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Komkommer

How to sow and grow cucumber

This is the tastiest snack cucumber. Great for growing outdoors or in a greenhouse. It produces a lot of cucumber fruits over a long period, doesn't get bitter, and has few seeds.
Snack komkommer van de Makkelijke Moestuin
Our cucumber

What is a snack cucumber?

Snack cucumbers are smaller than your average cucumber. That's for a reason: you can harvest them quicker and they fit perfectly in a packed lunch.

Cucumbers originally come from India. They've also been grown in the Middle East for centuries. The Romans brought cucumbers to France but it took until the 17th-century for them to catch on in the Netherlands. 

Some older varieties still have prickly spikes. You won't see them very often in newer varieties.

The snack cucumber was developed at the end of the 20th century. It quickly became a popular variety. Makes sense: the small size makes these cucumbers a perfect healthy snack. Hence the name.  

What is in a cucumber?

A cucumber has few calories and is full of fiber, potassium, vitamin K, and antioxidants. Potassium regulates your body's fluid balance and lowers blood pressure. Vitamin K is good for strong bones. 

Cucumbers contain a lot of water, so they help keep you hydrated too.
Snack komkommers uit de Makkelijke Moestuin: goed voor je gezondheid
Cucumbers: a healthy snack

More about our cucumber

The Iznik is the Louis Vuitton of snack cucumbers. This variety produces lots of smooth, super tasty cucumbers. The cucumbers are virtually seedless and won't get bitter.
  • Species name: Iznik
  • Family: fruit
  • Plants per square patch: 2 at the trellis
  • Height: Up to 200 cm
  • Sowing time: end of April to end of May
  • Germination time: between 20 and 25°C in 5 to 7 days
  • Time to bloom: 9 to 10 weeks
  • Sunlight: needs a sunny spot protected from the wind
We sell the seed bags separately or as part of a seed pack with our other climbing vegetables:

What do you need to grow your own cucumber?

Just this:
  • a 30x30 cm patch with airy, nutrient-rich soil
  • cucumber seeds
  • a place with at least 6 hours of sunlight a day
  • a trellis or something similar for the plants to grow on
In other words: an MM-Mini, or a square patch in one of our garden boxes, an MM-Klimrek trellis, and MM-Mix.

Growing your own cucumbers in MM-Mix is super easy. If you use poor-quality (potting) soil, it's much harder and the results will be disappointing. So just go for the best.
Komkommer in een Mini Makkelijke Moestuin met bamboestokken
Cucumber growing in an MM-Mini

How do you sow and grow cucumber?

This cucumber variety is included in the free Planty Gardening app. Use it, and you'll get step-by-step guidance from seed to harvest.

Each vegetable goes through a number of stages - we call them levels. The app tells you exactly what to do at each level and checks in when your plants are ready for the next.

So you don't need to know how to grow cucumber before you start: the app takes you through every step.

But if you'd like to read more about those steps, here's what the process looks like:
Van komkommer zaadje naar oogst met de Makkelijke Moestuin app
Van zaadje naar komkommers met de MM-app

Level 1: Cucumber seed germination

Zucchinis are real summer vegetables. The seeds only germinate above 20°C. The seedlings are sensitive to lower temperatures. 

So, sow them indoors around the end of April/beginning of May. That's called pre-sowing. When the plant is big enough, you can move it into your garden box at the end of May. 

There's one step before you pre-sow: let them grow a root first. That's called pre-germination or pre-sprouting. 

If you pre-sprout your seeds you can be sure your seedlings will grow well. And you want to be sure: these zucchini seeds aren't cheap. Why risk it? 😉

Here's how to pre-sprout: get a piece of paper towel moist, fold it in half, put the seeds in between the 2 layers, and you're done.

Check every now and then for a root. Sometimes roots appear after 2-3 days, sometimes it takes a little longer.
Voorkiemen van de komkommerzaden van de Makkelijke Moestuin
Voorkiemen van de komkommerzaden

Level 2: Put the pre-sprouted seeds in pots

Next, you're ready to pre-sow. Here's what you need:
Fill the 2 air pots with equal parts vermiculite and MM-Mix. 

This half-half mixture is ideal because seedlings don't need a lot of nutrients yet. The MM-Mix alone is too rich. Too many nutrients and they'll grow too fast: the plants become limp instead of sturdy. The vermiculite also helps retain moisture. 

So, make the mixture nice and damp. Put 2 seeds in each air pot. Be careful: you don't want the root to break off.

Then put the pot in a bowl or saucer, give it some water, and put it in a warm place on the windowsill.

That's it.
Voorgekiemde komkommerzaden van de Makkelijke Moestuin
Pre-germinated cucumber seeds

Level 3: Cucumber seedlings

When you see the first seedlings, you know it's going well. They probably won't all come up at once, but give it another week.

After they come up, put the air pots in the lightest spot you have, but ideally not too warm. 

Give the air pots a quarter turn every day to prevent the seedlings from growing crooked. Keep the mix moist. 

In 5 days or so they'll be ready for the next level.
Net opgekomen zaailingen van de snack komkommer van de Makkelijke Moestuin
Cucumber seedlings

Level 4 and 5: Taking care of your plants on the windowsill

Keeping plants happy on the windowsill is tricky. Make sure they get plenty of light and are not too warm. So, full sun, but not warmer than 20°C.

Give the pots a quarter turn every day to prevent crooked plants, and keep the mix moist.
Voorgezaaide plantjes op de vensterbank
Pre-sown plants in the window sill

Level 6-10: Getting used to the outside air

Around the second half of May, let the plants get used to the outside air: a little longer every day.  

At level 10, your plants spend all day outside and only come inside at night. 
afharden-voorgezaaide-plantjes.jpg

Level 11: Plant the 2 best plants in your garden box

Once they have gotten used to the outdoors, choose the 2 most beautiful plants and transfer them to your garden box.

Choose a patch in the back row near the trellis. Make a hole, sprinkle some MM-Plantfood in it, and put the plants inside.
komkommers-in-bak-planten.jpg
Cucumber plants, just planted

Level 12 and 13: Care and the trellis

For these levels, it probably won't be very warm yet and the plants won't grow very fast at first.

As soon as they reach the trellis, weave the stems through it. Use string or binders if needed.
komkommer-zaaien-2.jpg
Weave the main stems of cucumbers through the climbing frame

Levels 14: Flowering and side branches

Cucumbers flower on their side shoots. That's where the cucumber fruits will soon grow.

Side shoots cost your plant a lot of energy. Cut them back so they're only 10 cm: just after the 2nd flower. You can find a full how-to guide with photos here.

Cucumber fruits grow very quickly after they're fertilized. From flower to harvestable fruit can take as little as 10 days.

Keep an eye on them and harvest soon: snack cucumbers taste best when they're 10 - 15 cm long.
Bloeiende komkommer met de eerste vruchten in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Flowering cucumber plant with the first fruits

How do you use cucumbers?

Snack cucumbers are delicious to munch on raw. But there are tons of other ways to enjoy them too. 

Cubed or sliced in a green salad is a classic. In the Netherlands, sour cucumber salad is popular. Or try Greek tzatziki, cucumber soup, or a stew with potatoes, cucumber, onion, and minced meat.

There's no need to peel snack cumbers. The skin is thin and edible and full of vitamins. 
Snack komkommers Makkelijke Moestuin
Cucumber harvest

Level 15: Adding extra nutrients

By July, the cucumber plants will need more nutrients to feed all the fruits growing on them.

So add a scoop of fresh nutrients at the foot of the plants. You'll harvest a lot of cucumbers in the coming weeks.
komkommer-zaaien.jpg

The last levels

End of August and the days are getting shorter. The leaves on your cucumber plants turn yellow and brown, and just don't look as nice.

It's no big deal. If the stem continues to grow, then the flowers and cucumbers keep growing too.

You can keep harvesting until it gets really cold, around the beginning of October. Then it's time to say goodbye to your plants and take them out of your garden box or MM-Mini. 
Komkommerblad wordt in augustus minder mooi
The leaves turn yellow and brown in August

So: what's stopping you from growing cucumbers yourself?

Our snack cucumbers are delicious and a lot of fun to grow.

Plus: with our app and materials, it's practically impossible to fail 😉

Buy your cucumber seeds here or get started with a complete starter kit:
Zelf komkommers kweken in de Makkelijke Moestuin
Why not grow your own?
Enjoy!
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