|Latin name:||Cucumis sativus 'Gemini 7 F1'|
|Guarantee:||100% growth and flowering guarantee|
|Leafs all year:||No|
|Harvesting:||July - September|
Cucumber seeds require no prior treatment although steeping them in lukewarm water for 12 hours will encourage germination.
How to Sow
The cucumber is an annual plant. It likes warm conditions, so if you want to sow early this should preferably be done indoors or in a mini greenhouse from April as the plants do not tolerate frost. Use peat pots filled with good potting compost and a mini greenhouse or seed tray. Perfect if you can provide some bottom heat (soil warming) of the tray or mini greenhouse - by 20° C (night and day for as long as possible) your seeds will germinate and the seedlings will thrive.
Never let the seedlings dry out! Use 1 seed per pot, planted 0.5 cm deep and covered with some potting compost, then stand the pots on a sunny window sill. Depending on temperature the seeds should germinate within 10 days, depending on the temperature. After germination, you can reduce humidity in the mini greenhouse by opening the vents.
If you do not have a mini-greenhouse than you can use a simple seed tray covered with plastic which can be held up by bamboo skewers. To get the seedlings used to the right humidity prick holes in the plastic.
Plant your cucumbers outdoors or in a greenhouse, only when there is no longer the risk of frost and night temperatures are at least 15° C (preferably 18° C). They will also do well planted in pots on your patio - but all cucumber seedlings to be grown on outdoors must first be hardened off. To do this, stand them in the shade for one hour longer every day for a week before potting up - 3 plants to a large pot. Provide them with a cane or climbing frame to climb up and stand the pots in a warm sheltered spot in full sun.
Cucumbers do need support. Use bamboo canes and make a climbing frame for outdoors, at least up to 3 metres high, in the shape of a tepee with the base 70 cm wide. Tie in one plant per cane. In the greenhouse, you will also need to use one 2 metre cane per plant - or some garden twine or wire attached vertically.
Once growth is established, you must remove the first flowers and any side shoots until the main stem has at least 7 large leaves. Tie in regularly and keep removing side shoots for a while, especially for outdoor plants as they need to put all the energy into growing tall. Once the plants have reached 2 metres, remove the top. This will give priority to the fruits. These seedless cucumbers produce female flowers so they will develop fruits without being pollinated. Dozens of fruits may appear on a single stem. As fast growers, cucumbers really thrive on Bakker's tomato fertiliser. Give extra water daily in dry periods, strictly soil only (not on the leaves) and keep the bed free of weeds. Pull weeds instead of hoeing as cucumbers are surface rooters so this will prevent damage to the root system and the plants will do well.
To encourage even more growth in a cool summer, you have to be cruel to be kind with cucumbers - remove really small fruits and the larger ones will flourish.
To harvest your cucumbers, simply cut them from the vine with a sharp knife. Cutting off half-sized cucumbers encourages more to grow. Any wart like growths are harmless and can just be rubbed off. Outdoor cucumbers will yield 3-5 per plant. Greenhouse grown can reach as much as 2 or 3 times as many.
As climbers, cucumbers always need support, the vine's tendrils will attach themselves to anything nearby. If you take a closer look - they resemble old fashioned telephone cables that all of a sudden get a kink in them halfway up and then start rotating in the opposite direction, creating a spring which provides movement against the wind. As a result, the tendrils firmly attach themselves tighter and help to support the plant.