Cucumbers are popular vegetables that are easy to grow. Many gardeners consider growing their cucumbers in raised garden beds which is great for these crops. But to grow a worthy harvest, the right spacing is important.
To grow cucumber horizontally along the ground, sow the seeds 10-12 inches apart and space the rows 18-24 inches apart. To plant cucumbers in groups, sow seeds in groups of 3 about 18 inches apart. And to grow cucumbers vertically, sow the seeds 4 inches apart at the base of the trellis.
This article will discuss how far apart you should plant cucumbers in a raised bed. So, keep this article for detailed information.
Why is it important to properly space cucumber plants?
Cucumber plants should be properly spaced due to the following reasons:
Cucumber plants are prone to some plant diseases like bacterial wilt, mosaic virus, or downy mildew.
These diseases thrive in warm and humid conditions.
If you are spacing cucumbers too close, poor air circulation will increase the risk of diseases.
It is not true if you think planting more cucumber plants in an area will give you more fruits.
If you plant many cucumber plants, each one will start competing for resources.
The plants will get overcrowded, and none of them will get enough water, sunlight, and nutrients to thrive.
As a result, the cucumber plants will suffer from growth issues and will be unable to yield enough fruits.
Proper utilization of garden space
The correct spacing between cucumbers will help you utilize the minimal garden space in the best possible manner, especially when growing the plants vertically.
Cucumber beetles, whiteflies, flea beetles, and aphids are some common pests of cucumber plants.
If you properly space your cucumber plants, these garden plants will stay away.
Healthier plants will have more resistance to pest damage.
If you plant the cucumbers closely, there are high chance for them to get attacked by deadly pathogens.
Therefore, it is important to properly space the plants and use row covers or insecticides to keep pests in control.
Do cucumber plants grow well in raised beds?
Cucumber plants love growing in raised beds.
The raised bed soil is less compact, has better drainage, and warms earlier in spring.
Also, the raised beds deal with fewer weeds and soil-borne diseases.
Growing cucumber in raised beds is easy, and the only thing you need to provide the cucumbers is full sun with rich, fertile soil, except for the vine variety that will need a trellis to climb.
Ensure that the soil for cucumbers in the raised bed has a depth of 18 inches(45 cm).
Also, provide your cucumbers with 1-2 inches of water every week to make them thrive.
If you are growing bush varieties of cucumber, you will not require a trellis since they are compact and can comfortably grow in small raised beds or containers.
You will only need a trellis in your raised bed if you want to grow a vine variety of cucumbers.
The trellis will use minimal space in your raised bed garden and make it easier to harvest the ripened cucumbers.
The trellis will help the plants grow toward the sun.
The cucumbers will grab the bars of the trellis and will grow vertically to a height of 5 feet.
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Which cucumber varieties should you grow in a raised bed?
The ideal cucumber varieties for a raised bed are the bushy ones.
They are small with a shallow rooting system ideal for a raised bed.
Some of the bushy cucumber varieties are:
- Salad bush
- Space master
- Pick-a- Bushel
- Parisian Gherkin
I recommend you grow these cucumber varieties vertically in raised beds.
This method of growing cucumbers will produce excellent yields throughout the year.
How deep should you plant cucumbers in a raised bed?
The cucumber plants will need a minimum of 18 inches(45 cm) of soil in raised beds to support their large root system.
The cucumber plants have long taproot systems with numerous branching roots reaching up to a depth of 48 inches(120 cm).
The cucumber often pushes the taproots through the soil beneath the raised beds.
If the taproot doesn’t get the required depth, it will start growing laterally to achieve the desired results.
Their lateral growth will help the branch roots to collect sufficient water to support the plant’s growth.
How far apart to plant cucumbers in a raised bed?
Any cucumber variety can be grown in a raised bed.
One major benefit of a raised bed is that it gives you an excellent opportunity to manage sun, nutrients, pests, etc., for your cucumber plants.
The spacing in raised will depend on the variety of the cucumber seeds or transplants or whether you want to grow them vertically or horizontally.
Let us now discuss the spacing requirements for cucumbers under different scenarios in raised beds.
Spacing requirements for non-trellised cucumbers
The roots of the cucumber plants can’t tolerate disturbance due to uprooting.
Therefore, one of the best ways to grow cucumber is through seeds.
Before sowing the seeds, you need to ensure the soil is warm.
Otherwise, the seeds will freeze and die.
If you want to grow the vining varieties in rows, sow the seeds with a gap of 10-12 inches and 1 inch deep into the soil.
Ensure the rows are 18 to 24 inches apart.
If you want to plant the vining varieties in groups, start the propagation process by planting 3 cucumber seeds an inch deep into the soil.
Maintain 18 inches between the groups.
On the other hand, the bushy cucumber varieties can be closely spaced since their root system doesn’t go deep in the soil like the vine varieties.
If you want to propagate the bushy cucumber variety, consider planting the seeds 5-6 inches apart and 1-2 inches deep in the soil.
Spacing requirements for trellised cucumbers
Cucumbers under this classification grow on a fence, trellis, or arch on raised beds.
Here, the growth of cucumbers is concentrated upwards and not outwards. So the vines can grow closer to each other.
When the cucumbers are grown vertically, the air circulation increases and the vines stay protected from pests that inhabit the ground.
Let us now understand the distance between planting cucumbers when they grow vertically:
- Growing cucumber from seeds at the trellis base
- Growing cucumber transplants at the trellis base
Let us now study both points in detail.
Growing cucumber from seeds at the trellis base
If you want to sow cucumber seeds at the trellis base, plant 6 seeds 1 inch deep every 12 inches along each row of cucumbers.
Space the rows 4 feet apart.
Make sure the row should lien with the base of the trellis.
The growth of cucumbers is focused upwards, so adequate spacing will ensure proper air circulation and won’t let the plant compete for light.
However, spacing the seeds close requires extra attention to ensure the plants get proper water and are fertilized during their growing season.
Growing cucumber transplants at the trellis base
Consider keeping a distance of 6-8 inches if you plan to grow cucumber transplants.
The reason behind this is the root system of the transplants was growing in their nursery packs or containers, and after getting transplanted in a raised bed, they will suffer from shock.
To lower the transplant shock, you need to properly space them apart so they can get enough water and nutrients in their first few weeks of growth.
If you maintain enough space, you will surely see a great harvest.
What will happen if you plant cucumbers closely in a raised bed?
You should always avoid planting cucumber plants close together.
The cucumber plants’ roots and leaves need plenty of space to grow and thrive.
Proper spacing between the plants will help them to get the right amount of all the resources like water, sunlight, and nutrients and enough air between the leaves to prevent pests and diseases.
Mistakes to avoid while growing cucumbers in a raised bed
Cucumbers are fussy with their growing requirements and often create issues for the gardeners if not taken care of properly.
However, providing your cucumber plants with proper growing conditions will help them to grow fast and produce excellent results.
If you are growing cucumbers in a raised, avoid the following mistakes:
1. Selecting the wrong variety
While choosing the variety, you must be mindful of the space in your raised bed to grow them.
You can grow both vining and bushy cucumbers in raised beds.
Vining varieties grow vines from the main stem that meander yup fences, trellises, etc.
The shoots of this variety can grow up to 5 feet long.
Vines cucumber needs large space for growing, and if you have a small raised bed, don’t consider growing this vine.
In contrast, bushy varieties grow compactly and are suitable for small raised beds as they are easy to plan and control.
2. Planting in the wrong season
Cucumber plants are summer crops; growing them during winter can severely harm them.
Therefore, you should always sow the seeds or transplant seedlings only when the chance of frost has passed.
If the growing season is short, start germinating the seedlings inside a greenhouse.
3. Improper spacing
Cucumber plants need plenty of space to grow, especially the vine variety.
When you sow seeds or transplant seedlings, ensure adequate space between plants.
The spacing will depend upon the variety, ranging between 12 to 72 inches.
Planting the cucumbers too close will lead to lower production as the plants can choke each other out.
Also, close planting will increase the risk of diseases and pests.
4. Using the wrong soil
Before planting cucumber seedlings, it’s important to ensure proper soil quality.
If you grow cucumbers in raised beds, the soil composition will be slightly different than the garden soil.
To prepare your raised bed, take rich, loamy potting soil.
Amend the soil with compost and manure a month before planting.
Also, check the soil pH balance before planting the cucumbers.
Cucumber grows in slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.0.
If the soil becomes too acidic, add compost or peat moss to neutralize it.
One major problem most cucumber faces is incorrect watering.
Cucumbers are made up of 96% water, so it’s not surprising that they need lots of water.
Make sure never to let the soil completely dry out.
Inconsistent watering or underwatering is one common issue that can kill your cucumber plants.
Give the cucumbers 2-3 inches of water every week.
The raised beds usually dry out more quickly than the gardens, so you must water the plant more frequently.
6. Inappropriate fertilization
The issue may be under-fertilizing if your cucumber plants don’t produce enough fruits.
Cucumbers need nutrient-rich soil, so you must regularly fertilize them throughout the growing season.
They need a high amount of phosphorous and potassium and a low amount of nitrogen.
Any organic plant food NPK-like (3-4-6) will work well for cucumbers.
Since they need regular fertilization during the growing season, there are chances of over-fertilizing them.
Consider fertilizing the plants every two weeks during the growing season.
7. Selecting a poor-quality raised bed
There are various choices when it comes to selecting raised beds.
The most important thing you need to consider is the material it is made up of.
Raised beds made of railroad tires, pallets, treated wood, concrete bricks, or painted wood can harm your cucumber plants.
Select a raised bed made of untreated wood or galvanized metal, as they will do exceptionally well and not degrade in wet conditions.
8. Ignoring the weed growth
Cucumbers are sensitive to weed overgrowth.
Weeds will cause overcrowding and airflow issues and steal essential nutrients from your cucumber plants.
Weeds will also attract certain pests, like the dreaded cucumber beetle.
It is somehow difficult to keep your raised bed away from weeds growth.
However, you can grow companion plants like flowers and herbs with your cucumbers to reduce weed growth.
9. Leaving the cucumber on the vine for too long
It is always best to pick the cucumbers as soon as they are ready to harvest, as this will encourage new fruit growth.
If you leave the cucumbers on the vines for too long, they will become bitter and less nutritious.
10. Pulling cucumber while harvesting
Cucumbers are very delicate and will easily get damaged if you pull them hard.
Whenever you harvest, cut them from the stem and never pull them.
Pulling can damage the crop or plant.
Also, this may lead to a significant reduction in production.