Cucumbers were originally found in India around 4000 years ago, and they have since become the fourth most widely cultivated vegetable in the world. Cucumbers found their way to England during the 14th century, but were not at all popular, they did become more widely eaten from the 17th century.
The species grown for food are Cucumis sativus (cucumber) and Cucumis anguria (West Indian gherkin). In the UK, cucumbers are generally grown to maturity in a greenhouse or polytunnel, although ridge cucumbers and our form of gherkin are a little hardier and can be planted outside when danger of frost has passed. Read more
How to grow Cucumber
Indoor varieties- Sow from February to May in 7 ½ cm/3in pots of good quality seed compost. Sow one seed on edge per pot to a depth of 1 ½ cm/ ½ in and maintain temperature between 20°-25°C /68°-77°F.
Transplant once 3 – 4 true leaves have formed, plant two per greenhouse grow bag. Support and train up wires – remove growing tips at roof level. Keep moist and feed regularly.
Outdoor varieties- Sow from May to June in final position. Dig holes approx. 30cm x 30cm/12in x 12in deep and wide and approx. 45cm/18in apart - fill with a mix of well-rotted manure (such as Orgro) and compost – leaving a mound at the top. Into it sow two seeds to a depth of 3cm/1in and cover with cloches to speed up germination.
When true leaves appear, thin out the weakest plant. To encourage side-shoots, pinch out the growing tip when the plants have developed 6 to 7 leaves. Keep well-watered (around the plants not over them) and feed regularly especially when fruit starts to form.