Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Growing Cucumbers in a Small Space

Between last night and this morning I picked roughly 10 pounds of cucumbers.  My kitchen counter was literally covered with them.  My wife made it clear to me that I had planted way too many, and at the rate I am picking them, I really can not argue, but like you, I am addicted to growing fresh veggies.  Besides, my neighbors enjoy them so it keeps me on their good side, espeically since I have a dog that enjoys barking a lot (at night).  You can see the trade off.

But, to me, what makes the production of my cucumbers even more impressive (if I must say so myself), is that it is all done in a four foot by four foot raised bed.  Yes, that is only sixteen square feet of area to grow in.

The raised bed itself is nothing fancy.  It is simply built from landscaping timbers purchased at a local home center not too far from my house.  They were on sale for $0.50 each, so I could not pass it up.  The picture to the left is a photo of my raised bed garden for the carrots I am growing.  The cucumber bed is exactly the same, however, since the vines are very thick and somewhat overgrown, it was tough to get a picture of it, as you will see below.

In the center of the bed I built a trellis, 6 feet tall by the width of the interior of the bed.  As you can see in the photo I used nothing more than some old pine trim wood that I had left over in my garage for both the sides and top.  As you can see from this photo the base of the cucumber plants are full grown so it makes it tough to snap a photo of the raised bed I mentioned earlier.  You will also notice the trellis and how the vining cucumbers grow up it.  Growing vertically is a great method for high production home vegetable gardening with limited space. 
The trellis has attached to it some netting.  I would like to say I found the netting in the trash, or some thrift store, however I did not.  I purchased it from a local garden center for about $5.  Looking back I am sure if I were more patient I could have done better on the price.  With that said, as you will see in the photo to the left, the netting is connected to the wood frame using zip ties.  A friend of mine is an electrician and I "bumbed" a few off of him.  You will also notice that the frame is connected with nothing more than a two deck screws (one on each side), of which I already owned from a previous home project I worked on.

The frame itself is not, however, attached to the raised bed.  I simply drove the sides into the ground with a hammer, before I screwed in the top brace that you see in the photo above.  When the season is over, I will simply pull the trellis out, in tact, and store it away in my shed to be used next season.

Here are some notes about the cucumbers being grown.  They are the Ashley variety, part of the Seeds of the Month Club, and are indeterminants.  I have 16, yes 16, plants growing in that four foot by four foot area.  As of this posting, I have picked a little less than fifty pounds of cucumbers over the past few weeks. 

Looking at the cucumbers vines and how lush and green they are, I think I am on pace to break my own personal record of 200 pounds of cucumbers.  Ashley's are much heavier than the straight eights I have grown in previous seasons, and taste very good, but in my opinion, not as sweet.  My wife disagrees with me.

I would like to say that I am doing something special, unique, or different than some other home vegetable gardener, to yield this many, but I really am not.  My garden is growing in a typical New Jersey suburban neighborhood, and I know if I can grow this many, so can you.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a great looking garden! I am wondering if the weight of the cuc vines are pulling your trellis over? I looks like it's holding up just fine but I've done this once and the loaded vines were too much for a hand hammered in trellis.
    South western PA