How to Prune Cucumbers + Melons

Amish rockmelon harvest

For best health, plus the joy of a small footprint, grow vining small fruit cucurbits (melons, cucumbers, small squash) up strings or frames rather than along the ground. Pruning them as single leaders, as per tomatoes, makes for an easy life – easy to pick, to spot pests, and to support, but best of all keeps the fruits in really good nick.

In the protected environment of the greenhouse, I grow melons and cucumbers up strings. If outside, its best to use a more solid frame cos when fully loaded they’re weighty as, and a big wind can take them out.

To keep them on the straight and narrow with just one leader, delateral as you would for tomatoes.

Lateral shoot and flower on cucmber

In the crook where each leaf joins the stem is where the laterals (shoots) and flowers come. Pinch out the shoot …

Pruning cucumbers Remove the shoot and leave the flower

… and leave the flower. Et voila … one long line of cucumbers (or melons).

Cucumbers growing up a string

Maxing out on airflow and light + nice clean fruits too. The very best.

When the vine reaches the top of the string I send it over the top wire, and down the other side. And then sometimes, in a particularly good season, back up again.


  1. Hi kath, I’m trying to grow cucumber both in the glass house and in the veggie garden. My vibes only grow 1 fruit at the time. Several little ones come up but they never fill unless i remove the biggest one. Any idea why? Love the blog and book!! Thanks Estelle

    • Hi Estelle – great news is that pollination is happening! Just to be clear – the baby cucumbers just sit there in stasis and grow no bigger until the full sized cucumber is removed? Interesting! I wonder what time period we are talking here? You arent by chance being impatient :)Cucumbers really get there gears on as things warm up. What are the conditions like at your place – are you somewhere warm or cool? And my final question has to be, hows your soil?