Growing cucumbers in pots are quite popular as everyone wants to enjoy this popular summer vegetable. Growing cucumbers in containers is a little challenging as they feature sprawling vines.
However, this doesn’t mean you can grow them in containers successfully. The secret is to choose compact varieties that occupy little space. For vines that grow long, you need to train the vines up the trellis.
Cucumbers are heavy feeders and require a lot of water. So growing them in containers requires some extra effort. You need the right soil mixture and the perfect size container.
What is the best soil for growing cucumbers in pots? How about the best containers? Keep reading below to learn more.
Cucumbers require nutrient-rich soil and a lot of moisture. They require sunshine and warmth throughout the year for maximum fruit production. The biggest challenge to growing cucumbers in pots is meeting the right conditions.
Growing them in containers allows one to control the heat and moisture they need. They also need a lightweight medium for excellent drainage. So, the right containers must hold enough medium to ensure good drainage.
Let’s see the best soil mixture for growing cucumber.
Best soil mixture for cucumber
Cucumbers can grow in a variety of soils. But the ideal soil must be nutrient-rich and loose. Loose soil is well-drained to ensure roots don’t get too wet for long. When cucumber roots get too wet for too long, they tend to rot causing the plant to wilt.
Generally, you need to avoid heavy soil that doesn’t drain well. You can make a lightweight medium that is rich in organic matter. This is done by mixing compost with soil in a 50-50 ratio.
If the soil is void of organic matter, add 4-6 inches of compost. You want the soil to be nutrient-rich, but also loose. You can also add potting mixtures from your local stores.
How about the soil pH? Cucumbers need a soil pH of 6 to 6.5.
You also need the soil temperature to be above 60 degrees F. Cucumber seeds will not germinate at temperatures below 60 degrees F. seeds usually germinate in 3-10 days. At high temperatures of 60 degrees F, seeds germinate in 3 days. The seeds take much longer to germinate when temperatures are low.
Apart from the temperatures and soil pH, you can also perform soil tests to ensure the soil meets the required nutrients. You can add a slow-releasing fertilizer. Fertilizers and lime are best applied after conducting soil tests.
During pre-plant, you need to apply 3 pounds of 5-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet. You can add more nitrogen fertilizer one week after blooming.
Lastly, you need to monitor the soil moisture content throughout the growing season. Cucumbers grown in containers need more water than those grown in the ground.
Best pots to grow cucumber
With the right soil, next, you need the right pot size and type. The best containers for cucumbers are plastic and ceramic which retain moisture well. You need to create holes at the bottom of these containers for efficient drainage. But metal and wooden boxes can also be used. However, you need to monitor moisture content more often as wood doesn’t retain moisture well.
Apart from the container materials, you also need to consider the size of the containers.
The ideal size of the containers should be at least a foot deep or more. The bigger the pot size, the better. You’ll get more harvest with bigger pots. You also need a pot that’s at least 20 inches wide. This can accommodate up to four plants.
A single cucumber plant requires a 5-gallon container that is at least 10 inches wide. You can fit two or three more plants in the same containers. But this depends on the cucumber variety.
You also need to provide excellent support for the cucumbers as they grow. To start with, the containers need excellent support to prevent tipping.
As the cucumbers start to grow, you need to provide support for the vines. Apart from the dwarf varieties, you need to provide support for most cucumber plants.
You can add a trellis or a teepee of sticks when planting. This will provide support for the plant as they grow. Apart from trellis as sticks, you can also add tomato cages. As the cucumber plants grow, gently tie them to the stakes.
Overall, growing cucumbers in containers are easy when you know the best varieties to grow, the best soil mixture, and the right container. The key to the successful growth of cucumbers in containers is a steady feed, ample water, and close monitoring.
You need to check the moisture content regularly to ensure the soil is never dry. Also, make sure to check cucumber fruits are ready for harvest as they grow pretty fast. More fruits develop once you harvest mature ones.
I suggest you follow this great article from Backyard Gardeners Network for an in-depth guide on growing cucumbers in pots: https://backyardgardenersnetwork.org/how-to-grow-cucumbers-in-pots/.