When you picture the perfect cucumber, you see a somewhat fat green cucumber that is long. Your cucumbers at home may not turn out to be your desired shape when they’re ready to harvest. In disappointment, you’re likely to wonder: why do my cucumbers grow fat instead of long?
Cucumbers that are fat instead of long suffer from stunted growth because of poor pollination. The cucumbers did not have a good start and cannot grow to the expected length.
Cucumbers that are fat instead of long isn’t as nice looking as store-bought cucumbers, but it usually doesn’t ruin the cucumber taste. Still, we will cover why this happens and some things that you can do to prevent this from happening in the future.
What Causes Odd Shaped Cucumbers
The leading cause of odd-shaped cucumbers is a lack of pollination, but we’ll cover a few other reasons you may have fat cucumbers.
Lack Of Pollination
Lack of pollination is the number one reason your cucumber plant produces fat, stubby cucumbers.
Pollination happens between male and female flowers on your cucumber plants. Male flowers produce the pollen that allows female flowers to produce cucumbers.
Pollination is sometimes hard to control, but there are steps you can take to give your plants the best chance possible at pollinating, including:
- Keeping them watered with enough sunlight
- Plant them when temperatures are favorable for cucumber plants
- Make sure to have male flowers if you choose a female-only variety of cucumber
Do all the things you normally do to keep your cucumber plants healthy, especially early in the plant’s growing cycle.
A cucumber plant that starts off well will have the best chance of producing long, perfect cucumbers.
Not Enough Sunlight
Cucumbers need sunlight to grow well.
Your cucumbers will do best in full sunlight, but not everyone has a garden where that is an option. Therefore, you should plant your cucumbers somewhere where they can get at least five hours of sunlight each day.
A lack of sunlight can lead to stunted growth since cucumber plants need sunlight to thrive and grow well.
Remember that high heat is still not good; your cucumbers will need additional water if the sunlight is beating down on them during the hottest parts of the summer.
Not Enough Water
Not enough water is always a problem for cucumbers.
Cucumber plants need to be adequately watered to produce long, juicy cucumbers.
Water is essential for your cucumber plants when the plant is still young. Too little water at the beginning of your cucumber’s growth can lead to misshapen cucumbers that do not turn out how you imagine.
You do not need to water your cucumbers every day, though. Cucumber plants do best with watering once a week – make sure to give them enough!
Too Much Fertilizer
Too much fertilizer can hurt your plant.
You may think you’re doing the best thing possible for your plant by giving it fertilizer. In most cases, you are!
Still, cucumbers do not need to be fed as much as they mature, so you do not need to feed them as best.
The best advice I have here is to follow the directions on your fertilizer to avoid over – or under, as we’ll see next – feeding your cucumbers.
Too Little Fertilizer And Nutrients In The Soil
Some people choose not to feed their plants, leading to a lack of nutrients in the soil.
Not everyone feeds and fertilizes their plants. Most of the time, this doesn’t cause a problem, but the shape of your cucumbers can suffer if they do not have the proper nutrients.
Soil has natural nutrients that your cucumber needs, but if you plant your cucumbers in containers or pots, they may not have all that they need from that soil alone.
Skipping on the fertilizer can lead to some quirky shapes!
How Can I Make My Cucumbers Bigger
If you’re trying to correct some of the problems like lack of pollination, water, or sunlight, then you can try other things to make your cucumbers bigger, too, like using a trellis.
You can use a trellis to make your cucumbers grow bigger.
Cucumbers can grow across the ground, of course, but you face the issue of the leaves covering up the cucumbers. This may lead to a smaller harvest.
Cucumber plants can grow upward with a trellis and allow the cucumbers to grow while hanging. It’ll be harder for bugs and insects to crawl all over your cucumbers as they grow.
You can easily build a trellis at home with a few wooden stakes and heavy twine. You need to make a wall near your cucumber plants and train the cucumber trendles to climb up your trellis.
You can also use old wooden pallets for your trellis, though you will have to make sure that they are propped up in a way that will not accidentally crush your cucumber plants!
If you’re not someone who is handy or has a certain aesthetic, then you can buy a trellis, though you can expect to spend more.
Are Deformed Cucumbers OK To Eat
Deformed cucumbers may not look pretty, but they are still safe to eat.
The shape of your cucumbers usually does not dictate how good your cucumbers taste, so even your fat cucumbers will taste just as good as the long ones.
Deformities can happen in cucumbers when an inexperienced grower tries to grow them, but it does not ruin the cucumber.
Your fat and short cucumbers might not be the perfect cucumbers you imagined, but they will still get the job done.
Do not eat cucumbers if they:
- Have brown or black spots
- Feel mushy
- Have been left out too long after cutting
- Have been eaten by insects or wild animals
Otherwise, that unattractive cucumber can be just as juicy and crisp as any other shaped cucumber!
What Do You Do With Fat Cucumbers
Fat cucumbers aren’t the most attractive harvest, but they still make for a great ingredient!
As I said above, you can still eat your fat cucumbers without a problem.
If you’re picky about your cucumbers, you can still use your cucumbers in different ways, even if you won’t get the perfect shaped cucumber chips.
You can use fat cucumbers by:
- Shredding them in different dishes
- Using them to make tzatziki sauce
- Making gazpacho sauce
- Slicing them to make kid-sized cucumber noodles
- Putting them in water for infused water
Since you’re not slicing the cucumber into those medallions that you might be used to, you (and maybe your guests, if that’s who you’re worried about) won’t know that your cucumbers became fat instead of long.
What people don’t know won’t hurt them here!
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!