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Starting and Growing Cucurbits

Starting and Growing Cucurbits

Here are some tips for growing Cucurbit vine crops such as cucumbers, squash, melons, and watermelons in our temperate climate.

  • Cucurbits grow best when the days and nights are consistently warm. Don't gamble with the weather, especially since this spring has been so unpredictable. Use a soil thermometer. Warm season crops, like cucurbits, prefer temperatures of 70 to 95 degrees F.The standard for measuring soil temperature is to take the temperature 4 inches deep at 8 am.  
  • Get a 2-4 week jumpstart on your cucurbits by starting seeds indoors in 4" pots.
  • Cucurbits need full sun and well drained soil to thrive. They also need a lot of space to vine and sprawl. Cucumber vines can be trained to climb a vertical trellis to save space.
  • All cucurbits require low nitrogen and high potassium for fruit development. Be careful not to over fertilize with nitrogen (e.g.compost, fish fertilizer) as this will encourage lush, healthy vine growth but it will stunt fruit growth. 
  • Provide one inch of water per week, delivered slowly (by hand or with a drip emitter) and in the early morning.
  • Did you know zucchini, delicata squash, and pumpkin all belong to the same species? They are all in the main Cucurbitaceae species: pepo, maxima, and moschata.
  • Use row crop cover to protect your cucumbers from one of the big pests in our region, cucumber beetles.