When growing cucumbers, there is an expectation about how they will look. We see long and straight cucumbers in the store that all have a uniform dark green color. However, things can happen in the field that cause cucumbers to look slightly different. You may be wondering, can cucumbers grow round too?
Yes, cucumbers can grow round. Round-shaped cucumbers are usually a result of the type of cucumber planted and the amount of water and sun exposure they receive.
Even though round cucumbers might look weird, they are still okay to eat, as long as there are no signs of rotting or infection. We’ll provide more detail below, explaining where the round shape comes from and how you can prevent your crop from forming deformities.
Why Are My Cucumbers Not Long & Straight?
There are many reasons why cucumbers can turn out short and stumpy. Cucumbers grow based on their environmental conditions, including the amount of water and sunlight they receive. Additionally, their shape can depend on the pollinators nearby, causing them to make some pretty strange shapes. Other reasons why your cucumbers are not long and straight include:
The Type of Cucumber
Just like many other plants, there are different types of cucumbers. Among the types of cucumbers are pickling cucumbers, which tend to grow shorter and rounder than cucumbers you might find in a store. Other types grow round, growing to the size of a baseball before being ready to pick.
Pollinators play a considerable role in the development of cucumbers. They provide plants with critical nutrients needed to sprout and grow, accounting for their healthy development. Cucumbers can grow into weird shapes without access to this pollen, including crooked and round.
Weather plays a huge role in the development of plants. If weather conditions are not favorable, the result could be a crop of rounded cucumbers due to stunted growth.
Reasons for Deformed Cucumbers
If you’re used to seeing cucumbers in a store, you may be surprised by what nature sometimes produces. Many factors play a role in cucumber development, making deformities quite common. Common factors that can lead to cucumber deformities include:
Cucumber plants can become stressed when their conditions are unfavorable. Some things that can lead cucumbers to become stressed include their access to sunlight and the soil pH in which they are planted. When exposed to adverse conditions, shapes and colors can change drastically.
Optimal soils for cucumbers include those that are fertilized every 7 to 10 days. They need lots of nutrients to grow, which they can get from the right combination of fertilizers.
Plants are in danger of diseases like viruses. Some that infect cucumbers include the mosaic virus and Aster yellows. These diseases are carried by insects and can cause everything from stunted growth to destruction.
As with all plants, the amount of water they receive is critical. Cucumbers need water, but not every day, thriving in moist but not soaked soils. With too much or too little water, cucumbers can fail to grow, resulting in deformities in the process.
Watering Tip: It is best to water cucumbers twice a week. It’s always best to have something to help determine where moisture levels are, maintaining moisture up to an inch below the surface.
Are Deformed Cucumbers Okay to Eat?
When we’re used to eating store-bought produce, deformities can seem odd. Different colors, shapes, and sizes pop up within all crops of cucumbers and are things that you might not see in stores. Are these deformed cucumbers okay to eat?
Absolutely! Even if they don’t look like your typical store-bought version, they can still be just as refreshing and crisp. While different shapes and different shades of green or yellow are okay, the one thing you want to avoid is a white cucumber. These could have some disease or infection.
How To Plant, Grow, and Harvest Cucumbers
Cucumbers can be a great addition to any garden. To grow them from seed to crispy, edible goodness, here are some things that you’ll need to consider.
Cucumbers like sunny conditions and prefer that their soil is warm. They need plenty of nutrients, so add in a fertilizer regimen before planting. When planting, remember to:
- Plant seeds 1 in deep
- Leave about 3 to 5 feet in between each plant
- Sow in warm temperatures
- Add mulch once planted, especially for growing in warmer climates
- Consider adding a trellis so vines can climb
Once you have seeds placed in the ground and ready to go, you should see growth in as little as three days. If you live in a cooler place, allow for up to 10 days to start seeing growth. When growing, remember to:
- Water frequently, especially in high temperatures
- When watering, avoid leaves to reduce the risk of leaf diseases
- Add mulch to keep the soil warm
- Add fertilizer every three weeks
- Plant close to flowers or add some sugar water nearby to attract bees for pollination
When harvesting, you may need to check back daily to see how your cucumbers are progressing. Some may be ready much quicker than others, leaving you to use your discretion to decide the perfect time to pick. When harvesting, remember to:
- Not let cucumbers grow too large
- Pick a few each day; cucumbers change quickly!
- Choose cucumbers are green all over and firm to the touch
- Cut the stems. Pulling could damage the plant
- Keep picking. The more you pick, the more your plant will grow.
Once you’ve harvested, you can keep cucumbers stored in the refrigerator for ten days. To do so, be sure to wrap them with something to help them maintain their moisture. Because cucumber plants produce so much, you may need to consider giving a few away so they don’t ruin, putting them all to good use, and enjoying them all summer long.
If you’re only used to seeing store-bought cucumbers, you might be shocked to see deformities. Cucumber plants, like other plants, tend to respond to changes in nature, producing fruits in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. Most deformed cucumbers are okay to eat if there are no signs of infection or disease. Even if cucumbers are round, they will still taste good when picked at the right time, filled with the same refreshing taste as those that grow uniform and long.
Hi there, my name is Allie and welcome to my blog; GareningWithAllie!
Much of what you see written here is just our personal experiences with gardening. Along with the content I write here, there is also a unique collection of gardening topics covered by some of our close friends. I hope you find everything you read here to be helpful, informative, and something that can make your gardening journey the most lovely experience ever! With that said, Happy Gardening!