Vertical vines – the magic cucumber pot

IMG_2970Summer is here.  Well it certainly smelled like it when I picked the kids up from school..

Right on cue the cucumber pot has burst into life, the vines doubling in size almost overnight.  Every year it’s the same  and every year it makes me so happy!

In the beginning I planted some Lebanese seeds in a large pot the winter peas had inhabited.  In my rush to “just get them in the ground” I left the recycled chicken wire and bamboo stick trellis I’d Macgyvered up from verge pickings in the pot (so the dog wouldn’t chew it).

Enjoying the nitrogen rich chicken poop soil required for growing peas, the cucumbers went gangbusters.  After a week of spring rain I went outside to scope my kingdom and found the vines had snaked their way up my shanty trellis!

Each spring I plant around 10 cucumber seeds in the same pot, with the same trellis.  When the vines get to decent size I tie them to the trellis with twisty ties.  Losing the crop to a summer storm is too heartbreaking.  You can be reasonably rough with them and tie them in groups too.  Note: a truly obnoxious plant, handle with gloves on.  Those little spikes are so painful.

The result is fresh crunchy cucumbers hanging like Japanese lanterns – free from ground pest damage and easy to find/harvest.

IMG_2967Upkeep

Cucumbers are very thirsty and need a LOT of regular watering (at the roots, do not wet the leaves) and a good mulch base.   They also need feeding.  I dose mine daily with a scoop of chicken poop mixed in a bucket of water.  Also if they aren’t in all day sun, it just isn’t going to work.

Warning: fresh Lebanese cucumbers are crunchy like apples and don’t look or taste like the flaccid over-ripe green dongs from Woolworths.  They are also covered in little spikes (rubbing them very lightly with a clean tea towel does the trick to remove them).