how-many-cucumbers-per-plant

How Many Cucumbers per Plant? It’s Up to You!

Ask a professional grower how much fruit you can expect from a cucumber and the response is likely to be between 10 and 20 cukes, picked over three or four weeks. But you have a huge advantage over the pros: the ability to pamper your plants with individual care. We’re here with the hints you need to become a cuke-producing overachiever.

Planting for Productivity

Prolifically producing cucumbers need plenty of sunand well-drained, organically rich soil. To help your cuke patch qualify:

  • Plant in a raised bed angled toward the noontime sun.
  • Work a 2-inch layer of organic compost into the soil before planting.
  • Install trellises for your cuke prior to planting. It will improve photosynthesis, simplify pest control and let you spot the fruit more easily at harvest time.
  • Supplement with an organic, balanced granular fertilizer when the first flowers appear. Apply it at the label’s recommended rate, scratch it into the soil and water well.

Expert gardener’s tip: The ideal cuke bed gets at least six hours of daily sun.

Pollinating for Productivity

Letting the breezes and bees take responsibility for pollinating your cukes is almost certain to result in a diminished harvest. DIY hand pollination is the best method of ensuring a bumper crop – and it’s surprisingly easy.

Identifying Male and Female Flowers

Male cuke flowers start opening about one or two weeks before the females. They’re thin-stemmed trumpet flowers with pointed, central stamens covered in sticky pollen. Female flowers conceal miniature, undeveloped cucumbers between their petals and stems. The females are ready to have their central stigmas pollinated as soon as they open.

Expert gardener’s tip: To trick your cuke vines into ramping up their production level, pinch off their first three or four female flowers as soon as you see them. Otherwise, they’ll think their job is done as soon as those babies mature.

How to Hand Pollinate

With a soft artist’s brush, hand pollinating is a snap:

  • Find a male flower that shed pollen when you touch its stamen.
  • Strip the petals to expose the stamen.
  • Dust the stamen with the brush and transfer the pollen to a female flower stigma. For the largest cuke, hit the entire stigma.
  • Pollinate all the open females, loading the brush with pollen from as many males as necessary.

In a few days, the pollinated flowers will fall off and revealing the growing cucumbers beneath. Your bumper crop is on its way!

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