When learning how to train cucumbers, differentiate the methods for the polytunnel and the garden in the UK. Growing cucumbers in the greenhouse are advantageous for training them, and the stable conditions also prevent drawbacks in their development. But if you want to grow them outdoors, training them to grow vertically is equally beneficial.
More so, vertical training is not only helpful in saving space, but it also allows UK gardeners to grow cucumbers for slicing and pickling. The skill of training cucumbers will always help create both a neater and a productive British garden. You’ll also find that not having them tangled prevents problems and diseases.
How To Train Cucumbers: Growing Cucumbers Vertically At The polytunnel And Garden in the UK
When one says training cucumbers, it can pertain to using a trellis, string, or stake. After the seedlings emerge, you can create a neater British garden set-up and have the rows closer to each other. As a bonus, training the vines guarantees perfectly straight cucumbers.
For the greenhouse
As mentioned earlier, the polytunnel is an excellent place to grow cucumbers. You can treat it as you would a garden in the United Kingdom, but if you want to train them to grow vertically, the process is even more straightforward. You start by planting the cucumbers in pots and place a stake between each of them.
A helpful tip is to ensure that the vertical stake extends onto the overhang of the polytunnel roof and then place a string along the roof length horizontally. The cucumbers should grow upward and along the string. Over time, the cucumbers will hang down, making harvesting easier.
For the garden in the UK
Training cucumbers in the UK garden is quite similar, but you’re placing the stakes directly into the soil between each plant. You then tie the wire along the top of each stake horizontally until you’re satisfied with its stability. The cucumbers should grow vertically, but the UK gardeners often tie the plant onto the support to maintain stability.
A trellis or wire mesh at the back of the garden in the UK works well as support as long as it is around 6 feet high. Aim to have the end at 6 inches above the soil so that you can remove weeds comfortably later on. However, be mindful that you are not shading other plants when positioning the trellis.
Training and growing cucumbers vertically
You have probably seen how one can expect the cucumbers to grow vertically through the stakes in both areas. To help with success, it’s essential that you also twine the plants themselves around the support. Remember that you still need to guide the cucumber vines, and in some cases, you may need to tie them in place as the tendrils are struggling to cling.
You can use clean rags for the cloth strips, but make sure that they are soft and don’t tie them too tight. Loose loops around an inch in diameter are enough to guide the cucumbers and allow the growth of the vine stem. Once the cucumbers have bound securely, you can cut or remove these cloth strips.
How to encourage growth and fruiting? The good thing with training cucumbers is you prevent the vines from getting tangled, which makes drying and prevention pests easier. However, you still need to do other practices, such as maintaining the soil moisture and fertilising every two weeks using a liquid fertiliser.
As the vines mature, you can also mulch and pinch the flowers, tendrils, and sideshows. With the latter practice, you want to continue pinching these parts until the plant successfully clings to the wire. Once that happens, you can have the sideshows run along the wire or string horizontally.
Should You Prune Trained Cucumbers?
Over time, you will need to prune the vertical cucumbers to make the area more manageable. First, start from the bottom to give the plant space on the trellis to fill later on. You can also remove the fruits and lateral runners in this area.
However, make sure you’re not removing the main vines and you’re not crushing the stem when pruning.
Companion Plants For Trained Cucumbers
Vertical cucumbers allow better use of space, but vegetables like tomatoes, corn, cabbage, broccoli, and peas will also make great companion plants for trained cucumbers. Just make sure that you are giving every crop its requirements, such as spacing and light. It’s also worth noting to avoid planting herbs and potatoes with cucumbers.
Harvesting Trained Cucumbers
You can harvest cucumbers a week after flowering just before the seeds mature and the fruits get too large. Gardeners in the UK recommend regularly picking to encourage the production of the plant. The fruits should store well for two weeks at 55°F.
Gone are the days where you have a cluttered UK garden of cucumbers. With some stakes, wire, and a trellis, you can learn how to train cucumbers indoors and outdoors. The process is as simple as placing the stakes between each plant or pot and having the string or wire horizontally.
You may also need to guide the cucumbers by twining them around the support or tying with cloth strips until they’re secured. Afterwards, maintain soil moisture and fertilise every two weeks to encourage growth. You can also pinch the sideshows, flowers, and tendrils until the plant reaches the wire and then train the sideshows onto it.