How Do I Know My Cucumbers Are Ready To Pick?

Determining when cucumbers are ready to pick is essential for ensuring that they are at their best in terms of flavor and texture. Here are some guidelines to help you know when your cucumbers are ready for harvesting:

1. Size: The size of a cucumber is one of the most apparent indicators of its readiness for picking. Cucumbers typically grow quickly, and their size can vary depending on the variety. Generally, you should aim to harvest cucumbers when they reach their mature size, which is typically around 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters) in length for slicing cucumbers. However, pickling cucumbers are usually harvested when they are smaller, around 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters).

2. Color: The color of cucumbers is another indicator of readiness. Most cucumbers are harvested when they are green, but the shade may vary depending on the variety. Look for a consistent, vibrant green color without any signs of yellowing or browning. Some cucumbers may have a slightly lighter or darker green color based on their type.

3. Texture: When cucumbers are ready to pick, they should have firm, crisp flesh. Gently squeeze the cucumber to check for firmness. Overripe cucumbers may become soft and have a dull appearance.

4. Skin Texture: The skin of a ripe cucumber should be smooth and glossy, without any wrinkling or dimpling. Avoid cucumbers with rough or spiky skin, as this can be a sign of overripeness or bitterness.

5. Prickly Spines: Some cucumber varieties have small prickly spines on the skin, which can cause skin irritation. If you prefer a smoother texture, choose cucumbers that are spineless or remove the spines before eating.

6. Taste: Taste is the ultimate test. Pick a cucumber, slice it, and taste it. If it has a mild, fresh, and slightly sweet flavor, it’s ready to harvest. Overripe cucumbers may develop a bitter taste, so it’s essential to pick them at the right time.

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7. Regular Harvest: To encourage more cucumber production, make regular harvests part of your routine. The more you pick, the more the plant will produce. Cucumbers can grow quickly, so check your plants daily during the peak harvesting period.

8. Harvest with Care: Use a pair of garden scissors or a sharp knife to cut cucumbers from the vine rather than pulling or twisting them, as this can damage the plant. Leave a small portion of the stem attached to the cucumber.

9. Timing: Cucumbers can be ready for picking as early as 50 to 70 days after planting, depending on the variety and growing conditions. Check the seed packet or plant label for the estimated days to maturity.

By paying attention to these factors, you can ensure that your cucumbers are picked at the right time for optimal flavor, texture, and quality. Harvesting cucumbers when they are at their peak ensures a delightful addition to your salads, pickles, or snacks.

Overripe cucumbers

Overripe cucumbers are as easy to recognize as ripe fruit. The signs include:

  • Spots
  • yellowish to brownish discoloration
  • unpleasant odor
  • soft consistency

Even an overripe cucumber that is soft only at the ends already has a slightly bitter aroma. The taste is then also affected by this. Harvesting should therefore be done close to the time of ripeness.

auch Gurkenpflanzen brauchen die richtige Pflege

Tip: grafted outdoor cucumbers are particularly hardy and can easily be grown without a greenhouse. They grow quickly and produce buds in a short time.

Harvesting – Instructions

When a cucumber is ripe and should be harvested, it is necessary to follow the correct steps in the process. These are:

  • Carry out regular inspections: Cucumbers grow very quickly if well cared for and given adequate heat. Within a few days, the fruiting bodies can mature. Therefore, the plant should be inspected at least every two days.
  • Use clean pruning tools: To ensure that plants are not at increased risk of infestation by pathogens or pests after harvesting, knives and shears should be thoroughly cleaned before use. Disinfectants, alcohol or boiling water are suitable for this purpose. In addition, the cutting tools should be sharp. Otherwise, the shoots may be bruised, causing the cut surfaces to close more slowly and poorly.
  • Let pruning follow: At harvest, the plant can be inspected directly for damage. Parasites, diseases, wilted leaves or dead plant parts should be removed promptly. Maintenance pruning ensures that the plant is more airy and less likely to be affected by diseases and pests. In addition, the leaves or side shoots do not lie against the fruiting bodies. Spots caused by shade or rot are thus avoided.
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Proper storage

Not only harvesting the ripe cucumber at the right time, but also storage is important. After all, if you want to grow the crop and get the highest possible yields, you also need to ensure shelf life. While you can preserve cucumber varieties for pickling wonderfully and for a long time, the green cucumber is not nearly as durable.
However, if you store it properly, it can stay fresh and crisp for a week. Be sure to keep in mind the following criteria:

  • dark
  • cool but not cold, between 10 and 13 degrees Celsius are optimal
  • do not store next to vegetables or fruits that emit ethylene
Gurken ernten

These fruits include apples and tomatoes. So you should store them separately from the cucumber. Otherwise, ripening will be very fast, which will lead to overripeness within a short time.

Tip: The ideal place is the vegetable compartment in the refrigerator or a cool area in the cellar.

Frequently asked questions

How long can sliced cucumber be stored?

Cucumber slices will keep in the refrigerator for at least one to two days, as long as they are stored in an airtight container and the cut surfaces are on top of each other. Otherwise, they will dry out and become soft. The taste also suffers. In addition, rot can set in very quickly or mold can spread.

What to do if the cucumber tastes bitter?

A change in taste indicates that the vegetable is spoiled. In this case, dispose of them so as not to risk food poisoning.

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Can cucumbers be harvested in winter?

If a greenhouse is available or sufficient light and heat can be ensured in other ways, this is possible without any problems. However, a heated greenhouse or conservatory is still ideal. Especially snack cucumbers are ideal for this and do not take up much space.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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