Growing Cucumbers On A Trellis: How To Grow Cucumbers Vertically
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Growing cucumbers on a trellis is easy, looks awesome, and has tons of great benefits. In this article, I’ll show you how to grow cucumbers vertically, give you techniques for training and trellising cucumbers, and tips for choosing the right type of support for them.
I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely hooked on growing vertically! I grow as many of my vegetables vertically as I can, and cucumbers are no exception.
I started growing cucumbers on a trellis in my garden several years ago, and I’ve never looked back. It’s super easy to trellis cucumbers, and a great way to grow a healthy, highly productive, and beautiful crop.
Here’s what you’ll find in this guide to growing cucumbers vertically. You can either click the links to skip to each section, or simply continue reading to learn it all…
Do Cucumber Plants Need Support?
Growing cucumbers vertically sounds great and all… but do cucumbers need a trellis to grow?
Well, technically the answer is no. But, let me tell you a little story…
When I first started gardening, I always let my cucumbers grow on the ground. Since I was a newbie gardener, I didn’t know there was any other option.
The problem with growing cucumbers on the ground is that, once the plants start to get really large, they take up a lot of space. And, when left to sprawl, cucumber vines can quickly take over the garden!
I’d always grow them in a long row, and then train the vines to grow into each other. I tried my best to keep them within their row.
This worked pretty well, but by the end of the summer, I could barely reach some of the cucumbers, or walk on that side of the garden because the row became so wide.
Plus it was very difficult to harvest my cucumbers because they were hidden under all that foliage, and it became super frustrating for me.
Then one year I decided to try growing cucumbers on a trellis like I have always grown my beans. And let me tell you, that was the best gardening decision I ever made!
So, should you trellis cucumbers? Well, if I haven’t convinced you yet then keep reading…
Growing Cucumbers On A Trellis
If you’ve never tried growing cucumbers on a trellis, you’re missing out! Not only does it save you tons of space in the garden, there are lots of wonderful benefits to trellising cucumbers.
But before I go on and on about how awesome it is to grow cucumbers vertically, let’s talk about different types of cucumber plants (cause not all types of cucumbers will grow on a trellis).
Best Cucumbers To Grow Vertically
Generally speaking, there are two types of cucumber plants: bush varieties and vining varieties. Vining varieties of cucumbers are climbing plants that grow a trellis, and bush cucumber varieties are not.
So, if you want to try growing cucumbers on a trellis, you need to make sure you buy climbing cucumber varieties, and not the bush types.
How can you tell the difference? The seed packet or plant tag should tell you what type it is. A few of my favorite climbing cucumbers to grow are Homemade Pickles, Sumter, Lemon and Marketmore.
Related Post: How To Plant Cucumber Seeds: A Step-By-Step Guide
Benefits Of Growing Cucumbers Vertically
Ok, now that we know the best types of trellis cucumbers to grow, I can tell you about all of the awesomeness that comes with growing them vertically.
Not only does it look cool, but there are lots of benefits of growing cucumbers on a trellis too…
More space – One of the biggest benefits is space! When you grow cucumbers vertically, rather than allowing them to sprawl on the ground like I used to do, it frees up tons of space in your garden. Plus you can grow other plants underneath.
Prevents disease – When cucumbers grow on the ground, the soil splashes up on their leaves. This can cause major problems with soil borne diseases and fungus. Trellising cucumbers slows down the spread of disease, keeping the plants much healthier.
Better airflow – Growing cucumbers vertically also allows better airflow so the leaves will dry out faster, which will help to prevent fungal diseases as well.
Protected from pests – Getting those yummy cucumbers up off the ground will keep them out of reach of many pests that could easily eat them. Plus, trellised cucumbers won’t rot like they can when they’re just sitting on the ground.
Easier to harvest – Growing cucumbers vertically also makes it easier to harvest them. You won’t have to bend down and hunt for them. The cucumbers hang down from the vine, making them much easier to find.
Gorgeous cucumbers – Vertical cucumbers will always grow straight and beautiful, since gravity pulls them down. They’re also cleaner, and won’t have an ugly yellow spot on them (which happens when cucumbers lay on the ground).
Vertical Supports For Climbing Cucumbers
You can use any type of support to grow cucumbers vertically, so use your creativity! But there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re choosing the perfect support…
Height – Cucumber vines grow really long, so you’ll want to think about the height of the trellis. Make sure it’s tall enough so the vines have plenty of space to grow, but not so that you can’t easily reach the top to harvest your cucumbers. Something that’s 4-6′ tall would be perfect.
Strength – The vertical structure you choose for trellising cucumbers also needs to be strong enough to support their weight. Cucumber vines are pretty lightweight, but they can quickly become heavy with mature fruit.
Airflow – Make sure the support you choose is open enough so the vines don’t grow in a tight cluster. Cucumbers plants need plenty of airflow to prevent the spread of disease and fungus problems, and an open trellis design will help to give them plenty of airflow. Plus, when the plants are crammed together, it’s much more difficult to harvest.
Cucumber Trellis Ideas
When it comes trellis ideas there are tons of options, so get creative with it. You can trellis cucumbers on any type of vertical growing support, but it’s always fun to find new ideas.
To make harvesting much easier, try using an a-frame style trellis so that the cucumbers will hang down. Beautiful!
A lean-to style trellis also works great to make harvesting easier, and you can grow other stuff underneath it (this medium sized one is perfect for a smaller space or raised beds).
If you’d rather make your own growing support, check out my arched cucumber trellis design plans. It’s an easy DIY project.
Using Chicken Wire For Trellising Cucumbers
If you make a trellis for cucumbers out of chicken wire, or similar type of material that has small holes, you’ll need to keep an eye on your cucumbers.
Baby cucumbers can easily grow through the holes in the fencing, and get stuck as they grow larger.
So, when growing cucumbers on a trellis like this, be sure to watch out for all the new cucumbers. If any of them start poking through the fencing, be sure to move them out before they become stuck.
If you find one wedged in there, you can still harvest it. Take a sharp knife and cut the cucumber open to remove it from the fencing. No biggy, you’ll just have to eat that one right away.
How To Grow Cucumbers Vertically
By now you might be wondering “how do cucumbers climb?”. I mean, do cucumbers grow on vines or what? Well, kinda…
Climbing cucumbers actually grow vining tendrils, which are basically side shoots that grow out of the main stem. These tendrils will reach out and grab onto anything they touch.
Oh, and don’t worry about giving them any extra support. The cucumbers won’t get too heavy and rip off the vine when grown vertically. Cucumber vines are plenty strong enough to support the full weight of their fruit.
How To Trellis Cucumbers
Vining cucumbers will climb a trellis, but they aren’t always great climbers on their own. Sometimes they need your help to find the support they’re supposed to be climbing.
Gravity is working against us, and sometimes the vines prefer to grow along the ground. Other times, cucumber vines can start climbing on nearby plants instead of their dedicated vertical support.
So, you’ll need to check on them regularly, and train the cucumbers to grow vertically when they need it.
How To Train Cucumbers To Climb A Trellis
Don’t worry, training cucumbers on a trellis isn’t hard. To train cucumbers to grow vertically, you can gently straighten the unruly vines, and attach them to their support.
Cucumber vines don’t always need to be tied to the support though. You can gently wrap or weave the stems around the trellis, and the tendrils will grab on as they grow.
But, you can help them out by tying the vines onto the support using twine, choose-a-size metal twist ties, plastic flexible plant ties, or plant clips.
Just be sure to tie them to the growing support very loosely, you don’t want the ties to strangle the vines as they grow thicker. Learn more about training vines here.
Growing cucumbers on a trellis is easy, and there are lots of great benefits. Not only will trellising cucumbers save a ton of space in your garden, your plants will be healthier, prettier, and harvesting will be a snap too! And now that you know how to grow cucumbers vertically, you can have some fun with it!
Do you want to learn even more about growing vegetables vertically? My brand new book would be perfect for you! Vertical Vegetables: Simple Projects That Deliver More Yield In Less Space has all the information you need in order to grow any type of vegetable you want vertically. Plus it has design and care tips, detailed plant lists, and nearly two dozen step-by-step projects that you can build for your garden. Order your copy today!
Learn more about my new Vertical Vegetables book here.
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Share your tips for growing cucumbers on a trellis in the comments section below!
Growing cucumbers on a trellis is easy! Learn how to grow cucumbers vertically, including benefits, choosing supports, techniques for training, and more.