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RIP Cucumbers...

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RIP Cucumbers...

Post  Miss Erica on 6/14/2012, 7:51 pm

In the space of a week - my beautiful cucumbers went from lush green plants to being mostly dead (I think) I took these pictures a few days ago - it's even worse now...





Found this on one leaf - no clue what it is or what caused it...

We do have a bunch of these bugs - I thought they were Asian ladybugs and would be good for pollination - but wondering if they might be the problem... does anyone recognize them?


I am really discouraged... I was so excited to go out to the garden every day and see what had changed - this is the first time I have done the garden thing... I had tons of cucumbers coming along - now they are all either full of holes or just rotted away. My Zukes and Toms are having Blossom End Rot issues too. I've gotten a couple zukes from one plant and about a half dozen cukes before this happened - but I am losing hope that this garden thing is going to work in this hyper-tropical climate.

Help?

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  CapeCoddess on 6/14/2012, 8:17 pm

Oh, that's just heartbreaking, Miss Erica. You're 2nd photo looks like what happened to my hosta hedge that is in the sun. I thought they looked sunburned. Were your cucs in full sun?

I'm a first time SFG so I'm looking forward to what others have to say about this. All I can say to you is don't give up...failures are a learning experience, and help us become better gardeners..

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  Miss Erica on 6/14/2012, 8:23 pm

Here's pics from today...



They are indeed in full sun... this close to the equator - that is pretty much unavoidable. It is also pretty windy here - but this looks like something is chomping on it pretty significantly. Can sun/wind cause that kind of damage?

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  southern gardener on 6/14/2012, 9:13 pm

oh man, that is discouraging. Look on the back of the leaves, and see if you can find some critters there? Also, look at night to see if anything is happening. We found earwigs all over at night, they were like mini lumberjacks chopping down stuff. I don't think this is what you have tho. I'm sorry for your problem. We are having a lot of probs too, hoping for some help....

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  Miss Erica on 6/14/2012, 9:22 pm

The only bugs I have seen (other than the one pictured) are grasshoppers. LOTS of grasshoppers that are about 2-3 inches long. That could explain the damage on the edges of the leaves - but not the damage "inside" the leaves. Wouldn't explain the holes bored into the cucumbers either, would it? I did get some spinosade and tried spraying that when things started to go downhill - didn't stop the slide. The one other person I know here who does SQF (ScottinGuam) who lives a few miles from me said he had some issues with some sort of grubs/slugs all over the roots of some plants he pulled out of his garden. I haven't pulled anything out of the ground yet - so I don't know if that could be the problem...

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  southern gardener on 6/14/2012, 9:52 pm

i cant tell from the pics if there are "slime" trails, or if it's a partially eaten leaf. The pics of the bottom of your plants look like snail/slug damage. You should see them at night or early in the morning if so. I've never seen them go that high on a plant tho..normally lower on the plant. Let me know what you see tonight. I think that "mush" on the leaf is a caterpillar etc eating and "dropping" on the leaf. Look above where you see the mess, and see if you spot anything. I hope you find out...I know it's discouraging, but keep trying!!

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  GWN on 6/14/2012, 10:36 pm

From your pictures I would find that leaves concerning, however I find (and I will NEVER understand this) that the stalk at the base can look as worn out and damaged and STILL maintain a healthy plant.
I see it with the squashes all the time, the base of the stem looks totally worn out and dead, yet the rest of the plant does just fine.

I am always trying to figure out how a plant can survive when the base of the stem looks dead, but they do.

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  GWN on 6/14/2012, 10:40 pm

OH and the OTHER thing is the end blossom rot.
For the first few years I just thought that they were dying by rotting on the ends, but what was happening is that they were females and had NOT been fertilized by a male flower.
They just start to grow and then start rotting from one end.
Q tips can solve this

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  Miss Erica on 6/14/2012, 10:42 pm

@GWN wrote:OH and the OTHER thing is the end blossom rot.
For the first few years I just thought that they were dying by rotting on the ends, but what was happening is that they were females and had NOT been fertilized by a male flower.
They just start to grow and then start rotting from one end.
Q tips can solve this

How big would they get if that were the case? The zukes were about 6-7 inches long before it started and the tomatoes were at about 2 inch diameter (solid green - no ripening at all)

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  littlejo on 6/14/2012, 10:45 pm

Well, I'll give a try to help.

First, for the blossom end rot, either some powdered milk around the plants or some cheap antacid tablets(the ones that have calcium in them) dissolve in some water and put around plants.

I would say your cukes have a very bad bug problem. My pumpkins had the same look today. First I sprayed with some soapy water. That brought the bugs out that were causing the problem. They were absolutly thick, stinkbugs/squash bugs. I used a spray I had on hand that had pyrthins(bad spelling) and neem oil. The spinosad should help too. I don't know about that bug you have in the pic, or if some other bug would damage the fruit? Depends on what bug comes out of hiding with the soapy water.

You can put a piece of board or cardboard on the soil during the day when it's hot. Whatever you have in the soil will come up to hide under during the day, possibly slugs or milipedes if you have them there? I have milipedes in my strawberries, and as of yet have found nothing to kill them.

If the slugs or other bugs make a hole in fruit, the milipedes will eat the inside of fruit.

You might take 1 of the fruit that has a spot/hole and cut it open with a knife, you might find your culprit inside, I did with the strawberries!

I won't know til tomm. if the spray will help my pumpkins. They looked a little bit worse than your cukes.

I hope that you can get a handle on this. Most vegetation grows good near the equater.

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  GWN on 6/14/2012, 11:01 pm

How big would they get if that were the case? The zukes were about 6-7 inches long before it started and the tomatoes were at about 2 inch diameter (solid green - no ripening at all)
This would just be the case for the zucchinis as this is not the issue with tomatoes, as they are self pollinating.
In my case they usually get to be about 4 inches long before they begin to rot, if it is from lack of pollination.

It DOES seem like you have been invaded. Do you live in a moist area, because SLUGS even small ones, can cause that sort of damage.
The slugs in Oregon were huge, but only came out at night, we have very small slugs here, but they also do damage.
My DH goes out at night with a flashlight to catch them and crush them.
However if it were slugs, the ends of the zucchinis would have been eaten away instead of rotting away though.
I guess I feel at a loss because of how far away I live, but I certainly feel for you

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  Miss Erica on 6/14/2012, 11:13 pm

oh yes... very wet. and very hot. It rains almost every day here - although not for long. I haven't seen any slugs (at least - I haven't seen any slug trails like I am used to seeing in the Seattle area). My friend was going to put some "slug killer" on his garden - will ask him if it did any good. I guess the big question is that if they are this far gone... I don't see a single leaf that isn't damaged in some way - is there any hope to save them or should I rip them out and start over? That is the one good thing about this climate. 365 days of growing season! Although now that we are moving into typhoon season - it is only going to be getting windier and wetter and hotter....

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  GWN on 6/14/2012, 11:32 pm

Personally I would leave them, I would be interested in others views (I am not totally sure where Santa Rita is, sorry for my lack of knowledge)
However I believe that the healthier the plant is the more likely it is to survive the pests.
It would be such a shame to cut down such a well established plant. I have found in the past so many times that plants that look almost dead come back to life with the right treatments.
I would search the ground at night for slugs, I would also put compost around the plants, it seems to help their ability to fight diseases, and I would keep a vigilant eye out for any bugs.
Do you have a good source of composted material?
I am going to see if I can find the article someone recently posted about natural pest control.

BTW, your cucumber plant is bigger and healthier looking that any I have ever grown. (I am controlled by my climate, a totally different pest than you have )

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  GWN on 6/14/2012, 11:37 pm

ORGANIC PEST CONTROL

OK here is an article for organic pest control, things you can do to give your plants the edge......

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  Miss Erica on 6/15/2012, 12:47 am

LOL - yeah - Santa Rita is kinda vague... I thought I had Guam in there too... guess not. Tiny tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

I talked to my fellow local SFG-er's wife and she said that they weren't slugs - they were some sort of grubs...she said he put something on the soil and the next morning there were a ton of dead grubs on top of the soil. Ick. She is going to talk to him and ask what it was.

Compost is very limited here. All that I was able to find is composted steer manure and composted chicken manure. Used Vigoro Tomato and Vegetable fertilizer (12-10-5) when I set the seedlings out and added a little bit more about 2 months later. I have a compost pile going but it is still a long way from being "done"...

I'll check out that link - thanks!

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  GWN on 6/15/2012, 12:53 am

composted steer manure and chicken manure are totally fine.
as long as it is composted it is just fine and your plants would love it
I got a load of 2 year old cow manure and my plants have all perked up considerably.

I just go out to the forest sometimes and find trees that are old and pull up the "compost" from below them
Are there tall trees in Gaum?


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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  Miss Erica on 6/15/2012, 12:59 am

Hm.... we have plenty of jungle here - banana trees, papaya trees and lord knows what else. Although we live up on the plateau so it is more grassland here - albeit 12 ft tall grasses....

So you are suggesting using the composted manure like a mulch? Vice mixed with the vermiculite and the peat moss?

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  GWN on 6/15/2012, 1:02 am

Well the original mels mix is a mixture of vermiculite, peat moss and compost and beyond that, in future years one just adds compost.
What I am saying is that many people "top dress" the beds with compost of some sort, when the plants are not doing well.
SORT of like you would in the second year.


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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  Miss Erica on 6/15/2012, 6:04 am

OK - went out there tonight after dark. Didn't find much. Found one moth-looking critter...

There was a grasshopper out there...but they are everywhere around here. We are going to start keeping the yard grass cut shorter in the hopes of encouraging them to go hang out in the 12' grass that is behind our yard area. (One small patch starts about 4' away from the garden but the majority of it is about 20-30' away from the garden area.)

Also saw what appeared to be a baby praying mantis - less than half an inch long Couldn't get a pic of him though. That was it. No eggs/strange things on the bottom of any leaves - no obvious infestation of anything.

this cucumber was beautiful about a week ago...


Another shot of the current state... Sad


This was one of the last cucumbers I was able to save...No idea what that scaly stuff is on it. It hadn't gone all the way into the fruit - was able to cut it away and the inside was fine.

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  camprn on 6/15/2012, 6:49 am

Aside from the obvious insect damage it is certain that your cucumbers have some type of disease or maybe more than one. Maybe anthracnose... but I am not well versed in curcurbit diseases. Is there a university or other farming/agriculture resources on the island?

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  GWN on 6/15/2012, 9:43 am

Here is a list of cucurbit diseases cucumber diseases


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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  walshevak on 6/15/2012, 9:49 am

I agree, your problem is more disease than insects. And the everyday rain, humidity and heat don't help. The most successful gardens I saw in PI were grown under row covers and in greenhouses to protect from sun and downpours. I'm thinking you may have to do succession planting because eventually your cukes will sucumb.

I have had limited success with my blight stricken tomatos using Neem spray and a copper fungicide spray, both organic. JIC, I also sprayed my cukes and so far so good.

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  boog1 on 6/15/2012, 11:55 am

I lived there for 2 1/2 years not that many people I can recall had a garden. On base anyways, like you said finding anything there was like lookin for a needle in a FIELD of haystacks. In so far as the plants go I can't offer any help sorry.

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  KDeus on 6/15/2012, 12:06 pm

@Miss Erica wrote:In the space of a week - my beautiful cucumbers went from lush green plants to being mostly dead (I think) I took these pictures a few days ago - it's even worse now...
Found this on one leaf - no clue what it is or what caused it...


This looks like it might be pickleworm damage from where the worm ate it's way through the cuke. If you look at the cukes above that area, you will probably see a hole(s) in one or several of them. Actually, it looks like the cuke in the foreground of this pic does have a hole toward the bottom. One of my cukes I found holes in had 5 of them in it. I can't tell from the moth picture because the wings are closed if that is the moth that laid the eggs. Here's some info on these guys: http://ipm.ncsu.edu/ag295/html/pickleworm_melonworm.htm

I have downy mildew that has been somewhat under control on mine. It started when we started getting a lot of the rain from recent storms. It does looks like you could have a fungus or a disease, although I can't tell what kind. I've been spraying with Neem which seems to help somewhat.

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

Post  GWN on 6/15/2012, 1:11 pm

Miss Erika
Are you having any success with any other crops?

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Re: RIP Cucumbers...

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