Cucumber plants are easy to grow provided you can keep their roots cool and moist in rich soil throughout the summer months.
Grow them on a galvanised frame running east-west so that their leaves are exposed to plenty of sunshine throughout the day. I buy galvanised square mesh panels (with 100 mm x 100 mm squares) that are 2.4 m long and 1.2 m high down at the local hardware store, and put several of these end-to-end to make a 'cucumber wall' about 5 m long. The fence is supported by 1.65 m steel star-droppers, as it will come under severe pressure under windy conditions, especially when covered in a 'cucumber sail'.
Plant about 100 seeds along this fence, on both sides if you like. (There's no point fiddling about with one cucumber plant if you want regular production over a month or so, cucumber salads throughout that period, and enough left over for bottling). Again, you need well-composted rich soil high in organic matter to pull this off, and under-mulch drippers right along the fence and seed line so that you can water without wetting the foliage. Use straw as a mulch once the directly-sown seeds are up during Spring; mulch will keep the soil cool and prevent run-off and high evaporative losses until the plants themselves can shade the soil.
Once the seeds reach the 'tendril' stage, tie their growing tips loosly to the frame to encourage them to hook-on, rather than sprawl on the ground. Slower seedlings will climb the sturdier ones, so not much tying is required with cucumbers, compared to tomatoes for example.
Cucumbers are insect-pollinated, so native flies and honey-bees should be encouraged in the garden with flowering herbs such as borage, basil and mint to get the maximum productivity from the flowers that are set by the cucumber plants.
Once your 'cucumber wall' comes into production in summer, you can expect a bucketful of cucumbers every few days. This can be stressfull if you are not prepared, and especially as peak harvest is approaching, with peaches and zucchinis (for example) all ripening around this time. Cucumbers are a great gift, and as it is Chinese New Year around this time, you can spread them around and receive other produce in return. Neverthless, the cook needs to be in standby!
Here's her recipe for dealing with the flood of both cucumbers, zucchinis and beans...
Pickling cucumbers, zucchinis and (blanched) beans
Choose those cucumbers with hard skins for bottling. The smooth dark-green Lebanese cucumbers (top, below) are too soft, and should be eaten fresh. Pickling cucumbers are normally a bit spiky. The white one (Richmond Green Apple?) are also worth bottling. This lot grew from nowhere in just three days: -
Put garlic, peppercorns and dill, mustard, coriander and fennel seeds into the bottom of the pre-sterilized jars (sterilize jars by pouring boiling water into them and allowing them to cool down).
Stand the cucumber slices upright in the jar and pour brine in to cover them, leaving a space below the jar's lid above the cucumber slices of about 25 mm. Brine is made using about 6 tablespoons full of sea-salt in 1.8 litres of water - dissolve the salt in a small amount of hot water than pour that into cold water. Let the brine cool to ambient temperature before using it to bottle cucumbers. Add about one-quarter of a cup of whey (drained off natural yogurt, for example, that has been allowed to stand).
Cover the cucumbers with a fresh young grapevine leaf, and weigh all that down with some glass marbles (available by the bag from toy shops) to keep the cucumbers submersed.
Close up the jars and let stand at ambient temperature for a week in a shady spot to allow fermentation to begin, then store in the cellar or cool dark room.
The same method works for beans, but the beans must first be cut into small lengths and blanched in hot water. We are still eating excellent beans that were preserved last year by this method.