We’ve always grown cucumbers on the ground since the beginning of the farm. We struggled climbing through vines that overflowed between the rows. When we tried to grow fewer plants, the heat reflecting from the row cover was too much for the plant and as a result had far fewer cucumbers.
This year we are going to try to grow UP. Doing some research online we found that using a trellis for cucumbers saves space, stops us from having to tip toe around the plants and reduces the heat since they will not be sitting directly on the black cover. Another bonus is since the cucumber will be hanging, we shouldn’t see as many arched or bent cucumbers due to the fruit running into an obstacle.
Part of the trellising process is to prune the plant to create a LEAD. How it works is like a tree, you want a firm steady trunk. Cucumbers grow more like a zig zag. Looking at the strongest center vine on each plant, trim off the small branches trying to come out from the sides until you have a wide open base. That will give the cucumber plants a better start.
In the end we didn’t get as many cucumbers as last year since it was a very hot summer, but the quality of the ones we grew were good and we grew enough to keep up with demand. We will try growing this way again next year. We will make use of the large wall we created for the luffa because we know we will have enough luffa from this year to last another year.
See how the actual cucumber plants look after getting their primary pruning on the farm’s YouTube Channel: