How to Harvest Cucumbers

Salads wouldn’t be the same without crispy, crunchy, ice-cold cucumbers.

And if you are into growing your food, you may want to consider growing your own cucumbers.

Part of the growing process would also imply you should learn how to harvest cucumbers properly.

Contrary to what you may think, growing your fruits and veggies is fun, and cucumbers are low-maintenance fruit, so it is an excellent choice to start with.

In addition, cucumbers are low in calories but high in many important vitamins and minerals, which makes them even more awesome.

And though it may seem to sound a little intimidating at first, especially if you are new to growing your plants, you have nothing to worry about.

Harvesting Cucumbers involves a relatively simple process; with the right guide and equipment, you’ll soon become a pro at how to harvest cucumbers the right way.

How to Harvest Cucumbers FAQs

What are the two types of cucumbers?

Small pickling types that are bumpy and rough and large slicing varieties are meant to be eaten fresh.

Pickling cucumbers also are flavorful and good to eat, although not as large as slicing cucumbers.

Slicing cucumbers, however, do not make good pickles due to their high water content; you must learn how to dice cucumber.

When to plant cucumbers?

  • Cucumber plants should be seeded or transplanted outside in the ground no earlier than two weeks after the last frost date. Cucumbers are highly susceptible to frost and cold damage; the soil must be at least 70ºF for germination.
  • Sow cucumber seeds indoors for about three weeks before you transplant them in the ground. They like bottom heat of about 70ºF (21ºC).

How to plant cucumbers?

  • Plant seeds 1 inch deep and about 2 to 3 feet apart in a row.
  • Cucumbers can also be planted in mounds that are spaced 1 to 2 feet apart, with 2 to 3 seeds planted in each mound.
  • You can help warm the soil by covering the hill or row with black plastic if you live in cooler climates.
  • After planting, mulch around the area with straw, chopped leaves, or another organic mulch to keep pests at bay and keep bush types off the ground to avoid disease.
  • A trellis is a good idea if you want the vine to climb or have limited space.
  • Cover freshly planted cucumber seeds with netting or a berry basket.

How to care for cucumbers?

  • The primary care requirement for cucumbers is water, and consistent watering. They need at least one inch of water per week.
  • Water slowly in the morning or early afternoon, avoiding the leaves so that you don’t encourage leaf diseases that can ruin the plant.
  • Mulch to hold in soil moisture.
  • When seedlings emerge, water frequently and increase to a gallon per week after fruit forms.
  • When seedlings reach 4 inches tall, thin plants so that they are at least 1½ feet apart.
  • If you’ve worked organic matter into the soil before planting, you may only need to side-dress your plants with compost or well-rotted manure.
  • If you have limited space or prefer vertical vines, set up trellises early to avoid damage to seedlings and vines.
  • Spray vines with sugar water to attract bees and set more fruit.

How do you know when cucumbers are ready to be picked?

A cucumber usually is considered ripe when it is bright, medium to dark green, and firm.

Cucumbers will be edible any time after the flower drops off the end of the fruit.

It would help avoid harvesting cucumbers when they are yellow, puffy, sunken areas, or wrinkled tips.

These are well beyond being ripe and should be discarded promptly.

Do cucumbers regrow after harvest?

Unfortunately no. Unlike some fruits, cucumbers do not continue to develop after harvest.
Cucumbers are grown annually, which means that the plant does not regenerate after the growing season. Once it has lived out its life span of roughly 70 days, the plant dies and cannot be regrown.

How can you extend the cucumber season?

Picking the cucumbers as soon as they are ready encourages the plant to produce longer into the season. To extend the season:

  • Sow seeds indoors to have plants ready when the temperature heats up. Cucumbers are warm-weather plants, and you can’t sow seed outdoors early.
  • Plant two or three varieties of cucumbers that have different days to maturity. Remove damaged fruit from the vine so the plant doesn’t waste any energy on it.

How do you clean and harvest cucumbers?

Cut the fruit from the vine with a knife or pruner. Pulling fruit from the plant may damage brittle vines.
It is important to harvest cucumbers frequently to keep the plant producing new fruit.

Once you have your cucumbers home from harvesting, give them a rinse.

You want to wash off any dirt or grime; yes, even the vacuum-sealed seedless greenhouse cucumbers need to remove their wrappers.

If you see any mushy or moldy spots, cut the wrong side off and eat that cucumber today.

They’re ready to store if they’re nice, clean, and fresh.

Dunk the fruit in cold water or clean it with a damp cloth, then place the fruit in a perforated plastic bag to keep it from drying out.

How many cucumbers can you harvest from one plant?

Typically, a healthy cucumber plant can be expected to produce ten large cukes or 15 small ones within a harvest period of about three weeks.

How to store cucumbers?

  • You can keep cucumbers in the refrigerator for about a week, but the flavor is best soon after you pick them. Pickling cucumbers will last a bit longer. Refrain from storing your cucumbers in plastic bags or lidded containers.
  • Keep them in the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer or an open container with a paper towel to collect excess moisture. You can refrigerate cucumbers for about a week in the fridge’s vegetable crisper.
  • Sliced cucumbers should be refrigerated in a bowl covered with plastic wrap to keep slices crisp and prevent dehydration.

How to Harvest Cucumbers

How to Harvest CucumbersPin

Harvesting pickling cucumbers

  1. If you are harvesting pickling cucumbers, harvest cucumbers when they are about two inches long.
  2. When you pick cucumbers, leave a small, one-inch section of stem attached to the cucumber.
  3. Cut the cucumber off the vine with a sharp knife or pruners. The plant can be damaged if you twist or pull on the vine.
  4. Wear gloves when you harvest cucumbers. Some of them, particularly pickling varieties, are prickly.

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Harvesting ripe cucumbers

  1. Most slicing cucumbers for fresh eating should be harvested seven to nine inches long and have a dark green color.
  2. Remove stunted and not growing fruits, that have rotten ends, or are past their prime. This prevents the plant from focusing energy on fruits that are a waste anyway.
  3. Use garden shears or pruners when harvesting ripe cucumbers. Removing the fruit with a sharp implement will prevent injury to the vine by twisting or pulling.
  4. Cut the stem ¼ inch (6 mm.) above the fruit. The long burpless cucumbers are sensitive to bruising.
  5. Lay them gently in a basket or box as you gather ripe fruit.

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Additional Tips on How to Harvest Cucumbers

  • Some people leave cucumbers on the vine and let them grow as large as possible, but the flavor is better if harvested earlier.
  • If the cucumbers have many spines, remove them by rubbing a cloth or a soft vegetable brush along the length of the fruit.
  • Using a knife or clippers, cut the stem above the fruit. Pulling the fruit may damage the vine.
  • Keep them picked. If you don’t, as plants mature, they will stop producing.

How To Harvest Cucumbers Video

Photo of author
Joe Farmer, The harvesting guy is all about fresh produce and enjoying the harvest all year round. He's got tips and tricks for backyard harvesting and is always up for sharing his love of homegrown food. When he's not in the garden, you can find him out on the hiking trail or cooking up something delicious in the kitchen.
Photo of author
Joe Farmer, The harvesting guy is all about fresh produce and enjoying the harvest all year round. He's got tips and tricks for backyard harvesting and is always up for sharing his love of homegrown food. When he's not in the garden, you can find him out on the hiking trail or cooking up something delicious in the kitchen.