Cucumbers are very tasty and nutritious. Many people grow them in their garden or in containers.
You may wonder how many plants you will need to plant to have enough cucumbers.
How Many Cucumbers Does One Plant Produce?
Each cucumber vine is a little different, but the average slicing cucumber has ten to fifteen cucumbers per vine. The average pickling cucumber has twenty per vine. Heirloom cucumbers produce less than modern hybrids.
Trellised cucumbers can produce two to three times the number of cucumbers that vines on the ground do. The fruit is straighter and does not get belly rot or eaten by ground-dwelling insects such as rollie pollies. The cucumbers are easier to find on the vine, too, so they do not get too big because they are lost in the foliage.
How Many Cucumber Plants Do I Need Per Person?
How many cucumber plants you need depends on how you use them and how much you like them. If you are pickling, you probably need more plants than if you are eating cucumbers fresh. Fresh cucumbers do not store for more than a week in the refrigerator, so getting too many at once means they will spoil before you can eat all of them.
For pickling cucumbers, plan on planting three to four plants for each quart of cucumbers you plan to pickle. A healthy pickling cucumber produces about five pounds of cucumbers per plant.
For slicing cucumbers, plan on planting two to three plants per person. The average sliced cucumber produces five pounds of cucumbers. Heirloom varieties produce less than newer varieties, so plan on two to three pounds of cucumbers per plant.
For a family of four, you would need eight to twelve plants of slicing cucumbers. For pickling cucumbers, you would probably want to plant twelve to sixteen plants for a family of four. These plants would produce about four quarts of pickles for the season.
How Long Can I Harvest Cucumbers?
Cucumbers start producing in 50-70 days, depending on the variety. Pickling cucumbers produce for two to four weeks. Slicing cucumbers produce for four to twelve weeks.
How Many Times Do Cucumbers Produce Fruits?
Cucumbers produce fruit one time. When the fruiting is done, the cucumber vine dies.
How Do I Get My Cucumbers To Produce More?
The faster you harvest the fruit when it is ready, the more cucumbers your plant will have. When cucumbers are left on the vine, the cucumber plant slows production, especially if the cucumbers are allowed to turn yellow from ripeness.
In addition, growing the cucumbers bigger makes the plant produce fewer cucumbers because more of the resources of the plant are tied up in each cucumber. Pick your cucumbers as soon as they reach three to four inches for pickling cucumbers and six to eight inches for full-sized slicing cucumbers.
Keeping your vines healthy throughout their life will improve your harvest. Specifically, keep your vines watered enough, so the soil stays evenly moist. Plants that do not get enough water produce bitter cucumbers. Plants that live in soggy soil get root rot and die. Use an inexpensive moisture meter to get the soil moisture just right.
For more information on growing cucumbers, see my article on tips for maximum harvest.
In conclusion, cucumbers have about five pounds of fruit per plant. For pickling cucumbers, this translates into about twenty cucumbers per vine. You need to plant three to four pickling cucumber plants for each quart of pickles you plan to make. For slicing cucumbers, each plant has ten to fifteen cucumbers. You need to plant two to three cucumber plants per person. Heirloom cucumber plants often only have two to three pounds of fruit, so you will need to plant more of them for the same yield. Trellising cucumbers can improve their yield.
Cucumber plants bear fruit for two to four weeks for pickling cucumbers and four to twelve weeks for slicing cucumbers. After that, the vines die. To improve harvest, harvest daily when the cucumbers reach three to four inches for pickling cucumbers and six to eight inches for slicing cucumbers. Never let cucumbers get big and yellow on the vine. In addition to becoming inedible, big yellow cucumbers waste the plant’s resources and cue the plant to slow or stop production.