Cucumbers are in the same family as squash and melons but do not cross with them. Different varieties of cucumbers, however, will cross pollinate with each other and if you plan to save seed should be separated at least 200 feet apart. Most cucumber seedlings or seed that you purchase are F1 hybrids and will not breed true. If you plan to save seed choose open pollinated varieties.
Cucumbers are a warm season crop and seeds germinate best when temperatures are 90- 95 F. Transplanting sets cucumbers back so direct seeding outdoors is most effective but indoor sowing is possible.
Directions for Outdoor Planting:
1. Plant seed outdoors in well composted soil ½ to 1 inch deep after all danger of frost has passed and night time temperatures are consistently above 60 F. When temperatures fall below 60 F the seed have a tendency to rot. Plant eight to ten seed in hills spacing hills four to five feet apart; space seeds eight inches apart in rows. Seeds germinate in seven to ten day under optimal conditions.
2. Thin plants to three or four plants per hill or ten to twenty four inches apart in rows by snipping rather than pulling so as not to disturb nearby seedlings. Do not be in a hurry to thin the plants as cucumber beetles may remove some of the plants.
3. Cover plants if frost threatens.
4. Mulch when the soil is thoroughly warm.
Directions for Indoor Planting:
1. Three to four weeks before the last frost date sow two to three seed per peat pot ½ to 1 inch deep.
2. Provide bottom heat and keep soil moist but not wet. Seeds germinate in seven to ten days under optimum conditions.
3. Harden off seedlings and transplant the strongest seedling in each pot to the garden planting three or four plants per hill or spacing ten to twenty four inches apart in rows. Eliminate weak seedlings by cutting or sniping rather than pulling so that the roots of nearby plants will not be disturbed.
4. Water in well and do not move seedlings again.
5. Cover plants if frost threatens.
6. Mulch when the soil is thoroughly warm.