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What's Happening to my Cucumber

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What's Happening to my Cucumber

Post  CapeCoddess on 8/19/2012, 2:52 pm

I did a 'search' for this cucumber problem but couldn't find anything. My cucs have just started producing and I really don't want to lose them all. Does anyone know what's going on here and what should I do about it please?



Also, notice the shriviled baby cuc lower left. No

CC

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Re: What's Happening to my Cucumber

Post  Pollinator on 8/19/2012, 3:12 pm

The shriveled baby cuke is aborting due to lack of pollination.

But I doubt that bees will ever visit this plant, as it is a sick plant and unattractive to bees. Note the green veins in the leaves - this points to a severe nutrient deficiency of iron or magnesium. You can try adding mineral to your mix, but I am dubious if this plant can be saved.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news (please don't shoot the messenger).
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Re: What's Happening to my Cucumber

Post  camprn on 8/19/2012, 3:44 pm

CC Try feeding your plant to improve it's health.

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Re: What's Happening to my Cucumber

Post  nanny on 8/19/2012, 5:42 pm

Without pollination of the flower the cuke wouldn't be there at all. I had some dry up like that when we had 100 degree temp in the summer. I managed to keep the vines going with watering twice daily and an umbrella over it. When the weather cooled, the plant started producing again. Nothing quite like a fresh cucumber fresh from the vine.

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Re: What's Happening to my Cucumber

Post  CapeCoddess on 8/19/2012, 6:27 pm

It makes sense that this soil is lacking nutrients since it's in an Earthbox with Fafard from last year. I'm slowly changing over the 3 Earthboxes to MM but the 2 with the cucs haven't been done yet.

So this is what I did...I dressed the cucs with compost to feed, watered well.

Then I hit the store for some epsom salts, came home, mixed up a batch and watered the cucs with that for magnesium.

And the heat wave here is over I think so that shouldn't be an issue.

Now we wait. Hopefully I can save some of the smaller plants.

Thanks, ALL, for your suggestions. I took them all!

CC

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Re: What's Happening to my Cucumber

Post  Pollinator on 8/19/2012, 10:09 pm

@nanny wrote:Without pollination of the flower the cuke wouldn't be there at all.

This is a common misconception about cucurbit pollination. Pollination is not at all like an on/off switch, but rather like a dimmer switch, with the brightest light representing a perfect, fully pollinated cuke. There are stages in between.

With only a few seeds fertilized, a cuke can start to develop, but it won't have enough of the chemicals produced at fertilization to continue growth and will abort. If more are fertilized - your cuke may continue to grow, but still be curled or deformed, because the area that isn't fertilized will lack growth of the flesh of the fruit.

Only when almost all the seeds are fertilized will the cuke grow fast, straight and be of high quality. This requires many visits of the bee to deliver and spread the pollen around the pistil surface.

Here is a more thorough explanation - with photos: http://gardensouth.org/2011/07/21/why-are-my-cucumber-falling-off-or-becoming-deformed/
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Re: What's Happening to my Cucumber

Post  Pollinator on 8/19/2012, 10:16 pm

@nanny wrote:When the weather cooled, the plant started producing again.

I'm responding to this separately, since it is a separate concept. Nothing about hot weather will actually prevent cucumber pollination per se.

But it will limit the hours that the flower is receptive and the pollen is alive.

This means that the bees must be present in sufficient numbers to deliver the requisite number of visits very early before the heat stops the process.

On an 80-degree day, the bees may be able to make 30-40 visits while the flower and the pollen are still viable, as they may work from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. On a 95-degree day, the bees may only have from 7 to 9:30 to make the same number of bee visits.

A thin population of bees may thus be adequate to do the job, when the weather is ideal - but when the temperatures climb above 90, there simply aren't enough of them to get it done quickly.

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