How To Grow Pickling Cucumbers?

Cucumbers are relatively easy to grow. Many people know that cucumbers can be grown in a greenhouse or indoors. But can you also grow pickling cucumbers?

  • in principle, any type of cucumber can be used as a pickling cucumber
  • Pre-growing is possible about 3 weeks before sowing outdoors
  • plant 2 to 3 seeds about 1 to 2 cm deep in pot with soil

Grow pickling cucumbers

Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) are among the most popular cultivated vegetables. Depending on the time of harvest and the purpose of use, the vegetable is referred to as

  • pickling cucumbers (pickles): early harvest, small cucumber
  • Salad cucumbers (snake cucumbers): later harvest, large cucumber

Therefore, for the cultivation of pickling cucumbers, in principle, any variety of cucumber is suitable. But the most suitable are varieties that are specifically titled spicy or pickling cucumbers.

Einlegegurke "Vorgebirgstraube"

Pickling cucumbers are usually sown directly in the open ground. However, since cucumbers are sensitive to frost, sowing is possible only at the end of May. To be able to harvest earlier and more often, it is recommended to bring forward the pickling cucumbers. So you can already put small plants in the bed at the end of May. These are not only ready for harvesting faster, but also more robust. Thus, they are less susceptible to slug damage or poor growth.

Procedure: Preplant pickling cucumbers

About three weeks before planting out, that is, in early/mid-April, you can start pre-growing. But how do you pre-grow the plants now? It’s actually quite simple if you follow these steps:

  • Fill a pot or egg carton (at least 8 cm in diameter) at least halfway with soil.
  • place 2 to 3 seeds in a hole
  • cover with 1 to 2 cm of soil
  • place on warm bright windowsill or create a greenhouse by putting a glass over it
  • keep substrate always slightly moist
  • germination at least 20 degrees Celsius after about a week
  • after germination leave only the strongest seedling and put the plant in a cooler place
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Tip: Place larger seedlings outdoors for several hours a day. This will harden them off and get them used to their future outdoor environment.

Einlegegurken vorziehen in Topf

After about three weeks, you can then sort out stunted plants and prick out the cucumbers.

Planting out

Once the icemen have passed and frost is no longer expected, the seedlings can be sown. Ideally, the seedlings will have two well-developed leaves. Then place the seedlings in the soil about 1 cm deeper than they were previously in the pot. For successful sowing, make sure that the location meets the following criteria:

  • sunny, warm and protected from the wind
  • well-aerated, humusy and light soil with some sand content
  • planting distance as for large cucumbers (about 60 x 150 cm)
  • 4 year cultivation break after cucumbers and other cucurbits.
  • After sowing, you should press the plants well and water them regularly with lukewarm water. The pre-sown plants will be fully grown around mid-July and should be collected as early as possible. They can then be potted.
Einlegegurken Pflanzen und Frucht

Tip: Until you have harvested enough cucumbers for pickling, you can store them in a cool, dark place.

Frequently asked questions

Is it possible to grow pickling cucumbers before April?

Theoretically yes, however this is not effective. If you preplant too early, you risk the plants growing too tall too quickly before they can be sown outdoors.

How do you pickle cucumbers?

There are a variety of recipes for pickling cucumbers. Most commonly, they are placed in a canning jar or ceramic pot with vinegar, garlic, onions, dill, bay leaf and mustard seeds. In the end, however, the only thing that matters for shelf life is that the ingredients have not been heated.

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How do I water pickling cucumbers?

Always keep cucumber plants sufficiently moist. However, avoid waterlogging at all costs. A good water supply during growth is the basic requirement for the watery and fresh consistency of the cucumber.


  • 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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