How to Transplant Cucumber Plants
You can grow cucumbers in your home garden, either from seed or by purchasing starts at your local nursery. Either way, you will have to transplant them when the time is right. Transplanting cucumbers outdoors is not difficult, with a little knowledge and careful handling.
Starting from Seed
You can choose to grow cucumbers from seed or buying pre-grown starts. Starting cucumber seeds should be done indoors about four weeks before the end of the last frost. Plant them in 3-inch pots with quality potting soil, ½ inch deep. The soil should be kept moist, and the starter trays should be covered with plastic wrap to keep them warm. The trays or small pots should be kept either in a greenhouse or on a warm windowsill. You will have to transplant them from their starter trays and put them in 5 or 6 inch pots. When the cucumbers have filled these pots with roots and their first four leaves have expanded, it is time to put them in the ground.
Cucumber starts that you buy from the nursery will have cucumbers that have matured up to this point. If you start from seed, you have to transplant them twice–once into the larger pots and once into the ground.
Prep the Growing Area
Before you put the cucumber starts in the ground, prepare the soil and their growing area. Cucumber plants can grow quite large and their vines will spread out far beyond where their roots are. For this reason they need ample space. They will grow up a trellis if you provide them one. Prepare plots at least 2 to 3 feet apart from each other and give them something to climb up nearby, whether it is a stake or a fence. Cut a black garbage bag to the size of the cucumber bed and lay it down with rocks holding it at the corners. Make slits where the starts will go. Covering the beds like this will keep the plants’ roots warm and weeds at bay.
Transplanting Cucumber Starts
When the cucumbers in their 5 or 6 inch pots are ready to be put in the ground, dig out enough soil to accommodate the depth of the plant. Gently squeeze each pot, loosening up the compact soil and roots of the starts. Move the black plastic aside where you made slits, turn the pot upside down, holding the plant from the top. After it falls out into your hand, carefully place each start in its place in the ground. Pack the soil firmly around it and immediately water each transplant.
Once the cucumber starts have been transplanted and watered, the initial work is done. Water the plants each day, enough to keep them damp but not saturated. If they have enough sunlight and water, cucumbers can produce a vigorous amount of fruit. To keep them off the ground and away from slugs, give them something to climb on, like a trellis.