Gardener’s Notebook

How to fit cucumbers into your summer garden patch

Photo: Joshua Burman Thayer

Spring is upon us. With nights growing warmer and the wet season soon to be over, now is the time to map out your summer garden. What you do right now to thoughtfully prepare your garden beds will determine your bounty in June, July, August, and September. Think of this month’s effort as an investment that will pay dividends in the form of yummy produce throughout the remainder of the calendar year. Now is the time to turn in your cover crops, weed the beds, amend the soil, and make plans for April and May plantings. 

CUCUMBERS IN THE CORNERS: I love to plant cucumbers along the edges of my raised beds. With as little as six inches of real estate inside the garden bed, I can get four to 10 cucumbers per plant outside the garden bed. 

CUCUMBERS LOVE TO CLIMB: Cucumbers are Cucurbitaceae, members of the squash family. They love to climb toward the sky for greater light. Climbing a trellis, a fence, or even a neighboring shrub is an evolutionary adaptation that benefits the cucumber plant: By climbing up off the ground, the plant will experience fewer problems like powdery mildew or attack by slugs and bugs.

CUCUMBERS FOR AN EDIBLE FENCE: Planting cucumber or bitter melon to climb and cover an ugly chain-link fence is an instant visual improvement!

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Joshua Burman Thayer contributes the Gardener’s Notebook monthly for East Bay Appetizer. He also pens longer articles for Edible East Bay’s print magazine, which can be found in our archives. Search “Gardeners Notebook”.  Look for Joshua’s food forest article in the Spring 2018 Issue of Edible East Bay and check out his design site: nativesungardens.com