How to Grow Cucumbers for Good Health

Now is the time to sow your spring and summer vegetable seeds. Your summer garden would not be complete without a trellis of cucumbers. Both of my sons took an interest in growing cucumbers at a very early age. In fact, cucumbers were one of the first vegetables that I introduced them to. I had them convinced that cucumbers were ‘little watermelons’! Cucumbers are an appropriate choice when introducing your children to growing their own vegetables. Children who grow their own food are more likely to eat fresh fruits and vegetables compared to those who do not.

If your children are like mine, they may be impatient and expect immediate results. Cucumber seeds usually sprout within days of sowing, making them an ideal choice for children. The vines grow rather rapidly. The harvest is generally ready for picking within a couple of months. Some farmers let cucumber vines sprawl out on the ground like a pumpkin vine. However, I prefer to grow cucumbers upright on a trellis. Growing upright gives you more growing space. If you have limited outdoor space, cucumbers can be grown in a generous size pot. At a minimum, the pot should be twelve inches in diameter and twelve inches in depth to allow for sufficient root growth. Limited root space will stunt the growth of the plant resulting in inferior production. As the plant grows and produces cucumbers, the vine will get top heavy. As I stated earlier, the pot should be a minimum of twelve inches in diameter and twelve inches in depth. However, an even larger, heavier pot will help stabilize the trellis making the trellis less likely to fall over from the weight of the cucumber plant.

Cucumber seeds should be sowed one-half inch deep in the soil regardless of whether they are planted in a large pot or directly in the garden. If you are planting more than one cucumber plant in your garden, each should be spaced approximately three feet apart. Again, this is to afford space for sufficient root growth.

Nutritional benefits of cucumbers include that they are fat free, cholesterol free, low calorie, and are a good source of Vitamin C. Cucumbers with their skin are also a good source of Vitamin A. An average eight inch cucumber contains 15 mcg (or 0.015 mg) of Vitamin A and 8 mg of Vitamin C. The Recommended Dietary Allowance of Vitamin C is 90 mg per day for men and 75 mg per day for women. The recommended dietary allowance of Vitamin A is about 0.7 mg (700 mcg) for women and 0.9 mg (900 mcg) for men.

Growing your own cucumbers has many other health advantages and benefits. For example, conventionally grown cucumbers, particularly those that are imported, tend to have higher pesticide residues compared to cucumbers that have been grown organically. Growing your own cucumbers empowers you to be your own wellness warrior. You oversee any pesticides or herbicides used in your garden. Plus, you will save money by not having to pay for organically raised cucumbers!

The Nurse Farmer ™

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