Cucumbers are a highly underrated hydroponic crop. Perfect for salads, to dip with hummus, for pickling, and more- cucumbers always come in handy. Why opt for store-bought cucumbers when you can grow them yourself hydroponically instead?
Read on to find out why you should grow hydroponic cucumbers- and how!
Can You Grow Cucumbers Hydroponically?
Yes, you can grow cucumbers hydroponically!
When most people think of hydroponics, they don’t think of vining plants like cucumbers. Usually, leafy greens like kale or lettuce are more likely to come to mind.
However, any plant can be grown hydroponically. From potatoes to tomatoes to orchids, hydroponics doesn’t discriminate. While you may have to adjust your setup to help certain plants thrive, everything is doable.
Varieties of Cucumbers Commonly Grown Hydroponically
As we were getting at earlier, you can grow any cucumber variety hydroponically! Truth be told, the best kind of hydroponic cucumber variety to grow is the kind that you like eating the most.
If you like cucumbers to snack on or throw in salads, some good varieties include:
- Straight Eight
- Marketmore 76
- Sugar Crunch
If you’re looking to pickle your cucumbers, here are some better options:
- Burpee Pickler
- Boston Pickling
Another thing to consider is that bush varieties are more adept at hydroponic systems. They take up less space and tend to produce a more plentiful cucumber crop.
What Are The Benefits Of Growing Cucumbers Hydroponically?
For starters, hydroponics is much more efficient than traditional gardening. It can use up to 99% less water! It also utilizes space more effectively and you can have a higher yield in less square footage.
If you don’t have access to much land or high-quality soil, hydroponics allows you to grow vegetables regardless.
Hydroponics produces healthy, nutritious plants in a shorter amount of time than traditional gardening. You also don’t have to worry about soil-borne diseases or outdoor pests.
Lastly, you can control every single aspect of the growing process. From nutrients to the water supply to the light source, it’s all in your hands.
Which hydroponic system is best for cucumbers?
Many hydroponic production systems work for cucumber plants, so it’s hard to label one as the best. That being said, ebb and flow systems and deep water culture systems are commonly used to grow hydroponic cucumbers.
Ebb and Flow
Ebb and flow is one of the most popular hydroponic setups. They’re easy to operate for beginner and intermediate growers.
To use this system, a grow tray is suspended over a reservoir of a water-nutrient solution. This grow tray is periodically flooded at the roots with the nutrient solution, which then drains back into the reservoir.
This typically happens about five times a day, set on a timer. The amount of times it floods can be adjusted to best suit the crop you’re growing.
DWC can be used for almost any plant and is a go-to system when people are first starting out.
The roots of your plants are suspended in a water-nutrient solution indefinitely rather than being periodically flooded. This means there is no water pump.
You may wonder, “How do the roots not drown?”. That’s a very good question! DWC utilizes air pumps and an air stone to oxygenate the roots to prevent drowning and root rot.
DWC has a slightly finicky balance of over- or under- feeding your plants, so just be mindful of that when adding your hydroponic nutrient solution.
How to grow Hydroponic Cucumbers
Let’s talk more in depth about how to grow hydroponic cucumbers!
Should you pick Seeds vs Clones?
It’s best to start hydroponic cucumbers from seed.
Hydroponic cucumber seeds have a quick germination rate, and the seedlings grow rapidly. While cloning is possible, it’s not entirely worth it unless you have an abundant cucumber garden already or are working with a seedless variety.
Keep germinating seedlings at a temperature between 70 degrees F and 85 degrees F. They can take between a couple of days to a week to germinate.
Use a half-strength nutrient solution when your cucumber seedlings appear. When they have at least three sets of mature leaves, transplant them into your hydroponic system.
Planting medium for hydroponic cucumbers
Cucumbers thrive in nearly every growing medium and aren’t all that picky. Research shows that polyurethane isn’t a great choice because cucumbers are sensitive to drought stress.
Hydroponic Cucumbers Nutrient Requirements
Hobbyists can use a general hydroponic fertilizer for hydroponic cucumbers. Cucumbers don’t really need a specific formula and will still have incredibly high yields. Just get your hands on a generic hydroponic fertilizer and you’ll be set!
Be sure to use a hydroponic fertilizer and not a general-purpose fertilizer. Hydroponic fertilizers help stabilize the pH of your nutrient solution and provide the correct nutrients. Meanwhile, general-purpose fertilizers take the soil into account and won’t provide what you need.
Here is the best way to fertilize hydroponic cucumbers:
- 1/2 pound of fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10-8-22
- 2 ounces of magnesium sulfate per 10 gallons of water
And that’s it!
Optimal EC, pH, and PPM
Your EC determines how easily your cucumbers can uptake nutrients. Hydroponic cucumbers do best with an EC between 2.0 and 3.0.
Hydroponic cucumbers require a pH between 5.5 and 6.0. You should regularly check the pH using a pH kit and use a pH UP or pH DOWN solution to adjust accordingly.
Lastly, hydroponic cucumbers should have a PPM between 1190-1750.
Light for hydroponic cucumbers
Cucumbers are heavy feeders because of their prolific fruit production. This requires a lot of energy- hence needing a lot of light.
Hydroponic cucumbers need anywhere from 12 to 14 hours of light per day. If your hydroponic setup is outdoors, they need full sun.
Harvesting Hydroponic cucumbers
Harvest hydroponic cucumbers when they’re around a foot long. Keep in mind that some varieties of pickling cucumbers may be ready when they’re closer to 6 inches in length.
You’ll know when your cucumbers are ready to harvest when the skin is thick and you can barely penetrate it with your thumbnail.
Cucumbers tend to take about two months to mature.
To harvest, cut the cucumber vine about 1/4 of an inch above the cucumber. Don’t just pull on the cucumber because you may end up hurting the plant!
Are Hydroponic Cucumbers Healthy?
Hydroponic cucumbers are incredibly healthy! Cucumbers are very hydrating and provide a lot of fiber. They’re rich in electrolytes and may even be able to help ward off cancer.
Do hydroponic cucumbers have seeds?
There are both seeded and seedless varieties of hydroponic cucumbers. Seedless cucumbers need to be propagated in order to reproduce.
Can you grow cucumbers in water?
You can grow cucumbers in water. That’s the very definition of growing hydroponic cucumbers!
Do hydroponic cucumbers are nutrient deficient?
Hydroponic cucumbers are not nutrient deficient. In fact, the better nutrients your hydroponic cucumbers receive while growing, the more nutrients your cucumbers will have when you consume them!
Difference between hydroponic cucumbers vs cucumbers
Hydroponic cucumbers grow faster, are more resource-efficient, utilize space better, and produce higher yields than traditionally grown cucumbers. But some people get a lot of satisfaction out of growing outdoors in the soil.
Although cucumbers probably aren’t a crop you associate with hydroponics, they actually work quite well together. Since you’re able to control every aspect of your hydroponic cucumbers’ environment, you’ll product healthy and happy cucumbers of the highest fruit quality. Even better, it’s environmentally friendly!
Check out some of our other blogs for more hydroponic growing tips and tricks!