Use 5cm pots or large modules and sow singly into a Best Buy seed compost. Seeds need to be at 20°C or more for germination; sow in a greenhouse, in a heated propagator or on a windowsill indoors. Pot on once seedlings have their first true leaves, and keep warm and well watered until they have about five leaves.
Caption: Sow seeds indoors
Plant into growing bags or pots (10L-plus in size) of Best Buy compost for containers mixed with controlled-release feed in a greenhouse or polytunnel and train as cordons up supports or strings tied to the greenhouse frame. Pinch out side-shoots as the plants grow, and allow them to trail downwards once they reach the top of the supports.
CARING FOR YOUR PLANTS
Keep well watered – cucumbers are thirsty – and feed with a liquid fertiliser, such as tomato feed, if you didn’t incorporate a controlled-release food at planting time.
Caption: Feed with tomato food
GROWING IN A HANGING BASKET
There are some newer varieties, such as 'Hopeline', which can be grown in a hanging basket. Put one plants in a 30cm basket. The plants trail downwards and produce lots of fruit around 10cm long. Letting
the tendrils hang down cuts the effort involved, since you don’t need to train them to supports. The fruits
are easy to pick.
Pick at least twice a week to encourage more fruits.
Caption: Harvest the fruits regularly
PESTS AND DISEASES
Red spider mites can cause speckled and yellowing leaves; watch out for the fine webbing they produce, too. They can be controlled with a biological control, such as phytoseiulus or amblyseius. These predatory
mites will feed on the pest and deal with the problem for you.
Powdery mildew is the main problem to watch out for. Remove affected leaves, don’t overcrowd plants, ensure they’re well watered and avoid wetting the leaves when you water.