Cucumbers, a popular, flavorful addition to salads, dressings and relish trays, carry most of their nutritional value in the deep green skin, while the flesh is high in water content. Because fresh cucumbers do not preserve well unless pickled, container-grown plants allow you to control yield and prevent waste. Standard cucumber varieties, growing on long vines, which require substantial garden space, present a problem for those with limited garden space. However, many excellent bush and dwarf cucumber varieties, such as Fanfare, Salad Bush or Spacemaster, are perfectly suited for container gardening.
Place a layer of larger stones or broken pottery pieces at the bottom of a 12-inch planting container. This allows for better drainage and keeps the soil from exiting through the drainage hole.
Fill the container with potting mix and add water to create a slightly moistened medium. Stir the mix, using a stick or your hands, to break up clumps and incorporate moisture evenly.
Plant five to six cucumber seeds in the center of the pot in an evenly spaced circle and cover the seeds with at least 1/2 inch of potting mix.
Water the seedlings to set them in place and put the container in a warm, sunny location.
Snip off all but the two strongest seedlings once sprouts appear. Allow the two remaining seedlings to reach 8 to 10 inches in height, then snip off one of the two plants, leaving one plant per each 12-inch container.
Keep potting soil moist but not saturated throughout the growth cycle. Because containers retain less moisture than garden soil, check daily and water as needed to ensure optimal growth.
Apply a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer once per week, following manufacturer's directions, beginning in July when the cucumber plants are established. Water cucumber plants thoroughly before applying fertilizer to avoid burning foliage and roots.
Harvest cucumbers as they ripen by snipping the stem at the top of each fruit. To prevent damage to the rest of the cucumber plant, avoid twisting or pulling the fruit from the stem.