Homegrown cucumbers are a taste sensation in contrast with their supermarket counterparts and well worth growing at home.
There are many varieties of cucumber to chose from but my favourite is the Burpless Tasty Green which is suited to growing in a polytunnel, greenhouse or outdoors. This prolific cucumber is delicious eaten fresh in a salad or sliced and pickled for the cooler seasons.
Wautoma is another variety worth getting to know. This variety is disease resistant and the fruit can be pickled when small or left to grow into a salad cucumber. And Again this variety can be planted indoors or out.
To sow cucumbers you’ll need small pots and a couple of seeds per pot. Sow them 2cm deep in multi purpose compost and place somewhere warm. I keep my freshly sown cucumbers in my polytunnel and cover them with fleece at night but in a pinch a windowsill will suffice. As soon as the seedlings have their true leaves, pot on the strongest of the pair discarding the weakest seedling.
Once your cucumbers have established into healthy, small plants its time to move them into their final growing position. I Plant mine 60cm apart in the polytunnel although you can also plant cucumbers into containers, where they will do very well as long as they are kept watered and given the occasional feed.
For outdoor cucumbers, make sure you Harden them off before planting out, ideally in June, and use a cloche or fleece to protect them if temperatures drop.
Dont forget that most varieties of cucumber will need a support so when the plant is large enough carefully tie the main stem onto a bamboo cane and let the side shoots trail on the ground.
Your cucumbers should start producing tasty fruit between July and September.
Catch my gardening tips every month on the early morning breakfast show with Vanessa Feltz on BBC Radio 2.