How Many Cucumber Plants per Square Foot: Vegetable Spacing

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Cucumbers are a wonderful addition to a square foot garden. You can grow delicious cucumbers even if you have very little growing area. Learn how many cucumber plants per square foot can grow in your space and download a FREE printable square foot gardening template for all the common home-grown vegetables!

a closeup view of a cucumber growing on a plant with a cucumber flower in the foreground

Each cucumber plant needs 1 square foot of growing space.

What is square foot gardening?

Square foot gardening is a great way to maximize cucumber production on every inch of your gardening space. Learn more about square foot gardening here.

You can have an abundant cucumber harvest with a limited amount of space.

Mel Bartholomew was the originator of the popular square foot gardening method. He was an American engineer, gardener, and businessman. He adapted techniques to grow a community garden in New York that removed many of the labor intensive aspects of gardening that discouraged many new gardeners. Growing more in less space was his goal.

His methods allowed maximum harvest in small spaces by dividing raised beds into 1-foot squares. After developing this new square foot gardening method, he said, “I garden with a salad bowl in mind, not a wheelbarrow.”1 In 1981, he published his first book Square Foot Gardening.

Tips for Growing Cucumber Plants in a Square Foot Garden

Spacing Requirements

Each cucumber plant needs 1 square foot of space. If you have 20 square feet, you can grow 20 cucumber plants. It’s as simple as that.

If you choose a vining variety, you need to provide some kind of trellis or support for the cucumber vine. In a square foot garden, it is best to grow your vining cucumber plants vertically or choose bush varieties that fit better in a small area. You can grow different cucumber varieties in your garden without any problems, unless you are planning to save seeds.

Weather Requirements

Cucumbers are a tropical vegetable. They thrive in a climate zone that is hot and humid. Cucumber plants will not tolerate any frost. The best time to plant cucumber seeds is 2 weeks after your first frost date when soil temperatures are reliably around 70 degrees.

If frost is expected after planting time, make sure you use some row covers to prevent damage. It is best to wait to plant cucumber seeds until all danger of frost has passed.

A raised garden bed is a great choice for cucumbers because the soil tends to warm up earlier in the growing season when compared to an in-ground garden.

Sunlight Requirements

Cucumbers do best in full sun. While they will grow in the shade, the vegetable production will not be what you are hoping for. Find a sunny spot to plant your cucumbers.

Water Requirements

Cucumbers need 1 inch of water every week during the growing season. If the soil is dry to the touch, it’s time to water your cucumbers. Inadequate or inconsistent soil moisture can make your cucumbers oddly shaped and bitter.

Best Soil for Cucumbers

Cucumbers need rich, well-drained soils with plenty of organic matter. You can improve your native soil by working in several inches of compost. If you are growing in containers or a raised bed, choose potting soil that is rich in compost or worm castings.

Cucumbers do best with fertile soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8, but they will tolerate a pH up to 7.6. Getting a soil test is the best way to understand your soil and what amendments you might need to make it ideal for growing cucumbers.

Mulching Cucumbers

After the soil is warm and you have planted your cucumbers, add a layer of straw mulch, grass clippings, or leaves to keep the fruit clean and control weeds. Straw mulch works great to keep away slugs and beetles too!

Common Cucumber Pests, Diseases and Problems

Crop rotation and mulching can solve most of these potential problems.

  • Squash bugs: Squash bugs attack small plants.
  • Slugs: Slugs attack ripening fruit.
  • Aphids: Aphids attack leaves and buds.
  • Cucumber Beetles: Cucumber beetles chew holes in leaves and flowers. They also spread a bacterial wilt that kills the plants.
  • Powdery Mildew: Powdery Mildew is a disease that leaves white patches on the leaves. Avoid touching leaves when they are wet to minimize spread.
  • Pollination: Sometimes cucumber female flowers do not get pollinated. You can manually pollinate cucumbers with a q-tip or cotton ball.

How to calculate square foot gardening plant density: A simple method

  1. Locate the seed spacing number on the back of your seed packet.
  2. Divide the width of your planting section (most likely 12 inches) by the required seed spacing. For example, if your seed spacing was 3 inches, this means you can plant 4 plants across the width of your section.
  3. Divide the length of your planting section (most likely 12 inches) by the required seed spacing. For example, if your seed spacing was 3 inches, this means you can plant 4 plants across the length of your section.
  4. Multiply your two answers together to get the total number of plants you can place inside the planting section. In this example, you could place 16 plants inside each 1-foot x 1-foot section.

FREE Printable Square Foot Gardening Template

This template includes spacing requirements for all common vegetables grown in the home garden.

  1. “Bucking Tradition, Gardener Plants High-Yield Squares”. Marjorie Kaufman. March 31, 1996. Retrieved May 13, 2024. ↩︎

Cucumbers can successfully be grown in small gardens using square foot gardening methods. Wishing you a bountiful harvest!

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  1. Great post. I expanded my garden this year, so I ended up planting my cucumbers 1 per 4 sq ft. so I have extra room for more companion plants. 🙂

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