3 Reasons To Grow Cucumbers Vertically

For many years I grew a sizable cucumber patch. We love to eat fresh cukes and also make lots and lots of pickles. I always planted them in hills and allowed them to grow and spread over the patch. We would harvest lots cucumbers but they were difficult to pick, we often battled disease, and it took up a tremendous amount of garden space. One day I thought, “Why not try growing them on a trellis?”. I had read of people doing it so I drove some T-posts and strung up some woven wire fence. I planted my cucumbers on both sides of the fence and trained them to it when they strayed. The results were awesome and I’ve been planting them vertically ever since. Here are reasons why I love growing cucumbers on a trellis…

Saves Space and Produces Higher Yields Per Square Foot

My favorite reason for growing vertical cucumbers is the space saving aspect. Anytime you can reduce the space needed to grow a crop, it opens up the opportunity to grow other things without expanding your garden space. Cucumbers, being a vining plant, are notorious for using lots of garden space. When cucumbers are grown vertically they take up a relatively small footprint while producing the same yields as when they used up half your garden space. The yields per square foot in a vertical system far out perform conventional planting systems. Last year, we began moving into a raised bed system here in an effort to get around fighting the wet clay soils we have. As an experiment, I put up a 4ft high section of woven wire trellis along the edge of an 8ft long raised bed. I planted 8 cucumber plants right next to the wire. The rest of the bed was planted to other crops. In our short season, I was able to harvest 78 cucumbers from that bed. It took up a width of about 7 inches. This allowed me to use 99% of the 8ft X 4ft bed to grow other things. The cucumbers are just an added bonus! Now, whenever I build a raised bed, I add a wire trellis to the edge for planting cucumbers, peas, pole beans, and other climbing plants.

Easy Picking

Picking cucumbers from a trellis is so much easier than picking from the sprawling patch. Searching under leaves, bent over, picking cucumbers off the ground is hard work. You also end up missing some, no matter how many times you comb the patch. Cucumbers hanging from a fence are a pleasure to pick and easy to spot. They also tend to grow straighter, and are cleaner (because they don’t lay on the ground). Vertical cucumbers make picking a pleasure!

Healthier Plants!

Because vertically grown cucumbers are suspended and are provided with ample air flow, they are much less apt to develop the disease powdery mildew. Powdery mildew was a common occurrence in the hot and humid summers when I grew large sprawling patches of cucumbers. Since I began growing them on a trellis, I have not had a single outbreak of this, or any other disease, in my cucumbers. Vertically grown cucumbers tend to be healthy and trouble free.

Summary

Growing cucumbers vertically is a great way to increase yields, save space, make picking easier, and have healthier plants. I would never go back to raising them in a patch. I absolutely love growing them on a trellis! Cucumbers aren’t the only thing you can grow vertically. If you are interested in learning more about what crops you can grow and how to do it, I highly recommend Derek Fell’s book Vertical Gardening


14 thoughts on “3 Reasons To Grow Cucumbers Vertically

  • March 24, 2015 at 12:12 am
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    Great article and great timing! We’re planning on doing our cucumbers vertical for the first time this year. After our good harvest with pole beans last year, we decided this year we would do all our green beans as pole beans. Who knows what will be next?

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  • March 24, 2015 at 12:46 am
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    Will this work in hotter climates like New Mexico or will the vines dry out?

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    • March 24, 2015 at 6:16 pm
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      I have done this for several years in California quite successfully. The vines have never dried out. We use raised beds and soaker hoses and plant the cakes in the middle of tomato cages, training the vines up and around the cages as the summer progresses. Not quite as hot and dry as NM, but it is hot and dry.

      Reply
  • March 24, 2015 at 2:09 am
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    I’ve been doing this for a while now. I discovered this idea when I planted my cukes next to a fence and a crepe myrtle tree. before the summer ended I was picking cucumbers out of the crepe myrtle tree. Ha ha.

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  • March 24, 2015 at 2:51 am
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    could you do the same with zucchini?

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    • March 24, 2015 at 5:48 pm
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      No because its not a vine like cucumbers.

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    • April 24, 2015 at 11:29 am
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      Kim as long as you train it you can grow zuccine on a trellis. just do more of a dome and do it lower to the ground

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  • March 24, 2015 at 4:39 pm
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    Thanks for the article 🙂 I’m moving to a new home next month and will have to build new beds but our new yard is so small i think vertical (and some container) gardening is the way to go. I’ve been doing some reading and think I’ve got some solid ideas. I’m glad to hear you’ve had such great success with the method. I look forward to growing some vertical cukes this summer!

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  • March 24, 2015 at 7:46 pm
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    Although growing vertically make it much easier to pick, if you are in an area with deer, beware! I never had deer eat my cuke plants when grown on the ground but if grown vertically they will wipe them out!

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  • March 25, 2015 at 10:46 am
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    We used tomato cages to grow our cucumbers vertically in our garden. They are inexpensive and allowed us to have 4 very fruitful plants along with several tomato plants, lots of chilis, peppers and beans in a 10 x 10 garden.
    I highly recommend vertical growing, as well.

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  • March 30, 2015 at 12:04 am
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    Have been doing this for a couple of years….Love it! I got tired of missing cukes when they spread out all over! And they do stay cleaner and straighter, pill bugs don’t get to them either. I placed my trellis at the end of my garden. It is a length of fencing about 7 feet long and at about a 45 degree angle. So much better then on the ground!

    Reply
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  • February 1, 2016 at 7:47 am
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    Extremely useful information! I don’t have much experience with harvesting and growing cucumbers. Recently I am doing my research about the essentials of cucumbers and what it’s require to grow them. Thanks for the helpful article!

    Reply

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