How to Know When to Pick a Cucumber


A fresh slice of cucumber in salad or a pickle straight from the jar can make the hours of tending the garden worth it. After planting and caring for your cucumber plants, you'll want to know when to pick the cucumbers to get maximum flavor before the seeds turn hard. Through watching your plants' growth and knowing what you want your cucumbers for, you'll know when to harvest cucumbers and when to leave them on the vine.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean knife
  • Watch your plants for flowering to signal that cucumbers will begin forming on the vine. Check your plants daily to note the size of the cucumbers, as they can grow rapidly. Depending on the variety you planted, the "mature" size can vary.

  • Plan to cut off small, 2-inch cucumbers if you want to use them for pickling. Leave the cucumbers to grow 4 to 6 inches long for dill pickles. Cut slicing pickles when they are 6 to 8 inches long; however, some slicing varieties can grow to 10 inches long.

  • Check the cucumbers that have reached the size you want to make sure they are smooth and firm, rather than soft. The ready cucumbers should show a rich green coloring all over, with even growth and diameter along the length of the cucumber.

  • Cut cucumbers that are ready by using a knife to slice through the vine 1/4 to 1/2 inch above the top of the cucumber. Continue to check the cucumbers every day, or every other day, to harvest as often as possible.

Tips & Warnings

  • Regular picking of ready cucumbers will free up the energy of the plant to grow and ripen the immature cucumbers still on the vine.
  • If your cucumbers begin to turn yellow, they have been left on the vine for too long.

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  • Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images
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