Gherkin: sowing growing maintenance and harvesting

The Gherkin (Cucumber sativa), of the family of Cucurbitaceae is of the same species as the Cucumber. This fruit vegetable low in calories is mostly consumed as condiment after being pickled. It exists nearly 370 varieties of pickles. All are quite chilly, so it is essential to install them in the sun. Here is everything you need to know to grow the Gherkin in good conditions in order to enjoy an abundant harvest from July.

Sow the pickle

The semis in poquets must be performed in April and imperatively under shelter because a temperature of 20°C is ideal (it should in any case not be lower than 16°C). But it is also possible to sow directly in place pickle seeds, provided you wait for the end of the ice saints because after May 13, the risks of late frosts are generally ruled out. The Cornichon being not at all rusticit is essential to ensure that it does not have to suffer the cold.

Sowing pickles in pockets does not present any particular difficulty.

  • Start by preparing their growing medium so that there are no more stones, weeds or roots.
  • Raking.
  • Make pockets (holes) every 50 cm if the plants are to be trellised, and respect an interval of 80 to 100 cm between the rows. It is necessary to space the pockets at least 80 cm apart if you do not want to stake your pickles.
  • Place 5 seeds per pocket.
  • Cover the seeds with a thin layer of garden soil and of compost.
  • Tamp lightly.
  • Water in fine rain.

We take care of keep the soil cool until it sprouts, but above all it should not be waterlogged. When the Cornichon seedlings have 5 leaves, it is advisable to switch tothinning. This consists of leaving only one plant in place per pocket, namely the most vigorous.

If you want to skip the sowing stage, never mind. Just buy the Pickle plants in pots and plant them without delay in the vegetable garden as soon as the weather permits.

Caring for the Pickle

The Cornichon must be installed under the sun because it needs heat. Meeting this requirement is absolutely essential to ensure that you have vigorous, fast-growing plants. Moreover, he likes soils rich in organic matter, soft and fresh.

To carry out its cultivation of pickles, it is better to respect the following points.


The Gherkin tolerates drought very well. It is watered regularly but not excessively, so that the growing medium is always fresh.


Mulching is necessary to limit the evaporation process and therefore reduce the risk of the soil drying out.


Pickles are always fertilized with very ripe manure, but above all not with fresh manure. Beware of nitrogen inputs as this promotes disease and leaf growth to the detriment of fruit growth. This is why we do not add fertilizer.


To allow the long stems of the pickles to climb, it must be trellised in the same way as it is done with beans. For example, we use stakes with a height of 150 cm. Thanks to this trellising, the fruits will be easier to harvest but this will also allow them to better enjoy the sun. Note also that vertical cultivation is a good solution to save space.

Pests and diseases

Pickles can be colonized by aphids and the red spiders. The leaves of the plants then become covered with spots and the young fruits are also affected. These parasites transmit the Mosaica viral plant pathology which can be avoided if the installation of aphids and red spiders is prevented by spraying black soap diluted in water or nettle manure.

The Gherkin is also sensitive to gray cloud. It’s about a fungal disease whose pathogenic fungus responsible is Cladosporium cucumerinus. Common among Cucurbitaceae it appears mainly in June in a humid environment. It manifests itself by small lesions and gray spots surrounded by a yellow halo on leaves and fruits. It’s necessary cut then burn all affected parties. To prevent gray moth, it is strongly recommended to grow only resistant varieties such as hybrid cultivars ‘Little of Paris‘Parigyno’ F1Mepram‘, ‘Ceto’ F1 or ‘End of Meaux etPort‘. We also opt for the rotation des cultures.

Finally, mildew et powdery mildew are others fungal diseases caused by various pathogenic fungi, which can affect cucumber beds. We can play the prevention card by avoiding overtightening the plants and by watering without excess.

Harvest pickles from the garden

The pickles are harvested from July or, depending on the variety, between 45 and 60 days after sowing. Sometimes we collect them until frost. It is almost every day that we pick the pickles so that their size does not exceed 4 to 5 cm because they grow enormously in a single night. At 5 cm maximum, they are very crunchy and delicious. It is therefore useless to let them grow excessively because that would only tire the plant and the fruits would lose a good part of their qualities. Picking requires delicacy because there is no question that the branches are damaged by daily passages.

Once picked, the gherkins should be placed in a slightly damp cloth and then stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days at most. Beyond that, they wither and become soft. It is therefore essential to prepare them quickly with vinegar flavored with different spices and herbs as well as tiny white onions. They will have to be preserved in jars 100% glass airtight lid with rubber seal. It will then be necessary to wait for three months to finally be able to taste them.

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