Could You Grow a Plant from Cucumber Seeds? (Explained for Beginners)

Cucumbers belong to the gourd family of plants, as do pumpkins, calabashes, and melons. Gourds can generally be grown from seeds with only minor preparation before planting, and although they might be slow to germinate they will grow without too much fuss. Is this true for cucumbers as well? Let’s find out.

Cucumbers can be grown from seeds. Not only is this possible, but it is also often easier to do so than to transplant. This is because cucumber roots are notoriously sensitive and might easily be harmed by transplantation to a new pot.

Speaking of growing cucumbers, the cucumber was one of the first plants domesticated by humans in India, some 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. During the last few thousand years, cucumber has been one of the most widely cultivated vegetables in the world, and it remains so today. 

Although some may find the taste of cucumber to be bland, the numbers speak for themselves. Cucumbers are one of the most widely-eaten plants on the planet. And we do well to eat them too. Cucumbers contain magnesium, potassium, and vitamins C and K.

The health benefits of eating cucumbers range from general hydration to maintaining blood sugar levels and benefitting bone health. Not bad for a plant that is 96% water.  Let’s have a look at how to grow our own cucumbers from seeds.

How Do You Start a Cucumber Plant from a Seed?

If we try to plant the seeds we get from a store-bought cucumber we might find it difficult or impossible to get it to work. These minuscule seeds might not be fertile, and it is doubtful whether they will ever germinate. This is because many such cucumbers are actually hybrids and won’t breed normal cucumbers even if they do germinate. Instead, I recommend anyone who wants to grow cucumbers at home buy cucumber seeds. Cucumber seeds are easily available online. 

I recommend planting the seeds in the soil at 3 times their own high deep, which is about an inch into the soil. Cucumbers need their space to grow, so make sure to keep each seed around 27 inches apart. After planting them, put the container with soil and seeds in full sunlight and make sure to keep the soil moist. The container doesn’t need to be fancy, anything that holds the soil in and has enough depth, like a regular seed tray, will do.

Cucumbers need warmth to grow so the sunlight part is non-negotiable. Depending on where you live, you will want to consider the season to ensure that your newly planted seeds get these requirements met. In England or North America, I would say mid-spring at the earliest.

Can I Start Cucumber Seeds Indoors?

We have seen that cucumbers require quite a lot of sunlight to grow well. How will this affect our prospects of successfully growing them indoors? Luckily, I have found that as long as you place your seed tray close to a window that gets ample sunlight during the day, the seeds germinate just fine.

Just make sure that all that delicious sunlight doesn’t dry out the soil. One inch of water per week is a good benchmark here. Consistency in watering is key and will also yield better-tasting cucumbers. On the other hand, if direct sunlight is not possible we should instead take care not to overwater. 

Another good reason to grow your cucumbers indoors is to avoid frost, which could potentially destroy the seeds before they get a chance to sprout seedlings. By growing our seeds indoors or in a greenhouse we can more easily regulate the temperature and avoid freezing our precious cucumbers-to-be.

Cucumber growing indoors.

In short, cucumbers can be started both indoors or outside, and your decision will ultimately depend on your housing circumstances and where in the world you live. If you live in parts of England or North America with a relatively short growing season, then I would recommend that you start your cucumber seeds inside. By starting your seeds inside you gain valuable time for them to germinate and gain a head start before the growing season kicks off outside.

What Is the Fastest Way to Germinate Cucumber Seeds?

Cucumbers naturally grow very quickly once they germinate. But, how long does it take for the seeds to germinate, and how can we speed this process up? Cucumber seeds normally germinate in about 3 to 10 days, but it may take as long as up to 3 weeks. We have seen that growing them inside gives the plants a headstart early in the season, but it doesn’t actually speed up the germination time, that is the time from putting the seed into the soil until the first seedling appears. To do this, there are some tricks we can use.

Since cucumber seeds require a warm environment to thrive, we can help speed up their germination by keeping them cozy. One trick to keep the soil warm is by putting it on top of the refrigerator. The heat pump that keeps the inside of the fridge cool will deposit its excess heat on top of the machine and warm the seeds in the process. 

We have talked about keeping the soil moist and warm for our seeds to germinate. But what about the soil itself? One way to enhance our chances of swift germination is to give our seeds the best environment for them to grow. We could for example add a little organic fertilizer to our soil, or some manure if we have that option available.

Related article: What is The Best Organic Soil for Vegetable Garden in Raised Bed?

Oh and about that high moisture requirement that cucumber seeds have, we can ensure that our seeds get as good of a start as possible by giving them moisture even before planting them. 

Do You Need to Soak Cucumber Seeds Before Planting?

Since our cucumber growing season might be rather short we might want to employ all the techniques we can to help our cucumbers germinate quickly. One such technique is pre-soaking. We do this by soaking out cucumber seeds in warm water for 5 to 10 hours before planting them. This will activate enzymes that make the seeds grow ahead of time and help our tiny seeds kick-start their germination.

While this is a trick to help kickstart seed germination, and I do recommend doing it if speed is essential to you, this is not strictly necessary. Even without soaking the seeds, cucumbers will usually germinate within 3 to 10 days. 

Growing your own cucumbers at home is a rewarding enterprise. It’s fun and since it’s fairly easy we can involve kids in the process too. Not to mention, home-grown cucumbers won’t have any pesticides, and won’t arrive wrapped in layers of plastics whose residue might linger even after we remove the wrapping.

Finally cucumbers we grow ourselves will be as crisp and nutritious as any cucumber you have ever tasted, with all the health benefits of their kind. Happy planting!

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