Cucumbers are an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C. They also contain many minerals like folate, potassium, sulfur, etc. However, the nutritional value of cucumbers is mostly heralded due to their rich water content (96%) and antioxidants.
Cucumbers help prevent many disorders like acidity, blood pressure, fever, etc., and they are used topically to treat sunburns. They are widely used for many cooking purposes like making salads and pickles. They are most nutritious if eaten fresh and raw. You can always make out the difference between homegrown cucumbers and the ones available in the market.
Growing Cucumbers in Containers
Many types of cucumbers can be grown indoors and the process for indoor gardening remains the same for all the types. English and Armenian cucumbers are great for salads, and lemon cucumbers are great for making pickles. After you have chosen the cucumber variety you want to grow and bought the seeds, here are the instructions that you can follow.
- Plant cucumber 2 weeks after the last frost, as it requires warm weather.
- The pH of the soil should be between 5.5 - 7. Fill pots with a well-drained soil mix, which has a lot of compost in it. The pots should be at least 3 inches deep.
- For growing cucumbers from seeds, sow the seed one at a time in the pot, and insert them at a depth of ½ an inch. It is important to maintain a lot of space between each seed when growing cucumbers in a pot.
- Another thing to keep in mind is that, the compost in the containers should be completely damp, because the seeds have hard shells, and insufficient water might lead to no germination.
- Now, cover the containers with plastic cling film and store this pot in a warm room where the temperature remains between 18 - 25ºF.
- After the seeds are germinated, remove the cling film and keep them in a place like a greenhouse, where they get some sunlight and a steady temperature is maintained.
- Within a period of 3 weeks, you will observe that the roots are growing. This is the time to repot them, using pots that are 6 inches deep.
- When these pots are full of roots and four leaves can be seen fully expanded, you should pinch out the growing tips.
- Now it is time to repot again, this time using containers which are 12 inches deep. Erect a wooden stick or cane for the vine to climb upon. Alternatively, you can also hang a wire to the greenhouse roof.
- When the cucumbers grow to moderate size, remove them with a sharp knife.
Growing Cucumber Upside DownThis technique is to be used after the root balls of the cucumber plant start appearing. If you have limited space, you can try container gardening of cucumbers, upside down. This way you don't have to be worried about staking the plant. For growing cucumbers upside down, choose a suitable container and make sure that there is a hole at the bottom of the container. For better maintenance, you can hang these containers. Place a small piece of newspaper at the bottom of this container as this will help to anchor the cucumber plant till it becomes strong, and also prevent the soil from washing out of the hole. Cut a slit in the newspaper for the plants to come out, and then carefully take out the plant through the hole, upside down. This method of gardening also helps in preventing pests.
So grow healthy cucumbers at home and enjoy the salads and pickles made out of them!