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With a brilliant crunch & a fantastic fresh taste, home-grown cucumbers are a popular addition to many people’s allotments.

It’s not too late to get some cucumbers this year- in warm weather they can prosper even with late planting. Seeds or small plants can be planted out in late May or June and covered with fleece or a cloche to achieve the warm temperatures required. Aim to keep your cucumbers at around 15 degrees Celsius once planted.

Before you plant your seedlings, acclimatise your plants by keeping them outside in pots for several days. When you decide to plant them, space them around 90cm apart in a sunny, well drained bed, or better, in a greenhouse.

It’s vital to use quality compost to enhance the fertility of your soil. Mixing in screened, friable compost gives your cucumbers the best possible start- though nonetheless you should attempt to use the most fertile, well-lit and sheltered parts of your garden. Use plenty of compost, well mixed into the topsoil, and also add fertiliser- around 100g per metre. Wet the ground around the plant, ensuring it’s not allowed to completely dry- but avoid saturation. Once the plant is developing, remove the head above the stems to encourage outward growth, until there are several shoots developing. This allows the plant to develop plenty of flowers & creates a more impressive yield. Establish canes or a similar structure to support your shoots as they grow- all the time controlling their growth to produce more shoots, as this will maximise yield.

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