Who doesn’t like adding fresh and crunchy cucumbers to their diet? The vegetable is quite popular amongst gardeners thanks to its cool and calming flavor.
However, you must get the planting time right to ensure a healthy and abundant harvest.
Growing zones in Australia can differ wildly in climatic and soil conditions. As such, your cucumber harvest could get ruined from exposure to frost and cold winds.
This article explores the best time to plant cucumbers in Australia to set you up for growing success. Keep reading.
Climate And Soil Requirements
Being a warm-season crop, cucumbers generally love a spot with full sunlight though they can be fussy with positioning.
You can grow them in various climates in Australia, ranging from tropical to subtropical and temperate regions. To get a head start, start them indoors in small pots before transplanting them to their final destinations.
The best soil type is loose sandy loam, but any well-draining soil would also work. The ideal pH range is between 5.5 to 7.0. You can enrich your soil further with horse manure and compost manure.
Avoid planting cucumbers during frost and in cold temperatures at all costs.
Other factors affecting production include sunlight hours, the watering regime, and fertilization.
Water only when in need— avoid sprinkling the leaves as it can predispose them to fungal diseases.
When To Plant Cucumbers In Australia?
As earlier alluded, the best time to plant cucumbers in Australia depends on the local climate and region.
|Growing Zone||Best time to plant||Months|
|Tropical & Subtropical Zones||Spring, summer, autumn, winter||July-March|
|Temperate zones||Spring, summer, and early autumn||September-January|
|Cool Zones||Spring, early summer||March-August|
|Mediterranean Zones||Spring, Summer||September-January|
Australia has a variety of climatic conditions owing to its vast size. There are six different climate groups ranging from Equitorial, Tropical, Sub-tropical, Desert, and Grassland to Temperate.
The Temperate zone covers the coastal regions of New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and the majority of South Australia. This is where most of the population lives.
Based on the data above, we recommend growing your cucumbers during spring and summer in Australia. This is the best time since temperatures usually remain between 15-21 degrees Celsius.
Do not plant your cucumber during the hottest summer months— they will struggle to grow under extreme heat.
Factors Affecting The Yield
It is best to start the plants in small peat pots and transplant them later to the main seed bed when the weather is favorable.
Some factors affecting the yield include:
Watch the sunlight conditions in your locality since cucumber wilts quickly in prolonged hot, sunny weather.
Fun Fact: Australians witness over 3000 sunlight hours on average in a year.
Cucumbers prefer 6-8 hours of direct sunlight, however, note that the fruits can get sunburned under extreme temperatures.
Ideally, plant them in an environment with some afternoon shade or a greenhouse.
Your cucumber vines will need support when the fruits begin maturing. This is when a trellis or a climbing frame comes in handy.
Trellises help keep your fruit off the ground and promote airflow, thus preventing fungal diseases.
Trellis is also handy if you don’t have enough space on your land.
Cucumbers would need regular feeding for healthy growth, more if you didn’t plant them with compost or manure. A liquid feed is essential during fruiting to promote healthy fruits.
Use a balanced liquid fertilizer with more potassium and less nitrogen to avoid promoting vegetative growth at the expense of fruiting.
Space your cucumbers 40- 60 cm apart for optimal production.
Pinching, also called tipping, is a practice of pruning commonly used in young plants to encourage branching. Pinch out the tips of the side shoots once a fruit develops.
This promotes vertical growth and prevents the tendency of the plant to sprawl.
Pinch Of Male Flowers
Male flowers have been cited for the slight bitterness in cucumber fruits. Get rid of the male flowers once every week to ensure they don’t introduce bitterness to fruits.
How do you differentiate the male flower from the female?
1. The female flower has a swelling at the back, which bores the fruit.
2. The male flower is bright yellow and relatively small compared to the female flowers.
Pest And Disease Control
Common pests you will notice on your cucumbers include mites, whiteflies, and aphids. Snails and slugs are quite a menace too.
Get rid of these pests using appropriate natural and biological methods. Avoid using commercial and chemical pesticides as they can render the produce unfit for consumption.
Typical diseases that attack cucumbers include fungal infections such as powdery mildew. You can spray them with an eco-fungicide for treatment.
Sometimes the young seedlings collapse due to damping off. This can be controlled by applying seaweed extract.
To sum this up, the best time to plant cucumbers in Australia is between September and January, when the weather is mildly hot.
Apart from the weather, you must also consider other factors, such as the planting location, sunlight intensity, soil type, growing temperature, and moisture levels, to get a bountiful yield.
Job Kiniale is a certified crop scientist and gardening enthusiast with a passion to help beginning gardeners navigate their newfound hobby. Let’s talk about plants, backyard ideas, and general gardening advice. Outside work, Job loves spending time with family.