How best to grow .

Taranaki Daily News - - Property -

ver­ti­cally up a teepee or trel­lis or down the side of a raised bed to avoid mis­shapen fruit and to min­imise the risk of pests and dis­eases.

When tem­per­a­tures steadily hit the teens, they’ll start climb­ing and need lit­tle train­ing – once they reach the top they’ll climb back down again.

Liq­uid feed reg­u­larly, sur­round them with a thick layer of mulch and wa­ter them deeply once or twice a week so the plants don’t get stressed and the cu­cum­bers don’t be­come bit­ter.

Cu­cum­bers pro­duce both male and fe­male flow­ers on the same plant. Out­side, bees will do the pol­li­nat­ing for you.

If you’re grow­ing cukes in a glasshouse, use a soft makeup brush to col­lect pollen from the male flow­ers and dust it lib­er­ally on the fe­males (th­ese are the ones at­tached to tiny proto-cu­cum­bers).

Do this mid-morn­ing be­fore pollen loses vi­a­bil­ity and the flow­ers close up.

Va­ri­eties

Cu­cum­bers come in many dif­fer­ent shapes and sizes, from pale, round ap­ples to long green ones as well as prickly cu­cum­bers for pick­ling.

There are many va­ri­eties avail­able as seeds or seedlings from the gar­den cen­tre. ‘Le­banese’ and ‘Diva’ are pro­lific, don’t need peel­ing and can be picked small or left to grow with­out be­com­ing bit­ter, or try ‘Le­mon’, ‘Bur­p­less’, ‘Tele­graph’ or ‘Ten­der­green’.

Gherkins are pro­lific pick­ling

PHOTOS: NZ GAR­DENER

The plants are pro­lific, so one or two plants a fam­ily is usu­ally enough.

Cu­cum­bers pro­duce both male and fe­male flow­ers on the same plant.

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