Compared with other commonly grown vegetables, cucumber plants can engulf a large amount of ground space in the garden. Many varieties require a minimum of 4 square feet per plant. That makes this crunchy crop impractical for gardeners with a limited size vegetable bed. Luckily, growing cucumbers in bags is an excellent way to preserve your ground space and also grow cucumbers.
How to Grow a Cucumber Plant in a Bag
Follow these simple steps for your own bag grown cucumbers:
- Choose a cucumber grow bag. You can purchase bags specially made for this purpose or reuse heavy-duty plastic bags. White potting soil bags work well and can be turned inside out to hide the printed label. Avoid black garbage bags as these absorb too much heat from the sun.
- Prepare the cucumber grow bag. Commercially available woven or plastic bags are often designed to be self-supported. Hanging type bags do require a method for installation. Homemade bags lack structural support and need to be adapted for drainage. When using the latter, a plastic milk crate is an inexpensive and reusable method for supporting the grow bag. Poking holes or cutting slits about two inches (5 cm.) from the bottom of the bag allows excess water to drain while providing a small well to maintain moisture.
- Fill the cucumber grow bag. Place 2 inches (5 cm.) of small rocks or a coir planter liner in the bottom of the bag to facilitate proper drainage. If needed, add a layer of charcoal to discourage algae growth. Fill the bag with a quality potting soil. Adding compost or a slow-release fertilizer can provide additional nutrients throughout the growing season. Mixing in perlite or vermiculite will help maintain soil moisture levels.
- Plant the cucumber grow bag. To ensure evenly moist soil, water the bag prior to planting. Plant two to three cucumber seeds per bag or one to two cucumber seedlings, depending upon the size of the bag. Overcrowding can result in too much competition for nutrients.
- Give it some light. Place your cucumber plant in a bag where it will receive at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Avoid setting the bags on black asphalt or other surfaces which absorb the sun’s heat. Cucumbers require more water than other crops, so locate your bag grown cucumbers where they can be easily watered.
- Provide a trellis or fence. Giving cucumber vines a support to climb will reduce the space needed for each cucumber plant in a bag. Planting cucumbers in the top of a hanging type bag and allowing the vines to dangle to the ground is another space saving option.
- Keep the soil evenly moist, but not soggy. Container plants dry quicker than those in the ground. During hot, dry weather thoroughly water your cucumbers in bags in the evening as the heat of the day begins to dissipate.
- Routinely feed your cucumber plant in a bag. Apply a balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer or use manure tea every two to three weeks. For bushier bag grown cucumbers, try pinching off the growing tip when the vines have formed six leaves.