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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Cool as a cucumber: tips to cultivate a cuke

The humble cucumber will be celebrated today as World Cucumber Day sprouts across the nation.

Why not commemorate the occasion by cultivating your own cuke at home or creating cucumber cocktails?

Hendricks Gin is encouraging Aussies to go out in their garden and participate in a mass planting of cucumbers across the nation – and raise a toast to the ‘cuke’ with a Hendrick’s Gin and Tonic.

The company has joined forces with Australia’s leading cucumber expert David Sivyer.

A local Newcastle cucumber farmer, David has partnered with the organisation to share tips and tricks to growing a healthy cuke at home.

“It’s time for the avocado to move over; there’s another green fruit that deserves recognition,” he said.

“The cucumber is extremely versatile and has too long been in the shadows so I’m glad that Hendrick’s is enabling it to have its rightful time to shine in the spotlight.

“They’re easy to grow – so there’s no reason not to get involved – and make your Hendricks and tonics even better once they’re ready.”

Here are David’s top tips for growing cucumbers at home:

  1. As cucumbers love a warmer setting normally – e.g. best grown in the warmer months – the best setting for successful cucumbers is a warm or sunny spot. If you’re trying this from home, you’ll find the kitchen windowsill perfect if its dappled with light. If not, it’s best to find your home’s best sunny position, placing your seedling planter on a saucer and dampen so that the base is moist.
  2. It’s best to keep the seedling moist for the germination process, as once it’s germinated, having the base moist will encourage the roots to grow deeper and stronger!
  3. Keep ensuring that your seed(s) haven’t been uncovered from the watering process – keep them nicely covered with your growing substrate.
  4. Once the seeds have started to sprout – firstly… congratulate yourself for achieving this brilliant milestone!
  5. Continue to monitor the moisture content of your seedling planter – if the saucer is dry, apply a little water to ensure the roots are maintaining moisture.
  6. When your seedling is ready for transplant (at around 2 inches tall) transfer to a larger pot or into your garden.
  7. One super important element of growing cucumbers is they’ll need to be pollinated. You’ll notice two distinct flowers growing on your plant once it gets underway and wants to begin fruiting – a male and a female flower. The female flower will begin to produce a mini version of a cucumber and if that teeny flower doesn’t receive pollination from the male flower, your cucumber won’t begin to form any further! The best way is to attract natural pollinators like bees by growing flowers or other herbs nearby – however, if you don’t see many bees around, you can pollinate them manually with a soft brush by lightly dusting the male flower and then transferring that pollen to the female flower.

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