How To Transplant Cucumber Seedlings

How To Transplant Cucumbers

Cucumbers are fun and easy to grow in the vegetable garden. There are many different types of cucumbers, but the two most popular types are generally slicing cucumbers and pickling cucumbers. I typically grow the slicing varieties in my vegetable garden each year. The pickling types are grown by my sister so we trade cucumbers each year.

Slicing cucumbers are usually anywhere from six to fourteen inches long and smooth-skinned, while pickling cucumbers are shorter, around three to six inches long, and are kind of “bumpy”.

There are two ways you can plant cucumbers in your vegetable garden – by sowing the seeds directly in the vegetable garden and by starting the seeds in seed trays then transplanting the seedlings in the vegetable garden later. I start the cucumber seeds in a seed tray then transplant them in the vegetable garden once the weather is warm enough.

Here I will show you how I transplant cucumber seedlings into my vegetable garden.

Removing The Cucumber Seedlings From The Seed Tray

Removing the cucumber seedlings from the seed tray can sometimes be very tricky. When using the plastic seed starting trays, the seedlings can be difficult to remove from the tray cell without damaging the seedling. Because of this I started using a seed tray that is made from peat. The peat-based trays are biodegradable and make it very easy to remove the seedlings.

First, I find the seedlings in the seed tray I want to transplant to the vegetable garden. Once I pick out the seedlings I want to transplant, I simply use a knife to cut the seedlings from the seed tray.

I use a sharp knife to cut the seedling from the peat tray by cutting down one side of the particular pot of the seedling I want.

Cut Tray Cells That Contain the Cucumber Seedlings

Then I cut down the other side of the same seed tray cell.

Cut Both Sides of Seed Pot To Remove the Cucumber Seedlings

Once I have completed both cuts I can simply pick up the seed cell that contains the desired cucumber seedlings. The seedling is now in its own individual little peat pot. The cucumber seedling has been removed from the seed tray without any damage and is now ready to transplant into the vegetable garden.

Carefully Remove Cucumber Seedling From Seed TrayCarefully Remove Cucumber Seedling From Seed Tray

I continue removing the cucumber seedlings in the same manner until I have all the seedlings I need for my vegetable garden.

Transplanting The Cucumber Seedlings Into The Vegetable Garden

Now that I have all my cucumber seedlings I am ready to transplant them in the vegetable garden. The first thing to do before transplanting the seedlings is to make sure the bed is prepared by loosening the soil and amending the soil with compost.

Once that is completed, it is time to transplant the cucumber seedlings.

I have a cucumber trellis I built a couple years ago specifically for growing cucumbers, so that is where I will transplant my cucumber seedlings. I grow four cucumber plants next to the cucumber trellis – two on each side.

I use my hand to create a small hole for the cucumber seedlings. The hole is a little bit bigger than the size of the peat pot.

Dig a Hole for the Cucumber Seedling

Next, I carefully remove the very bottom of the peat pot so the cucumber seedling’s root will be exposed to the soil. I cannot stress enough here – remove the bottom of the peat pot carefully. Avoid disturbing the roots as much as possible.

Tear Off the Bottom of the Peat Pot To Expose the Roots of the Cucumber Seedling

I also remove the top of the peat pot so the remaining peat pot is at the same level as the soil in the peat pot.

Cucumber Seedling Ready To Be Transplanted

You can remove the peat pot completely from the cucumber seedling if you like. I leave the sides of the peat pot intact so the soil around the seedling does not fall apart. The peat pot will slowly dissolve and not be a problem. I have transplanted seedlings with the whole peat pot intact and not had any problems. You could do that with your seedlings as well if you are not comfortable removing the peat pot from the seedling.

Finalizing The Cucumber Seedling Transplant

Now that the cucumber seedlings are ready to plant, it’s time to place them in the hole and cover them with soil.

Simply place the cucumber seedling in the hole so that the top of the soil in the peat pot is at the same level as the garden soil. Once the depth is correct simply fill in the hole with soil or compost.

Place Cucumber Seedling In the Hole and Cover With Soil

Continue the same process until all of the cucumber seedlings are transplanted into your vegetable garden. Once all the cucumber seedlings are transplanted be sure to give them a good watering or drink of compost tea. Once the cucumber seedlings have become established and growing a little make sure to come back and thin out the seedlings so there is just one plant per hill.

How do you grow cucumbers in your vegetable garden?

Do you transplant your cucumbers or do you sow the seeds directly in the vegetable garden? Please share with us how you grow cucumbers!

Try These Delicious Cucumbers

20 Comments on How To Transplant Cucumber Seedlings

  1. I cannot thank you enough for posting things like this…I am starting my first veggie garden and really need the help! Thanks!

    • Hi Rebecca,

      Thank you so much for the kind words. I’m glad you found the post useful! If you ever have any vegetable gardening questions do not hesitate to contact me! I’ll help as much as I can 😉


  2. We like to start with seedlings because our growing season is so short. But I do not have much success. Cucumbers seedlings are so tricky…thanks for this info. I will be giving it a try.

  3. Hi Tee.
    I came across your site while I was looking for “saving cucumber seed”.
    Now, my question is:
    Is this a New Zealand site or do I have to adjust the planting to the different climatatic conditions, whick I find is a pain in the proverbial.
    Thank – you and keep the good work up.
    Kind regards.


    • Hi Simon! Unfortunately, I am in the United States, so yeah, our seasons are complete opposites.

      If you have any specific questions please feel free to contact me directly using the contact page. I’ll be more than happy to assist in any way I can.



  4. I start my cucumber a few weeks ago indoors, they were growing nicely I will admit i was really excited. but just this past weekend i tranplanted them outside in a 1×6 foot wooden container. i used potting soil and steer manure mixture and gave it a good watering AND put in the trellis prior to planting as not to damage the root. but not their dying and i dont know why. Im thinking its the direct sunlight as i am in Phoenix, AZ
    I water them, and for once my rotten rottie is not trying to eat them. I m so confused but i will not give up. Any advice would be much appreciated. I was also thinking maybe i transplanted them to early.

    • Hi Shane – Right off the top of my head it sounds like you didn’t harden them off. If you start seeds indoors you need to let them get used to being outside slowly. Set them outside for a couple hours at a time. Each day increase the amount of time they are outside by an hour or so.

      This will get them acclimated to the different environment. When they are inside they have ideal temperatures, light and there’s no wind. Wind and sudden long exposure to the sun can cause them to get wind and sun burns.

      Hopefully, your cucumbers will pull through and not be a loss, Kevin. Sorry you are having troubles with them and hope this info helps.

  5. So I started my cucumbers and they sprouted up after 4 days. I bought the plant lights and have them in a 3 tiered lamp the light reaches all my seedlings and all my others are growing well my cucumbers have become long and spindly is there any way to save them or are they a bust?

    • Hi Ashley – They might be OK if they aren’t so tall they are starting to fall over. Once they start falling over and can’t “stand up” on their own then, yea, they are goners.

      Is there any way that you can transplant them in to your garden? Sometimes planting them will help some. If you can’t plant them yet try carefully transplanting them into larger containers. The extra room will help them some as well.

      I hope they turn out OK, and sorry you are having troubles with them.

  6. Tee,
    Unlike the other person who posted from Phoenix, mine are growing like crazy! I have them position so they get sun from morning to about 2pm and they are shaded during the hot 5pm sun. My problem is that I planted too many in the pot (figuring I’d lose at least a third of them) and since it looks like each and every one of them as grown, I have NO IDEA how to go about transplanting them. They are not small and I am positive their roots are intertwined. I’d love some tips!

  7. I have been asked to transplant my sister in law’s cucumber patch and yellow squash patch to a new area of the farm. I sure hate to mess it up. Do you have any ideas or suggestions on how to do this?

    • Hi Jane – if the plants are full grown already then transplanting them is not recommended. You will probably end up losing a bunch of the plants if not all of them. If they have only been planted for a couple weeks then you might be able to transplant them without much issue as long as you dig out around the plants in a large enough area as to not disturb the roots and keep them well watered the following couple weeks after transplanting.

      Good luck! 🙂

  8. I would like to get a seed from my cucumber garden for next year. what should I do?

    • Hi Jack – You would like to save your cucumber seeds for next year?

      If so, you need to make sure your cucumbers are open-pollinated varieties, also called heirlooms. You can’t save seeds from a hybrid variety because the offspring will not be true to the parent. In other words, the seeds will not produce new seedlings that are exactly like the plant the seeds came from.

      If you are growing an open pollinated variety, then you must make sure that your cucumber plants were not cross pollinated with other varieties of cucumbers. If this happens you will end up with cucumber plants that are a mix of the two cross pollinated plants.

      Once those things are met, you simply leave a couple cucumbers on the vine for a long time towards the end of the season. Let them sit there and get big and fat. Once they have over ripened (turned all white and yellow), pick them, bring them inside, and remove the seeds.

      Place the seeds in a glass of water and let them sit over night to remove any pulp or residue from the seeds. Drain the water and place them on a paper plate and let them dry in the open air for about 6 weeks. Once they have fully dried they will snap easily when folded into.

      Store the seeds in a dark, dry location until next season when they can be planted.

  9. My seedlings look like a tall shoot with two leaves on top, not short and compact like yours. Am I doing something wrong? If I transplant these do I fill them with dirt up to the top leaves and cover the stem?

    • Hi Bobbi – When a seedling only has the first two leaves those are called the cotyledons, or as I call them the “baby leaves”. Usually after a few days the seedling will begin developing it’s true leaves. The true leaves are it’s permanent leaves and will look more like what a cucumber leaf is supposed to look like. Think of seedling leaves kind of like human teeth. A baby starts out with a set of baby teeth, then as the baby gets older it loses its baby teeth and the permanent teeth come in. THat’s similar to the cotyledons and true leaves on a seedling.

      As for the tall spindly plants, that’s usually due to the seedlings not getting enough direct sunlight. If you have the plants sitting in a windowsill the window may not be getting enough direct sunlight in it. It may seem bright to you, but not to the seedlings. The best windows I’ve found to use is a south-facing bay window.

      Unfortunately, I don’t have one of those so I always use artificial lighting. If you are using artificial lighting the bulb needs to stay about an inch or two above the seedling, and you need to make sure to use the right kind of fluorescent bulb. You can use regular bulbs from Lowe’s or Home Depot, but a full-spectrum bulb is ideal.

      When you transplant tall, spindly plants you want to plant them so the soil level of the pot they are in is the same level as the soil in your garden. Do not plant them deeper unless they are tomato plants.

  10. I also found, from previous years, that cucumbers seedlings are very delicate. I now use a peat pellet that helps prevent damage when transplanting. I place 2 seeds in each pellet and let them grow. When it is time to transplant, 2-5 weeks later, you can just place them in a larger pot. I typically remove the cover from the pellet but you don’t really need to as they breakdown. I just like to allow the roots to get out faster. This year I am going to remove the cover from 2, and leave 2 in and test which does better.

  11. I have been trying to grow Cucumbers from seed for the last 3weeks and I am at the stage where I have 2-3 inch saplings with 2 smooth sprouting leaves and they are beginning to develop rough edged leaves. I have noticed that on a couple of the saplings, the rounded leaves are starting wilt and shrivel up and Im not sure if this is normal or what Im doing wrong! I water them every morning with a spritzer and make sure the soil is not dry. The plants are inside on a windowsill in the sun for the majority of the day. What am I doing wrong? Id like to save some of the saplings before I lose them all! thanks!

  12. Hello I am new to the garden. . I have started my cucumbers in a plastic tray and they are ready to be planted . My question is how I should remove them from the plastic and what I should avoid doing thank you

  13. Unfortunately my cuks will get aprox 6 hrs of sunligut on good days, due to multiple tall trees. Am I in a hopeless situation in getting a crop of cuks??
    Thanks!!…………..Bruce in So Ct.

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