UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA


Garden Help > Vegetables

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Pest management: Cucumber cultural tips, pests, and diseases

The Basics

When to plant

  • Transplant or direct seed: May–June. 
  • Cucumbers are very sensitive to cold. For best results, wait until daytime temperatures are regularly in the high 70s–80s and soil temperature is at least 65-70 degrees
  • Start in pots for transplants: April–May; ready to transplant in 4 weeks

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.

Care overview

  • Train vining cucumbers up a trellis, fence or another 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.

Possible problems

  • 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.

More links

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.

Other recommended varieties: Armenian, Burpee Hybrid, Chinese Cucumber, Early Triumph, Holland, Kidma, Lemon, Sweet Slice

* 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.

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