Vines and Other Climbing Plants


Cucumber – Outdoor + Indoor.

Put simply there are two types of Cucumber, Indoor and Outdoor. For the greenhouse it is best to grow the all female F1 types, because otherwise you must go round every day and pick off every single male flower from every plant. If you don’t and the female flowers get pollinated, it will result in bitter Cucumbers. Female flowers can be distinguished from male by the tiny embryo fruit behind the flower the same as in Melons.

Cucumbers are true climbers as they are vines with tendrils and only need the support of canes like tomatoes. They do not need special support for the cucumbers themselves unlike melons. 

A growbag is quite suitable as a growing medium for cucumbers, but their roots do spread well. However, as only one plant should be needed unless catering for a big family, it may be better to grow them in a large bottomless pot placed on a mound of soil.

There are many difficulties in growing Cucumbers, so they are not for the rank amateur. Red spider mite is one of the most common pests and can be avoided by keeping very high humidity levels around the plants. Constant watering and spraying around the plants is needed on warm, or sunny days. Cucumbers do not like drafts, so a curtain round the growing area to partition off part of the greenhouse is almost essential. One thing in their favour is their easy germination from seed as long as you remember that flat seeds are placed on their edge when sown.

Indoor Cucumbers will harvest somewhat earlier under glass than outdoor grown types. Outdoors varieties used to produce small, dumpy, lumpy, bumpy, Cucumbers, but now new varieties will yield long, smooth fruits that rival indoor grown fruit albeit they are a little smaller. Again outdoor varieties used to be called “Ridge Cucumbers,” simply because they were grown on a ridge of soil to provide good drainage, but again this need not be the case.

Outdoor Cucumbers are climbers, and can be grown up canes for support like the indoor varieties, but they are often left to scramble on the ground like pumpkins. Apart from varieties producing the regular Cucumber shaped fruits, there are Apple Cucumbers that yield ovoid, duck egg sized fruits and the small Gherkin types that are only 4inches long and usually used for pickling.

Regular picking is needed to encourage a constant supply of more fruit with outdoor plants and generally speaking the over all yield will be more than for greenhouse types. The very big difference with outdoor against indoor plants is that fertilization of the female flowers is essential and the male flowers must not be removed.

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