Pest management: Cucumber cultural tips, pests, and diseases
When to plant: Cucumbers need warmth (temperature of 60F or higher) to thrive. They can be direct seeded in the garden after the soil has warmed in May or June. They can also be started indoor 2 -3 weeks prior to transplanting to the garden.
Harvest window: Cucumbers should be picked frequently, every one or two days. Plants will stop or slow production if older fruits stay on the vine. Harvest at recommended size which depends on variety, typically 6-7 inches for slicing cucumbers and 2-5 inches for pickling. Overmature cucumbers will turn yellow.
- Plant in full sun in fertile soil. Space according to packet or plant tag directions.
- Train vining cucumbers up a trellis, fence or other kind of support for easier harvest, straighter fruits, and to prevent diseases.
- Water regularly to keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. Mulching will help retain moisture.
- Some cucumbers are prone to bitterness, especially at the stem end and under the skin. Good cultivation practices help reduce the likelihood of bitterness (growing in full sun, providing regular water).
- If your garden lacks pollinators, you can pollinate by hand. Consider planting flowers that attract beneficial insects and avoiding using insecticides that may kill desired insects such as bees.
- Keep an eye out for pests attracted to cucumbers, especially cucumber beetles, snails and slugs.
- Remove any plants infected with mosaic virus as soon as they are detected to reduce continued spreading of the disease.
- UC Davis Vegetable Research and Information Center (includes some recommended varieties)
- Santa Clara County Cucumber Trial
- Dealing with Western spotted cucumber beetle
Some Recommended Varieties for Santa Clara County*
|Japanese Climbing||Taste testing winner for green cucumber at Master Gardener cucumber trial. Good variety for climbing. Fruits are 7-9” long by 3” in diameter. Good for slicing.|
|Marketmore 76||Top production in trial.|
|Stallion White||Taste testing winner for white cucumber at Master Gardener cucumber trial. Burpless, 6 to 8 inches long. Crisp and sweet. Very good flavor. High yielding. The favorite.|
* Many other varieties may also do well here in Santa Clara County. See tested varieties in the above article: Cucumber Trial. This list is based on UC Master Gardener trials, taste tests, and feedback from local growers.