The cucumber (Cucumus sativus) is a warm-season vining crop in the Cucurbit family. Cucumbers suitable for immediate consumption are referred to as “slicers,” while those for processing are “picklers.” Although there once was a large pickling cucumber industry in Kentucky, nearly all cucumbers grown commercially in the state are now for fresh market consumption.
Cucumbers are grown in Kentucky primarily for fresh market (slicing types) rather than for processing (pickling types). Some pickling types are sold at auctions and farmers markets. Fresh market options include wholesale markets, auctions, cooperatives, community supported agriculture (CSA) subscription shares, farmers markets, and roadside stands. Sales to local retail markets, such as supermarkets and restaurants, are also an option.
Cucumbers do best in well-drained soils that are relatively high in organic matter. Cucumbers are very cold-sensitive and should not be planted until all danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed sufficiently. Two pounds of seed are needed per acre for direct seeding.Growing cucumbers on raised beds with black plastic and trickle irrigation increases yields and earliness as well as helping with weed management. Picking the first harvestable cucumbers is very important to ensure continued production. Cucumbers picked by hand should be harvested every other day for best yields and quality.