PHOTO: Jessica Walliser
July 6, 2017

If you live somewhere in USDA hardiness zones 5, 6 or 7 and you want a bigger, better cucumber harvest, sometime during the first two weeks of July is an excellent time to plant more cucumbers.

While you might think this is too late to plant a warm-season garden crop from seed, it’s not, especially if you seek out a cucumber variety that matures in less than 55 days. Good choices include Raider, Straight Eight and Pickle Bush.

Here are several great reasons you’ll want to sow seeds and plant more cucumbers in midsummer.

  • Sowing a succession crop of cucumbers in early July means they’ll be ready for harvest in the autumn, just before frost. This is the time when things typically calm down in the garden. Why not take advantage of that lull to make a batch of pickles?
  • Late-planted cucumber crops tend to face less pressure from cucumber beetles. By planting more seeds off the life cycle of the cucumber beetle, you could face less feeding damage and less bacterial wilt.
  • A late crop of cukes might be better pollinated. If you have pollination issues in your garden, late crops will often fare better because by late summer, native pollinator populations are their highest in many areas.
  • Four-lined plant bugs, flea beetles and several other vegetable pests are far less problematic in the late summer than they are in the spring. Planting more cucumbers in July could mean a more prolific harvest.
  • A fall crop of cukes can be planted where earlier crops were removed. For example, plant cucumber seeds after spring pea and lettuce plants are pulled. Cucumbers also work great after early plantings of carrots, beets and other root crops have been harvested.
  • Cucumbers love warm soil and air temperatures. Late-planted cucumbers tend to be faster growing and quicker to produce than spring-planted vines.

Protect Your Late Cucumber Harvest

If you plant more cucumbers in early July in USDA Zones 5, 6 or 7, they’ll be ready for harvest before typically timed frosts arrive, but there is a chance that a few early frosts could strike. Cucumber vines are not frost tolerant and will need to be protected should an untimely frost occur.

To protect cucumber plants from light frosts, cover the vines with a double layer of floating row cover. This lightweight, transparent fabric rests on the plant tops, providing them with a layer of protection. Pin down the edges to hold them in place, but remove the fabric in the late morning to allow access to pollinators during the day. Be sure to cover them up at night, whenever a frost is expected.

Though you won’t have quite as long of a harvest window as you would with a spring-planted cucumber crop, if you plant more cucumbers in early July you’ll have a second harvest of this delicious, easy-to-grow crop. It’s a great way to fill garden space vacated by earlier crops, and you can even grow the vines up a trellis or fence if you’d like.


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