Smithers, Canada

Hello gardening pros:
Here I am again with another newbie question. Are cucumber plants supposed to be hilled? It seems that when I read about them and how to plant them and grown them, they say nothing about "hilling" them. I know that potatoes are much happier if they are hilled but I have no true info on hilling cucumbers. Are there other veggies in my garden that prefer to be hilled?

What about "hilling" cucumbers would be beneficial to the crop? I look forward to receipt of your advice, as my first planting did not do well at all. Once they sprouted they appeared to be fine for about a week, then the leaves all turned yellow and brittle and died. So I just removed them from my garden box and replanted a few seeds, and also planted a new box of cucumber seeds and they appear to be doing well. Do not want to lose this crop, so any advice will be appreciated.


Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

There are several reasons to hill plants, and others for not doing this.
You need to know your own condtitions and ask yourself which offers the most benerfits.

1) A hill, a mound, a raised planter is exposed to the sun on 3 sides, so heats up earlier in the season, and collects heat through the day. In spite of being raised, they do not seem to cool off any faster at night, though, unless you go to the extreme of a small pot.

2) A hill, mound or raised planter will drain better. If you are in an area with a lot of summer rain the additional drainage can really help any crop that does not like staying wet.

3) The action of making a hill or mound opens and aerates the soil. If you are already on a loose or sandy soil this is of little benefit. In heavier soils this can help a lot. You can also use this as an opportunity to add soil amendment to the soil. Blend compost with the soil to make the hill.

Personally, I have found little benefit to hilling things, though i do grow them in low raised planters. The weather here is mild, so I might gain some benefit from the additional heat, but the summers are almost completely dry. No rain, so I have to water everything. If the plant is on a hill the water just runs off. There is no drainage benefit to be gained from hills. I already mix organic matter in the beds when I prep them. No need to add more.
I do add berms around some plants to keep the water close to the plant until it soaks in. This is sort of the opposite of a hill.

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