September to February are the best months to plant cucumbers. Seedlings are readily available or they are very easy to grow from seed as well. Prepare the soil with plenty of organic matter and space plants 50cm apart. Keep them well mulched and watered.
Watering and fertilising
Cucumbers need plenty of water, especially while the fruit is developing. Apply an all-purpose fertiliser when flowers first appear.
Cucumbers have male and female flowers and rely on pollination from bees and other insects for the fruit to set. Plant nasturtiums and basil to encourage bees. If you’re getting flowers but no fruit you can try hand pollination to help things along - just take a small dry paintbrush and dab it from flower to flower.
Cucumbers will start appearing as soon as 6 weeks after planting. They are best picked while still small. Keep them well watered while the fruit is developing and they’ll continue to produce until the weather gets too cold.
Pests and diseases
Cucumbers are susceptible to powdery mildew, seen as a light grey coating on the leaves. Treat it straight away by spraying with a solution made of 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda and a drop of vegetable oil in 1 litre of water. Aphids can also be a problem - inspect plants regularly and knock any aphids off with a squirt of water.
When to sow: September to February
Position: Full sun
Space: 50cm apart
Harvest: from 6 weeks