When it comes to growing healthy, long-lasting and high-yielding cucumber plants, how and when you fertilize really makes a big difference! Cucumbers are one of the most popular vegetable crops to grow at home. Perhaps it’s because you can grow them almost anywhere – be it in a traditional garden, raised beds, pots and tubs, or even straw bales if desired. Regardless of where or how you grow the vegetables, they need a constant supply of nutrients to survive and thrive. Especially as the growing season progresses and plants begin to grow and produce. Therefore, it is important to improve the soil before planting and use a good fertilizer. You can make your own cucumber fertilizer to give the plants the best conditions for a good yield.
Table of Contents
- Homemade compost as a fertilizer
- When to fertilize the plants
- The right start – How to fertilize cucumbers
- Taking care of young plants – how to use fertilizer
- What fertilizer for cucumbers: the choice of the right food
Homemade compost as a fertilizer
Homemade garden compost is used as a soil amendment, while fertilizer is used to promote plant growth. Compost can also be used as a topically applied fertilizer or a compost tea fertilizer. Compost contains the 17 nutrients cucumber plants need to grow and thrive. A shovelful of compost worked into each square foot of soil before planting will improve the nutrient content of the soil. Learn how to make your own compost here .
When to fertilize the plants
To fertilize cucumbers successfully , you need to provide them with nutrients at 3 different times and in 3 phases.
- At planting time
- When mulching around the plants
- At 2-week intervals during the development of the plants.
The right start – how to fertilize cucumbers
Successful cucumber growing starts with getting the plants off to a good start on the day of planting. The best way to do this is to give the plants a boost of nutrients right in the planting hole. How you fertilize depends on whether you are planting seeds or seedlings. When planting seeds, it’s important to mix a generous amount of compost into the soil first. How much compost? A good rule of thumb is that the planting hole or mound should be 50% soil and 50% compost. Compost is really a perfect, natural, balanced slow-release fertilizer. Not only is it teeming with minerals and beneficial organisms, but it also helps retain moisture in the soil. And that moisture is important for seeds to germinate and grow quickly.
Taking care of young plants – How to apply fertilizer.
Once your plants are in the ground and established, the next step is to provide them with regular but light applications of fertilizer as they develop. What does “established” mean? For transplants, it means the plants have 7 to 10 days to get their roots into the soil before fertilizing. For seeds, it means letting them grow until the seedlings are at least a few inches tall and have developed 3 to 5 leaves. If you don’t give your plants extra fertilizer after planting, they probably won’t perform as well as they should. However, if you give them too much, they will produce only foliage and few cucumbers.
When a vegetable plant is fertilized too often or too much, it uses the excess energy to grow leaves rather than flowers. The result is a vigorous plant with low production. And if too much fertilizer is applied, the plant may even die. When planting transplants, compost is the solution here as well. Dig the planting hole about three times the size of the root ball. Then fill the hole with a 50/50 mix of soil and compost to provide ready-made nutrients for the plants.
What fertilizer for cucumbers: choosing the right food.
Compost tea, worm tea or a high-quality soluble organic fertilizer are great for fertilizing the plants. Fertilize them every 10 to 14 days for the first 8 to 12 weeks for vigorous growth and higher yield. For proper plant care, organic gardeners recommend a homemade fertilizer blend of seed meal, lime, bone meal and kelp meal. All materials come from nature and are usually available at garden centers. Seed meal can be purchased online or at a farm feed store. Homemade fertilizer will not burn the tender cucumber plants and it is very easy and simple to make cucumber fertilizer yourself.
Make your own cucumber fertilizer: Recipe
- Mix the ingredients in a large bucket or container.
- Measure 4 quarts of seed meal into a clean plastic bucket.
- Stir 1/4 quart of regular farm lime into the bucket with the seed meal.
- Add 1/4 liter of gypsum to the bucket.
- Pour 1/2 liter of dolomitic lime and mix all ingredients thoroughly.
- Supplement the fertilizer with 1 quart of bone meal, rock phosphate or phosphate-rich guano and 1/2 to 1 quart of kelp meal or 1 quart of basalt dust and mix well. This step is useful if your soil is particularly poor in trace nutrients. If you don’t know the nature of your soil, have a sample tested at your extension office.
- Work this fertilizer into the garden soil at a rate of 4 to 6 gallons per 100 square feet of garden space before planting your cucumbers.
- Adjust this recipe to the amount of fertilizer you need, but keep the proportions the same.
- Also, work in a half-inch of compost along with the fertilizer.
When to apply the homemade cucumber fertilizer.
Add 1 cup of the homemade fertilizer to the plants as a supplement one week after flowering begins. Fertilize again in three weeks. Do not continue to fertilize as this will encourage vine growth at the expense of fruit development. Cucumber plants do well when fertilized mid-season. Spread 1 cup of the fertilizer mixture around the plant and water it.