How to grow cucumbers vertically
Updated: Nov 9, 2020
In the UK, cucumbers can grow very well both outdoors or in the greenhouse.
When buying seeds, do some research beforehand - outdoor types like 'Marketmore' or 'Burpless Tasty Green' can be grown outside without protection with great success. Greenhouse types like 'Mini Munch' will usually perform better under glass although they can also be productive outdoors.
Should you support cucumbers up a trellis or allow them to sprawl on the ground?
I prefer to support them vertically - that way, there is less risk of the fruit coming into contact with the soil leading to rot. It is also a good way to avoid pests on the ground like slugs.
Build a support structure by placing bamboo canes into the soil and the plants will happily climb up them.
This year, I also trained my plants across a mesh so that the fruit could hang downwards through it. It was glorious and extremely satisfying to pick.
When I posted this video on Instagram, I was surprised at how many people were interested in doing the same. So, how do you achieve this?
First, you need a horizontal support structure - either build one using bamboo canes or find something similar to what I am using, an old A-frame greenhouse.
Next, clad and secure some mesh over the top of the frame. I bought a roll of PVC coated wire netting from Screwfix. Secure either with garden twine/string or zip ties.
Then, train the plant's main growing tip across the mesh. To encourage the leader to grow, I pinched out a lot of side shoots (which are the growth that appears between the main stem and leaf node). If the side shoots have fruit, leave them be and pinch out the growing tip after it. Less foliage also means that the plants can focus on flower and fruit production.
When the fruit start to form, weave them through the mesh so they hang down through it (rather than across the top of the mesh).
And voila! The results are pretty impressive!
The variety I am growing is 'Mini Munch F1 Hybrid' from Thompson & Morgan - a female only variety that does not require insect pollination.