June 30, 2017

Growing Cucumbers Vertically

I have just recently started growing cucumbers vertically. For many years I grew my cucumbers by the old traditional method. Make a hill and plant a few seeds and let them grow out from the hill. This worked and I got plenty of cucumbers. However, I discovered that the older I get, the less I like bending over or crawling around on the ground looking for my veggies. That is why I started growing cucumbers vertically.

Most of my crops are either planted in raised beds or in raised planters. There is less bending, but also there are fewer weeds to deal with, it takes less water and overall just less work.

Raised Planter Boxes

Raised planters
Raised planters with lettuce, onions, and herbs.

The raised planters boxes are lined with pond liner and the bottom filled with about 4 inches of lava rock. The rock is covered with a weed block to keep the soil from filling up around the rock.

There is a piece of PVC on top of the weed block that has holes drilled in bottom and runs out one end. Soil is then used to fill the boxes. You water about once a week in hot weather. You know you have watered enough when it starts to run out of the PVC. Although, here it is almost July in Texas and I have yet to need to water. That will probably change soon.

Growing Cucumbers Vertically

Growing Cucumbers Vertically

To grow cucumbers vertically, I made a support using cattle panels from Tractor Supply. I just put in a few stakes down where I wanted the one side and placed the panel and bent it over and staked the other side. I put a pile of compost down the middle to keep moisture in, keep weeds down and provide nutrients to the plants. I have green beans on the one side and I am growing cucumbers vertically on the other.

I am growing pickling cucumbers that I bought online. I thought I would have to train the cucumbers to grow up the trellis, but they seem to do it well on their own. I still have several that grow near the bottom, but after you pick these most of the rest will be from the hanging vines. It is the same with the green beans, you initially have to get down and hunt for beans, but after a couple of weeks, they grow where you can pick without bending much.

I was going to try cantaloupe this way, but what I thought was cantaloupe turned out to be gourdes, so I pulled them up so as not to attract squash bugs.

Salad Cucumber from a wild vine
Salad Cucumber from a wild vine

As the plants get larger and larger, the easier it is to find the cucumbers. I am wasting less and less. They are just hanging there waiting for you to pick. I will definitely be growing cucumbers vertically from now on.

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