Our cucumbers take pride of place in our summer vegie patch. While they may not look as perfect as store-bought cukes, they certainly make up for it with their sweet and refreshing home-grown flavour. In fact our cucumbers are so delicious that our little green thumbs are known to eat them plucked straight off the vine! Cucumbers are creepers so they’ll need to be trained vertically on a trellis when space is at a premium like in a small raised garden bed. They are prolific growers that will happily thrive from July-March in warmer climates and from September-January in temperate areas of the country. Although they require a little TLC, these green little beauties will keep you cool as a cucumber on scorching summer days.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
My First Garden
Cucumber seeds from your local nursery
Good quality potting mix
Liquid seaweed concentrate
Organic mulch (lucerne hay or pea straw)
Trellis or other climbing frame
HOW TO GROW
- Choose an area for your raised garden bed that gets plenty of sunlight (in very hot climates, provide them with some filtered afternoon shade).
- Prepare your garden bed with good quality potting mix and insert your chosen climbing frame.
- Sow your cucumber seeds directly into the patch.
- Water in with some liquid seaweed concentrate.
- Water briefly every day and then cut down to 3 times a week once seedlings appear. While cukes are definitely extra thirsty around fruiting time, they are subject to mould so it’s important not to water-log them.
- Apply a liquid seaweed tonic once a fortnight thereafter.
- Mulch around the base of plants to seal in soil moisture.
Note: To pollinate cucumber flowers, you’ll need bees. Encourage them into your patch by planting a variety of edible and non-edible flowering plants in its surrounds. If you’re really concerned, you can also hand pollinate.
AUNTY COURT’S COOL AS A CUCUMBER SANDWICHES
These are the perfect addition to an afternoon tea party.
2 small cucumbers, peeled into ribbons
6 slices of organic wholemeal or white bread
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
2 tsp chopped fresh dill and chives
- Combine butter, lemon rind and herbs in a bowl.
- Spread over 3 slices of bread.
- Place cucumber ribbons on top.
- Top with remaining bread, cut off crusts and slice into 3 fingers.
Cucumbers are made up of 96% water and contain potassium, which means they’ll actually help keep you hydrated, especially good for kids who are simply too busy to drink enough H20. They are also a good source of bone building vitamin K, the antioxidants vitamin C and beta-carotene and skin and hair-friendly silica. Slices of refreshing cucumbers are also perfect for reviving tired eyes!