickly.