How Often To Water Cucumbers

Water cucumbers less frequently with deeper waterings. Deep watering promotes deep root growth as the topsoil drys and roots are forced to dig deeper for water.

Another benefit of watering deeply but less often the shallow roots of the cucumber plant don’t sit in wetness for prolonged time periods which can lead to root rot.

Water cucumbers with 1″ of water a week early in the season when temperatures are lower and the cucumber plant is in its vegetative growth stage. Water with 2 inches of water a week as the season gets hotter and the cucumber plant gets large, starts to flower, and produce fruit.

Add rainfall into your figuring. We use to know the expected rainfall and a rain gauge in the garden for an accurate figure of rainfall.

If you use a sprinkler and the rain gauge is in the waters path you’ll be able to tell how much time passes for it to fill with 1/2″-1″ of water. Another way to know is 1″ of water = 0.6 gallons per square foot. Add rainfall into your figuring.

By watering evenly with 1″ of water, soil will be wet 5-6 inches down. This way the plant still has access to water after the topsoil dries.

Another way to check if you need to water or not is to put your finger in the soil 3-4″ deep. If it is dry you should water and if it’s moist leave it be.

Cucumber Watering Tips

Watering Containers – You want to water containers thoroughly and slowly so that water gets evenly distributed throughout the container. You can forget about watering 1″ deep and know you’ve watered enough when the water is draining out of the bottom more than a dripping. If you water too fast it’ll drain from the bottom but the water won’t be evenly distributed and there will be dry spots left in the container.

There are two reasons to water containers all the way through and that is to wet the soil throughout the container and to prevent build up of salt and minerals at a certain level. This build up can happen if the plant only gets watered half way over and over. Watering through flushes the soil evenly.

Make sure your pot is well draining. If something seems off it’s also possible for a “perched water table”, or pocket of water, to form in a container which can be resolved by tilting the container to 45 degrees and holding it there in a few different directions.

If you want to get more scientific than “water through the container slowly” here is a scientific article on using a containers weight to determine water requirements. Here’s a cool quote from the article.

“In container nurseries, water is the most important, and perhaps the most dangerous, chemical used “

(Dumroese 2012)

Water Slowly and Evenly At Their Base – Water the cucumber plants at their base where the roots are. This is easy to tell if you have nice elevated rows or mounds. Water slowly and evenly so that you don’t erode the dirt where plants are planted.

Hill Up Mounds or Rows – Cucumber plants are commonly grown in mounds or rows. If you’re growing in mounds you probably have them hilled up already. If you’re growing in rows elevate the row before planting cucumbers by mounding dirt together about 8″ high in a row. Hilling will help water drain better and ensure that the cucumbers are not sitting in a pool of water with heavy rains.

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Water Deep & Sometimes Right After Rain – Watering deep and less often is important for the shallow rooting cucumbers. This way we avoid leaving the topsoil regularly drenched which can lead to root rot.

If you know that you only got a 1/8″-1/4″ or so of rain consider watering after the rain stops to make for a deeper watering. If you water with 1″ of rain it will wet the soil 5-6 inches down.

Keep Foliage Dry – Watering from a ground irrigation system is preferred to overhead watering to keep the foliage dry. Growing on a trellis is an easy solution to water the soil without wetting the foliage and it increases air circulation.

Powdery mildew can be a problem for cucumber plants and occurs with wet hot conditions and foliage that sits on top of itself. If you’re growing cucumbers on the ground watering in the morning can give foliage a chance to dry out as well as let the water sink in before evaporating off.

Take Soil Type Into Consideration – If your soil is sandy water will drain quickly and more frequent watering will be necessary. If your soil is heavily clay water will stay in the soil for longer and you’ll need to be wary of pooling and prolonged periods of consistent moisture that can cause root rot.

Whichever soil type you have adding mulch is the right move to make your soil more loamy. This will help sandy soil retain moisture and heavily clay soil to drain better and have more aeration and easier root growth. Here’s an article that’s all about soil for cucumbers.

Hot Weather, Flowering & Fruiting – During spells of hot weather and during the times when cucumbers are flowering and producing fruit water more frequently. Check moisture levels by feeling the soil int the ground 2-3 inches deep. If it’s moist maybe you can hold off but if it’s dry down a few inches you definitely need to water.

Mulch – Mulching can help your soil retain moisture when the weather is hot. It can also insulate soil temperature and keep the temperature cooler when it’s hot and warmer when the air is cold. Check out this article from the farmer’s almanac for everything about mulch.

Do Cucumber Plants Need A Lot Of Water?

Cucumber plants do need a lot of water, less in the beginning of the season and more as the season goes on. Cucumber plants should get 1-2 inches of water a week including rainfall. By watering deeply and less frequently we can avoid consistently drenched top soil which puts the shallow rooting cucumber plant at risk of root rot.

Cucumber plants need more water as the season goes on. Temperature increases and plants getting larger and starting to produce flowers and fruit are the causes of this.

You want the topsoil to dry out at least 1″ deep before watering. If it’s dry 3-4 inches down it’s definitely watering time. You can know if the topsoil is dry by putting your fingers into it!

What Happens If You Overwater Cucumbers

Overwatering cucumbers or any garden plant can lead to plant death. Shallow roots of plants that constantly sit in wet soil will have a higher chance of developing root rot. Root rot is a plant killer. The shallow roots of the rot sitting in water turn to mush killing the root system of the plant.

If you’ve noticed that the soil around your cucumber plants has been wet for an extended period of time or start seeing the plants turning yellow and wilting they might be overwatered.

With some root rot plants can be saved by being uprooted and transplanted elsewhere but if a large part of the root system has been compromised the plant is most likely not saveable.

Please share your thoughts on watering cucumbers below.

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