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An upside-down container gardening isn’t a new concept. You might not have come across it until today, but it has been in practice for a while now, especially in areas where pests and diseases are a major problem. Most pests and diseases work their way up to your cucumber vine from the ground, and are, in fact, called soil-borne problems. Why not try growing cucumbers upside down instead so they’re untouched by pests and diseases, while also taking advantage of improved air circulation, drainage, and sunlight? Furthermore, there’s no risk of fruit rot since the ripe fruit won’t contact the ground.
Continue reading and you’ll learn the complete procedure to this unique, yet, productive way of growing cucumbers.
Table of Contents
How To Plant Cucumbers Upside Down
You might not have done this before, but planting cucumbers upside down is almost as simple as planting them the conventional way. Here’s what you have to do:
Upside Down Gardening Materials Required –
Gather your supplies before getting started. Here’s a list of things you’ll need:
1. 5-gallon bucket with handle
2. Electric drill
3. Potting soil
4. 5-10-10 fertilizer
5. Foam (6 inch circle)
6. Cucumber seedling
Growing Cucumbers Upside Down Steps
Once you have all your supplies ready, you’ll be all set to plant your upside-down cucumber plant. The procedure is straightforward. Just follow the steps below and you’ll have the plant set up in no time.
- Drill a 2 inch hole in the center of the bottom of the bucket.
- Cut out a small hole in the center of the foam and cut a line from the hole to the circumference.
- Prepare the soil by mixing 5 gallons of potting soil with the recommended amount of 5-10-10 fertilizer mentioned on the package.
- Hold the bucket above the ground safely using two chairs or tables so that there is open space under the hole you drilled.
- Gently slide out the cucumber seedling from the nursery container.
- Hold the plant upside down, with the root ball facing upwards and gently push it through the hole on the bottom of the bucket. Now the roots should be suspended inside the bucket and the leaves and stems of the plant hang upside down in air from under the bucket.
- Now push the foam circle around the base of the plant inside the bucket from the open side. The foam will keep the plant from sliding out through the hole at the bottom of the bucket.
- Add soil from the open side of the container. Fill the bucket until the soil is an inch from the rim.
- Install a hook on the wall at a sunny spot next to a window.
- Hang the bucket on the hook with the handle on its rim.
- Place a tray under the bucket to catch water.
- Water the bucket from the top until it comes out from the bottom hole.
Upside down cucumbers don’t need much special attention. Here are some tips.
- Cucumber plants will need to be watered every other day during the hot, dry summers.
- Start applying a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer from about 1 week after blooming and every 3 weeks thereafter until the harvest season ends.
- Make sure the cucumber plant is getting plenty of sunlight on all sides. Remove the bucket from the hook every other day or so to switch the side of the bucket that’s facing the sun so that sunlight is evely available to all the sides of the plant.
What Can I Plant With Cucumbers?
There are a number of vegetables that make excellent companion plants for cucumbers. Thinking in terms of upside-down gardening, you might even be able to grow some of these upwards from the same bucket that’s holding your upside-down cucumbers!
Here are some of the shallow-rooted vegetables that make good companions for cucumbers and can easily grow from the top, open side of the same bucket that has cucumber plant coming out from the opposite side.
- Baby carrots
Here are some of the other vegetables that need more space and won’t work well when planted in the same pot as cucumbers, but will work great as companion plants in a garden bed:
Whether gardening upside down or the regular way, some plants should never be grown with cucumbers. Here’s a list of species you’ll want to grow as far apart from cucumbers as possible:
The best part about growing cucumbers, or any vegetable for that matter, is harvest! Cucumbers take a long growing season and you’ll typically have to wait 50 to 70 days from planting until the time you can start harvesting the fruit. Fruits ripen at different times and you’ll need to pick them at just the right time to enjoy the best flavors and the crunchiest textures. If left too long on the vine, cucumbers will turn bitter and the seeds will turn too tough to chew. When this happens, the fruit is past its prime harvesting time.
The seed packet typically mentions the number of days to harvest and the mature size of the cucumbers. Harvest the fruits as soon as they turn the recommended size. Once the first batch of cucumbers comes to harvest, check the vine every other day and pick the cukes that are ready.
Slicing cucumbers, for fresh eating, are typically picked when they are 7 to 9 inches long and dark green in color. Pickling cucumbers are harvested much earlier, as soon as they grow to two inches in length. If you plan on making dill pickles, wait until the cucumbers grow to 3 to 4 inches before harvesting them.
Growing Cucumbers Upside Down Conclusion
So this is how to grow cucumbers upside down inside. Consider growing dwarf cucumber varieties in your upside-down garden so the plant doesn’t become too heavy to drag itself or the container down under the pressure of gravity.
Growing cucumbers upside down can be an amazing experience right from the beginning all the way to the end of the harvest period. If you’ve been growing cucumbers before, you’ll notice healthier and more productive growth with this interesting approach.