Cucumbers are very easy to grow from seed, and contrary to what a lot of people think, you don't need a greenhouse, as long as you choose the right variety. Tanja thrives outside, and will reward you with up to 20 delicious cucumbers per plant.
Time from seed to plate: 12 weeks
Our propagator kits with 'Jiffy 7' compost pellets are ideal for sowing. Soak 6 pellets in water till they expand and sow two seeds in each one so they're just covered with compost. Put them in the propagator, cover, and place on a warm windowsill or in a greenhouse. Keep moist.
Within one or two weeks the seeds should sprout. Remove the propagator lid at this stage. If two seedlings come up in the same jiffy remove the weaker one.
After a month or so, the roots will have filled the jiffy and it's time to either plant out, or if it's still cold outside, transfer the plants to the '3 inch' pots included in the kit to give them more growing room. Remove the jiffy bag encasing the compost, and plant firmly in the 3 inch pot filled with compost. The propagator lid will double up as a convenient watering tray.
Growing method: Seed propagating kit then plant out in your plot.
Transfer your healthiest four plants to your plot at the end of May once the frosts have finished. Discard the rest or give them away!
Make sure you've got lots of compost/manure dug into the ground, then position the plants 2ft apart, following the plan on the right. Push eight 6ft canes in the ground and tie together at the top to create a tepee. As the plants grow ties the stems onto the canes with string.
Cucumbers love heat and moisture, so make sure they'll receive full sun, and keep them well watered.
Lastly, sprinkle with some organic slug killer to protect those juicy stems.
About 12 weeks from sowing, once the fruits are about 8in long, start picking using a sharp knife. They'll come thick and fast so keep picking regularly. This will encourage new cucumbers to form.