Sunday 19 May 2013

Cucumbers. Dare I plant them out?

My cucumber seeds were sown on the 26th April, and since then have been living under the Growlights. This has made them grow exceptionally strong and even. The Growlight House has been a real boon in the poor weather conditions we have endured so far this year. I don't know how I managed without it.

I have eight cucumber plants in all - four each of "Melen F1" and "Iznik F1" - both Lebanese or cocktail types, whose fruits only grow to about 6" / 15cm in length.

However, the plants are getting quite big now and it is time they were planted out, or at least began their process of hardening-off. I'm feeding them regularly with Baby Bio plant food, because there can't be much nutrition left in the compost in their tiny 3" pots.

Last year it took my cucumbers a long time to get going, because I think I planted them out too early and they hated the cold conditions, so this year I'm being more careful. I had been hoping to put them out in my big Woodblocx raised bed, this weekend, with protection from some bell-cloches, but with night-time temperatures still in single figures I think this might be premature. Instead I will put them outside in one of the mini-greenhouses during the day and bring them in at night, for at least a while longer. Maybe by the end of next week things will have improved?

In due course I plan to have two sets of 3 plants each, growing up wigwams of bamboo canes, with one plant of each variety held back in reserve - as is my normal practice. Last year my "Iznik" plants grew a lot taller than the info on the seed packet had led me to believe, so this time I will probably provide them with 6-foot canes instead of 4-foot ones. (That's if I have any canes left over after building the wigwams for the beans!).

On a totally different subject, since several of you expressed an interest in Good King Henry when I wrote about it the other day, I would like to show you some photos of it being prepared for culinary use. (Just don't build your hopes up concerning its culinary merits!)

As harvested. Lots of leaf - use like spinach

Trimmed - stand the shoots in water until ready to use. They wilt quickly

Ready for cooking- stems are a bit like PSB


  1. eeeek ! Just planted my cucumbers out today in the raised bed with a poly tunnel over them as they were starting to wilt I think from being in the small pots.

    Now I'm worried - couldnt you have posted this yesterday?! ;)

    I'm taking no risks with the black and yellow cherry tomatoes though - they're also in pots that are too small and flowers are on them, but Im not planting them out until beginning of June. I have the growbags ready in the bottom of the zip up greenhouse but I'll give it about 2 weeks yet, what do you think?

    1. My tomato plants are already outside, and doing OK, despite colder nights than I / they would like. I'm sure your cucumbers will be OK if they are in a polytunnel.

  2. I'm keeping my Cucumbers in the poly tunnel until at least the end of this month. Still some cold to come I fear.

  3. Thanks for the advice. I just hope there's no freak frosts. We did plant out some tomatoes into grow bags in the zip u green house but that was inadequate and frost got in there and killed them, so wouldn't hold out much hope on a poly tunnel!

  4. The cucumber plants look very healthy; I hope we have a good summer and they do well.

  5. I keep debating when to put the first beans in the ground. Sometimes we get really cold weather at the end of May. It is probably better to wait a bit, but I think I might start the planting soon anyway. I can always replant.

  6. We have only just sown our cucumbers and so we don't risk putting them out too early. We tend to err on the side of caution and sow tender seeds later than many do. They often catch up unless we are really fortunate with the weather in which case the early sowers reap the benefit.

  7. I think you're right to hold back on the cukes - I often plant too early and as you point out their growth suffers.

  8. Mine are in the ground and adapting. That grow light set up is a thing of envy!


Thank you for taking time to leave me a comment! Please note that Comment Moderation is enabled for older posts.