Northern Texas contains a range of both sandy and clay soil types. Although cucumbers and other vegetables grow well in this region, certain soil amendments improve both the texture and porosity of the existing soil. An important consideration in planting cucumbers in this area is selecting the correct time to plant the seeds in the soil. Since the northern areas of Texas experience freezing temperatures, planting cucumbers too early may result in the death of these juicy members of the Cucurbita family of plants.
Things You'll Need
- Soil thermometer
- Garden hoe
Plant the cucumbers when a soil thermometer indicates an average temperature of 60 degrees. In northern Texas, around the areas of Amarillo and Lubbock, this normally occurs between the end of March and the middle of April.
Work the soil in the planting site to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Spread a 4-inch layer of vegetative compost, such as rotted cow manure or grass clippings, over the surface of the soil. Work this into the topsoil with a garden hoe, creating a fine mix. Pile the soil into hills that form mounds that measure about 3 feet in diameter and 8 to 10 inches high in the center. Although cucumbers often grow in rows, the mounds will help guard against heavy Texas rains that often occur in the springtime.
Plant four or five seeds in each mound. Press the seeds about 1 1/2 inches deep. Scoop soil over the holes and press out any air pockets with your fingertips. Water the seeds to create even dampness throughout the top 2 inches of the mound. Water the cucumber plants every two to three days until they germinate, then water only when the soil feels dry at a level about an inch below the surface.
Fertilize the cucumbers with a nitrogen fertilizer about two weeks after they germinate, following the instructions on the fertilizer package. Apply a balanced fertilizer as soon as the flowers begin to appear on the vines. Use a vegetable fertilizer as a side dressing every two weeks while the fruit grows and matures. This regular schedule of fertilizing will help increase the nutrients in poor soils in this region of Texas and guard against any nutritional deficiencies that can discourage healthy fruiting in cucumbers.
- Texas Gardener: Veggie Basics: Growing Great Cucumbers
- “Botanica’s Gardening Encyclopedia”; Susan Page; 2001
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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