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Where Do Cucumbers Grow Best?

As tropical plants that originated in Southeast Asia, cucumbers grow best in climates with warm, humid summers. In the United States, they are best adapted to southern regions. But with these tips on choosing cuke varieties with the times to harvest that match your growing season, you can cultivate these sweet, crunchy garden staples almost anywhere there’s loose, organically rich soil and plenty of sun.

Where All Cucumbers Grow Best

No matter where it is, the ideal cucumber patch requires all these things:

  • Six or more hours of daily sun
  • Well-draining, loamy soil high in organic matter.
  • Room for vining cukes to sprawl, or a fence or trellises to grow them vertically.

Expert gardener’s tips: Boost your soil’s organic content by working a 2-inch layer of organic compost into it one month before planting your cuke seeds.

Cucumbers for Short Summers

Cucumbers do best when seeded directly in the garden. In USDA planting zones with short growing seasons, look for cukes with quick times to harvest, such as:

  • ‘Bush Pickle,’ a compact, container-suitable bush variety with 2- to 2.5-foot vines producing jade-green, cylindrical cukes great for slicing or pickling, The cukes reach their 5-inch picking size in just 45 to 50 days.
  • ‘Picolino,’ an organic, super-early variety ready to harvest in 45 to 50 days. Just 4.5 to 5 inches long, its mini-English cukes boast thin, deep-green skins and crisp, mildly sweet flesh. Pickle or eat them fresh all summer long.
  • ‘Diamant,’ for anyone impatient for the season’s first homemade pickles. Start picking its super-crunchy, sweet 4-to-5-inch cukes in just 47 days. Improved disease resistance means fruiting continues for weeks.

Cucumbers for Long Summers

In the USDA zones where summer arrives early and lingers, almost any cucumber thrives if temperatures remain between 65° and 90°F (18.3° and 32.2°C). For a maximum harvest, mix late-maturing varieties like these with early ones:

  • ‘Ashley,’ an outstanding, disease-resistant choice for hot, humid areas. Its heavy crop of pale-green, 8-inch slicing cukes reaches the picking stage in 65 days.
  • ‘Boothby’s Blond,’ an heirloom variety ready for harvest in 63 days. Its eye-catching, 6- to 8-inch slicing cukes boast crisp, mild flesh and black-spined, creamy yellow skin.
  • ‘Edmondson,’ with crisp, buttery-flavored pickling cukes in 70 days. It’s an heirloom notable for disease and pest resistance.

Expert gardener’s tip: If your summer temperatures exceed 90°F (32.2°C) and your cukes don’t get natural afternoon shade, protect them from the heat with shade cloth from your garden store.

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