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Know your Veg
Discover Cucumber

Here’s the chance for you to discover some of the basic facts about Cucumber as well as some essential growing tips. Use these to decide whether you want to grow the salad vegetable, whether you are able to and what you need to do or look out for in order to grow a bountiful crop!

Cucumber Fact Sheet
Other names: Cucumis sativus
Appearance/taste: A creeping vine that bears cucumiform fruits with a mild, almost watery or light melon aroma.
Popular varieties: Burpless Tasty Green F1 and Marketmore AGM
Interesting fact: Pureed or sliced cucumber gives instant relief to sunburnt skin. Just place some against the effected area.
Nutritional value: An excellent source of vitamin K, copper, potassium, manganese, vitamin C, phosphorus, magnesium, biotin and vitamin B1
When to grow: Sow seeds March to May
Grown from: Sow seed singly on the edge of pots to prevent rotting, 1cm/1/2” deep, 3 to a small pot. Once the first true leaves have grown replant into 5” pots then harden off before planting outside
Likes: Half a metre between plants, feed weekly with liquid tomato feed once fruit begins, lots of sun, good soil and moisture; watering in dry spells; regular weeding around the root.
Dislikes: Frost and over crowding
Watch out for: Harvest when cucumbers are a good size but not too big by using a knife - do not pull off as you will damage the plant. Harvest regularly as leaving cucumbers to grow bigger will stop the development of new ones coming on.
Harvest time: 7-10 weeks from planting in mid summer when fruit is a good size
Cooking tips: Eaten raw, plus soups, dips, and pickle recipes
Essential Growing Tips for Cucumber
> Improving Soil/Feeding - Water regularly and feed with a general liquid feed if plants need a boost. Once the plants have got going feed weekly with tomato fertiliser
> Guide to Sowing and Planting - Indoor varieties will need to be supported by canes or netting to withstand the weight of several cucumbers. Outdoor varieties can be staked or allowed to trail with no supports. Cucumbers are thirsty plants and will need watering most days especially if grown under cover. The main shoot should be pinched out once the plant grows to 5 or 6 leaves high, this will encourage the plant to branch out.
> Problems to look out for - It is best to start your plants off under cover as this minimises the damage from slugs, snails and mice whilst the seedlings are still small. Cucumbers are susceptible to powdery mildew so always avoid spraying water on the foliage and aim the water at the roots. Sulphur dust can limit damage but badly damaged plants will need to be discarded and burnt.
> Harvesting and Storage - Most varieties will be at their best if you don’t leave them to grow too large. Do not store well as they start to go soft, but will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days but will keep firmer if wrapped.

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