Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cucumber Update

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I thought I would do a series of updates on individual crops, with some detailed photos and some thoughts about the growing experience so far.
A gardener's best friend hard at work on the cucumbers
I’ll begin with cucumbers. Over the past two weeks, these have gone into high gear, as we have harvested 5 lemon cukes and 3 straight 8 cucumbers (with several very large straight 8 cukes still out there hanging on the vines). Both have been delicious, although I think that the straight 8 is my favorite of the two.
sliced lemon cuke

straight 8 cuke
 Just to review, I planted 8 cucumber plants in an 11.5 gallon flexible container: 5 straight 8 and 3 lemon. I planted them in a circle around the outside of the circular pot, and put a large square cage into the dirt for them to climb. I used the Sta Green potting mix, and fertilized with Tomato Tone for the most part, and Miracle Gro once early in the season. As far as the rate of harvest, the vines are pumping out 3-4 cukes per week, and given the number of new blossoms that rate should continue for quite some time.

a powdery intruder
 As you might have read before, I have been having issues with blossom end rot in the tomatoes and peppers (hopefully that it is a thing of the past for this season). On the cucumbers, I have been struggling with powdery mildew. At first, I just pruned the affected leaves off and it seems to have solved that problem. However, today I noticed that it seemed to be spreading across the plants. Most people say it is more of a cosmetic issue than a true threat to the plant, but it is making my once happy and healthy cucumber vines look sickly. I might try the well-known baking soda solution, especially on the squash before it decides to take that over too! It is odd though, as the conditions for powdery mildew don’t seem present on the porch. It is hot, dry, and very windy out there.

 One last observation about cucumber growing: let the cukes mature. If you pick them too small they will be very strong tasting and somewhat bitter. The longer you let them grow, the more mellow and juicy they seem to become. As with many garden crops, the wait is definitely worth it!

straight 8 getting started

both types of cucumbers growing

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