Cucumbers demand warm soil — at least 70 degrees — but they don’t like it too hot, so this is their growing season in South Florida. Plant them now through January and harvest them well into spring.
You can let cucumber vines sprawl along the ground, but they will fare better if you give them something to climb such as a trellis or a tepee frame of poles tied together at the top and encircled by netting or chicken wire. They will take up less space and produce higher quality fruit if the cucumbers are off the ground, where they won’t be bothered as much by slugs, and air will be able to circulate through the foliage.
Sow cucumbers from seed; they don’t like to be transplanted. Plant them where they’ll get full sun. They’ll benefit if you work an inch of compost into the soil. If the plants will grow along the ground, sow seeds 36 inches apart. If the vines will climb on trellises or other supports, plant them 18 inches apart.
Cucumbers are susceptible to downy mildew and powdery mildew. Assisting the vines to climb so air can circulate helps prevent those conditions. Water early in the day so the sun can dry the leaves and the plants don’t go to bed wet.
Never miss a local story.
Use liquid fertilizer with plenty of nitrogen. Keep them well-watered but not soggy; if they don’t get enough water, they can turn bitter. They taste best if you pick ‘em young. Watch for cucumber beetles and pick off the bugs if you spot them.