Cucumbers don’t last long around our house. We use them in many different kinds of meals, salads, and snacks; my favorite being bread and butter pickles. Hydroponic cucumbers are easy to grow, grow fast, and produce a lot. Here’s a simple guide to growing hydroponic cucumbers.
Recommended Cucumber Varieties for Hydroponics
Any cucumber variety will work growing hydroponic cucumbers. You should choose the variety based on the purpose (cucumbers or pickles) and by your garden setup. I like using bush varieties like Spacemaster and Bush Champion cucumbers.
Getting Hydroponic Cucumbers Started
Germinating seeds- Starting from seed is my preferred method of getting my cucumber garden started. Cucumber seeds are easy to germinate, germinate fast, and seedlings grow quickly. Seeds should be kept between 70 and 85 degrees and take 3-10 days to germinate.
Cloning Cucumbers- Cucumbers can be cloned but I’ve found the process more work/time than just starting from seed. Cloning plants using hydroponics is an easy process that guarantees you to get a plant with the same traits as the one being cloned.
Transplant plant from dirt- Another way to get your hydroponic cucumber garden going is to transplant them from dirt. Though buying plants is the more costly option, it does save you the time of having to mess with germinating seeds. To find out more you can check out this article on how to transplant a plant from dirt to a hydroponics system.
What Hydroponic Systems Works Best For Hydroponic Cucumbers?
There are a few things to consider before choosing the best hydroponic system to grow your cucumbers. You will need to decide where your growing and what variety of cucumbers you want to grow.
Growing indoors often means less room, so I would recommend a bush variety of cucumber. For my indoor cucumbers, I opted for deep water culture, in 5-gallon buckets and tubs. If you have an ebb and flow system with a big enough grow bed and light coverage, those systems also work well too.
Growing cucumbers outdoors is easier than growing indoors and typically produces more due to having more space. Outside cucumber gardens can be trained to grow vertical more easily, meaning less space is required between plants.
When growing cucumbers outdoors, I would recommend using bubble buckets, drip systems, dutch bucket systems, and large ebb and flow systems. Even when growing bush varieties I recommend using a trellis.
Cucumbers will grow a large root system and be heavy, especially when fruiting. This makes them ill-suited for nft and rail systems. Make sure your system and plant support can hold the weight of your full-grown cucumber plant.
What Is The Best Temperature For Hydroponic Cucumbers?
Hydroponic cucumber plants can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. Cucumbers grow well in a range of 70-80 degrees during the day or lights on period. Plants benefit from a drop in temperature of about 10 degrees to simulate outdoor patterns.
Spacing Requirements For Hydroponic Cucumbers
Hydroponic cucumbers need plenty of room to grow. With that said you can still place a few cucumbers in hydroponic systems in “patches”, just like in a traditional garden.
Cucumber patches need to be 2-6 feet apart depending on the variety and how you train the growth. Plants that are left to vine out on the ground need the most space. Bush and container varieties should be about 3-4 feet apart while plants grown straight up only need a couple of feet between plants.
You can always prune and pinch your cucumber plant back to control its growth.
How Much Light Do Hydroponic Cucumbers need?
Cucumbers grow like crazy and can produce a lot of fruit. That production takes energy, so make sure to give your hydroponic cucumbers plenty of light. Hydroponic cucumbers should receive full sun or 12-14 hours of light each day.
Recommended pH Level For Hydroponic Cucumbers
The recommended pH level for hydroponic cucumber plants is 5.0–6.0.
Hydroponic Cucumbers Nutrient Requirements
Cucumber plants should start off being grown with a nutrient regimen geared towards vegetative growth. A simple one-part nutrient solution like Dyna Gro Grow works well up until your cucumber plants are ready for flowering.
For the flowering stage, you should switch to a nutrient regimen with less nitrogen and more phosphorus and potassium for flower and fruit production. A 1 part nutrient like Dyna-Gro Liquid Bloom is easy to use for the flower and fruiting stage of growth. I also use Dyna-Gro’s Pro Tekt throughout the growth cycle.
One part nutrient regimens are easy to use but don’t allow you the flexibility to tailor your nutrients to the specific crop.
I’m a big fan of Dyna-Gro’s products because they are simple to use and work well for general hobby growing. When you start to understand the nutrient needs of the plant your growing, you may look to a more advanced nutrient regimen like General Hydroponics Flora Series. Plants can also benefit from various supplements that go by different names depending on the nutrient regimen you’re using.
Pollinating Cucumbers Grown Indoors
Cucumbers grown indoors will need some help with pollination, though I typically try to hand pollinate my outdoor cucumbers as well. Cucumber plants are monoecious plants, meaning they produce flowers with male and female parts on separate flowers. Cucumber flowers are easily distinguishable. Female flowers (shown in the picture above) will have a small cucumber at the base of the flower, while male flowers (shown below) are just a cluster of flowers, with no cucumber at their base.
There are a couple of different ways you can pollinate your hydroponic cucumbers. You can use a q tip or small paint brush and gently rub the male flower then transfer the pollen to the flower to assist pollination. Another option is plucking the male flower and rubbing it on the female flower. For more in-depth information on hand pollination, check out this article detailing 3 methods of hand pollination.
Harvesting Hydroponic Cucumbers
Cucumbers should be ready for harvest in about 50 to 70 days after sprouting, depending on the variety. Since the cucumbers on the plant start growing at different times, they will also be ready to harvest at different times. Cucumber should be medium to dark green, firm, and need to be picked before any yellowing.
To harvest, snip them about a quarter-inch above the vine. Some cucumbers may be prickly so you may want to use gloves. They will come off by hand when handling or when washing. You can always take a veggie brush and give them a good scrub as well. Cucumbers left on the vine until the recommended harvest date are typically less prickly.
I hope you have found this article helpful! If so, please take a second to show us some social media sharing love. I’ve also put together a pretty nifty infographic you can check out below.