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Add Bush Cucumbers to Your Garden

Date Posted: July 14, 2014

Seeds of the Month Club by Mike the Gardener Add Bush Cucumbers to Your Garden
photo credit: Mike the Gardener

So far this gardening season I am receiving great returns from my cucumber plants or Cucumis sativus for all you plant classification gurus out there. More on my production in a moment.

For my neighbor, who is a cucumber growing fanatic, he is harvesting a few dozen cucumbers every day, and last week he started more cucumbers to replace the cucumber plants he currently has, when they stop producing. Yep, he is that serious about growing his cucumbers, and there is a good reason why.

He grows a lot of cucumbers because his bread & butter are his pickles (bad pun intended). Before the season is out he will make about 100 to 200 jars of dill spear spickles from a recipe that he has perfected over time. Luckily for me, we are good friends, so I get to partake in tasting his wonderful homegrown and homemade pickles.

But enough about my neighbor's success, I wanted to talk more about cucumber growing options. Many home vegetable gardeners, myself included, grow cucumbers that are indeterminate. That means, you have no idea how big your cucumber plants will grow. The cucumbers will grow out on a vine, and that vine will then spin off some tendrils. The tendrils are there to “grab” onto something. That something, in the case of most home vegetable gardeners, is a trellis.

Add Bush Cucumbers to Your Garden

While not required, a trellis makes your garden look a whole lot neater, and utilizes a popular vertical vegetable gardening technique of growing more in your garden while using less space.

The varieties you have to choose from for indeterminate heirloom cucumbers are endless. My favorite being the straight 8’s, but Ashleys are a good one and so are Nationals. But what if setting up a six foot trellis is not something you really want to do, or is impractical.

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There are a lot of gardeners out there with physical limitations and growing indeterminate cucumbers up a tall trellis is simply not possible. Many of these gardeners take advantage of large, high raised beds, as well as many other customizations so they too can enjoy fresh vegetables grown right at home.

One such variety of vegetable that makes it possible to meet the needs of individuals with such limitations, are bush cucumbers. So named, not because they grow in an actual bush, but because they grow low to the ground and are still prolific producers.

Add Bush Cucumbers to Your Garden

As with indeterminate cucumbers, bush cucumbers will still have tendrils giving them the ability to grow up a small trellis as well, but their height is always three feet and under (in most cases). This year I have nine bush cucumber plants growing in a three foot by three foot raised bed. I started all nine from seed, Mother’s Day weekend here in New Jersey, directly sowing them in the raised bed.

Now, a couple months later, I am picking about four to six cucumbers per day from these nine plants and there are still many more cucumbers on the way. Right now I am debating as to whether or not I should start up some more bush cucumber seeds, so that when the current crop is done I can move new ones right in. The only problem, is the ones that are currently in, are showing no signs of slowing down. Is that really is a problem though?

As with every home grown vegetable, bush cucumbers are no different. The taste has been incredible. Fresh, juicy and of course crisp. I have not used any of them to make any pickles yet, but that is on my agenda and I am guessing they will do just fine since they are so hardy this year.

Add Bush Cucumbers to Your Garden

Since the raised bed I am using is so high, and because I am growing bush cucumbers in them, I do not have to reach, stretch or bend over too far to work the cucumber bed. Those are great forms of exercise, but for someone with physical limitations, making gardening easier would be a higher priority, and bush cucumbers accomplishes that goal.

As a side benefit of growing bush cucumbers, because they are low to the ground, going out and harvesting the cucumbers has been a lot of fun. It is sort of like a treasure hunt. Moving leaves here, checking under flowers there. It has added to the enjoyment that growing cucumbers can bring. I even found one hanging off the backside of the raised that was about fourteen inches long. My wife now questions my treasure hunting skills. How could I have missed that one when it was ten to twelve inches?

Cucumbers are always a part of my garden. My #1 rule of thumb is to always grow something that you like to eat, and I love eating fresh cucumbers. Because the bush cucumbers are doing so well and taste so good they are definitely going to be a staple in my garden for many years to come. With their determinate size and prolific production, bush cucumbers are an excellent choice for anyone’s home garden.

Please share this article! Let`s get everyone gardening!

Mike the gardener

About the Author

Mike Podlesny is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person as well as the creator of the Seeds of the Month Club where members receive non gmo, heirloom variety seeds every month. You can listen to Mike each week on the Vegetable Gardening Podcast where he interviews gardening industry experts. Don`t forget to link up with Mike on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.


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