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Cucumber Failures

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Cucumber Failures

Post  floyd1440 on 9/28/2013, 5:40 am

This is my 3rd year at SFGing and had great success growing cukes the first year!  Unfortunately the last 2 seasons have not been successful as the plants die in a very short time.  At first I though I may have not given them enough water but my neighbors has complained about the same thing as his cukes die every year and we have talked and this is the sequence of events.

Plants are doing well early summer and I get a few cucumbers.  Then I notice a few leaves getting yellow and tend to think it is a water problem.   Finally this whole stem turns brown and the entire plant dies.

From what I have determined it is bacterial wilt but I could be wrong here.  Looked for bugs and only found a few pill bugs, which should be harmless at this stage of the plants growth.  So going forward any ideas on how to treat this and are there disease resistant strains available?

affraid

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  TxGramma on 9/28/2013, 11:44 am

Hi Floyd sorry to hear about your problems with cucumbers. I haven't had any personal experience with bacterial wilt but did a little research for you and found a few interesting articles.

According to wikipedia..."Once a plant is infected, there is no way of stopping the spread of the disease. Some cucurbit cultivars are less susceptible than others, so it is beneficial to plant these cultivars. However, since wilt-resistant plants have not yet been developed, the most effective way to prevent the disease is to keep beetle populations at a minimum."

Bacterial Wilt of Cucumber
Cucumber Problems - Bacterial Wilt?

So, basically what I found is that there is no cure. Once a plant develops bw you need to pull and destroy it. The pathogen overwinters in beetles in the soil so you need to plant susceptible plants on a three year rotation and get rid of the beetles.  Cover your plants to prevent the beetles from getting to them as the bw is passed to the plant when the beetle feeds on it. Hope some of this info helps...Good luck to you and your neighbor!

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  camprn on 9/28/2013, 3:51 pm

The vector that infected my cukes was the striped cucumber beetle.

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  landarch on 9/28/2013, 5:39 pm

Next time, take a leaf sample in to your local county extension service as it could really be a number of things.

Every year my cucumbers go down with wilt due to the nasty cucumber beetle...I hate to use Sevin to not harm the bees...it's just a matter of how many cukes I can pick before they go down.  This year was the largest infestation of spider mites that the local garden center has seen in about 20 years...they decimated my cucumber and green bean leaves.

There is one cucumber variety that claims to be wilt resistant...County Fair.  I've planted it over the last couple years and have had some luck.

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  floyd1440 on 9/28/2013, 7:31 pm

@landarch wrote:Next time, take a leaf sample in to your local county extension service as it could really be a number of things.

Every year my cucumbers go down with wilt due to the nasty cucumber beetle...I hate to use Sevin to not harm the bees...it's just a matter of how many cukes I can pick before they go down.  This year was the largest infestation of spider mites that the local garden center has seen in about 20 years...they decimated my cucumber and green bean leaves.

There is one cucumber variety that claims to be wilt resistant...County Fair.  I've planted it over the last couple years and have had some luck."

I just got done talking to my neighbor again and he also lost his zucchini as well but replanted it and has got some to date.  So I found some websites with more disease resistant varieties.

http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/factsheets/ecogardening/disresveg.html

I didn't see Country Fair though..........

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  floyd1440 on 9/28/2013, 7:50 pm

Found it thanks!!!!!!!!!

http://www.reimerseeds.com/county-fair-cucumbers.aspx

It has to be wilt as the whole plant dies so fast


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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  Pollinator on 9/29/2013, 8:28 am

I've had good success in repelling cucumber beetles with dwarf French marigolds. The beetles are the vector of cucumber wilt.

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/29/2013, 12:59 pm

Not me. I had dozens of french marigolds, from the very start of the season, and was inundated in cucumber beetles anyway. They destroyed more than a dozen cucumber plants entirely before I was left with three survivors.

They were equally useless against hornworms and flea beetles. In fact, they were the very first thing eaten in one of my gardens, so I replaced them quickly, and by the dozens.

Oh well, at least the butterflies like them. And I like them.

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  sanderson on 9/29/2013, 5:53 pm

Marigolds didn't seem to help me, either.  But I had to try, right?  Next year I will plant flowers for the bees.  Yesterday I saw 5 of them in my climbing roses!  That makes 11 that I have spotted this summer. I need to get them down to the "pollinate me" plants.

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  Pollinator on 9/29/2013, 7:00 pm


I'm puzzled, because DFMs have worked so well for me, for several years. I wonder if there are different strains that are more or less effective. The first year I tried them, I had been fighting massive squash bug infestations, and the bed with the DFMs had zero squash bugs, while another bed about 130 feed away had them in plenty. I've never gone back - never dared to.

But I've saved seeds each year from the strain that I have, so there's never been another variant used.

I've been told that other kinds of marigolds are not effective, but I assumed that all dwarf French marigolds were the same. Maybe they are not.

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  Marc Iverson on 9/29/2013, 7:22 pm

I think African marigolds are supposed to be even stronger? I had quite a mix of different types, but I don't think I got any African or African-derived ones.

I'm still going to plant them like crazy next year. And other flowers besides. And strew marigold seeds randomly on the wild hillside behind the house. But I'm also going to move my cucumbers to a garden that had very few spotted or striped cucumber beetles this year. Two years in a row where I already had massive infestation would be just too much.

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  floyd1440 on 9/29/2013, 7:40 pm

I will try the bacterial wilt resistant variety next year in the garden but will also plant one in a separate pot with new soil as the first season was fine.  Anyone else try this tactic?

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  squaredeal on 9/29/2013, 8:32 pm

I planted cukes in a pot this year on my driveway (but not for the prevention of wilt).  I used a tomato cage on top of the pot for the cukes to grow upward. One thing I learned this year using this method is that during windy days cuke leaves acts as a sail and the pot tips over. I finally figured how to secure the base in the wind, but the cukes couldn't handle multiple falls and died earlier than they should.

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  sanderson on 3/19/2014, 2:31 am

The newly planted cucumbers are dying. They are wilting and the stems are turning yellow. When I pulled them out, the roots were all but non-existent. I have a few extra seedlings to replace them but I would like to know what is wrong. Three possibilities come to mind:

1. The MM is cold and wet in this area due to the neighbor's trees growing taller.
2. I had snow peas planted over the winter in those squares but I refreshed with compost before planting.
3. The peas started getting powdery mildew before I cleared them from the bed. I sprayed the trellis, box and wood chips with rubbing alcohol. Then removed the chips and lightly sprayed the top of the MM. A week later I refreshed with new compost. A week later, I planted the seedlings I started inside.

Last summer, my first year, my cucumbers were fine until late summer when the aphids (they looked like aphids) overwhelmed the plants. Only had 2 fruits, but that was from lack of hand pollination. (no bees) This year I have 2 Marketmore, 2 8's, 2 apple and 2 lemon cucumbers. Well, I did!

Can anyone help trouble shoot?

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  Pollinator on 3/19/2014, 5:33 am

@sanderson wrote:The newly planted cucumbers are dying.  They are wilting and the stems are turning yellow.  When I pulled them out, the roots were all but non-existent.

Did the roots have little lumps or swellings on them? It sounds like rootknot nematode, otherwise. Plants will be badly stunted, then die. The nematodes cut off the plant circulation from the roots.

This is a very common problem in the Southeast. I don't know if you have it in California.

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  jimmy cee on 3/19/2014, 8:55 am

I kept this info for I thought it was a good help in this problem.
I've tried many different methods with little success, however I am always trying.
This year I am going to wait till June 21st to plant my cuke's. I know a farmer who swears by this and his do very nicely.. I also think heavy mulching may help as the beetle lava dig down to mature, mulch will give them problems in doing this.
I used a seed from Twilley's seeds last year that was resistant, had the nicest cuke's in years, however they still got em.


Organic Control Measures for Striped Cucumber Beetles

It’s that time of year and cucumber beetles are once again wreaking havoc on tender cucurbit seedlings. In all stages of life, these beetles do damage to cucumbers, winter and summer squash, melons, pumpkins, and gourds. In addition to inflicting significant damage by feeding, these beetles add insult to injury by transmitting bacterial wilt along the way. While there is no easy solution to this problem, preventative measures and specific cultural practices can limit damage and bring an otherwise unruly pest under control.

Know Thy Enemy

There are six species of cucumber beetle in the United States. Perhaps the most prevalent of these is the striped cucumber beetle, a member of the Acalymma genus. Measuring just one fifth of an inch long, this beetle is yellowish green with a black head and yellow thorax, and can be easily identified by three parallel black stripes running lengthwise on the wings of adults.

Cucumber beetles over-winter as adults in bordering vegetation, plant debris, and nearby forest. As springtime temperatures climb, cucumber beetles are actively feeding on the petals and leaves of flowering plant hosts outside of the garden. When cucurbits are planted out into vegetable fields, migration of the striped cucumber beetle is swift. After feeding on seedlings, these adults mate, with females laying up to 1500 eggs each over the course of several weeks.

The Beetle and the Damage Done

In the southern regions, up to three generations of striped cucumber beetles can be produced in one growing season, while the north generally sees only two. Cucumber beetles cause feeding damage three times during their life cycle. Over-wintered adults feed on the cotyledons and stems of emerging cucurbit seedlings. As the eggs develop, larvae tunnel into the soil and feed on plant roots. As second- and third-generation adults emerge, they feed on foliage, flowers, and stems, and can even damage mature fruit.

Fortunately, fully developed, healthy cucurbit plants can withstand 25-50% defoliation before yields are dramatically affected. Far and away the greater threat posed by cucumber beetle infestation is the potential for transmission of bacterial wilt. Bacterial wilt is caused by the bacterium Erwinia tracheiphila, which is stored in the intestinal tract of adult cucumber beetles. Once a plant is infected, the Erwinia bacterium spreads rapidly through the vascular system of the plant, creating resins which restrict the movement of water and nutrients. This causes the plant to wilt and die, sometimes in as few as seven days. Additionally, research has shown that cucumber beetles can be vectors for squash mosaic virus, as well as lead to an increased incidence of powdery mildew and black rot, and a predisposition to fusarium wilt.

Control Measures

Delayed Planting – Growers can avoid the most significant damage by simply delaying the planting of summer cucurbits by a few weeks. If you’re not set on getting the first cucumbers or summer squash to market, let a neighbor’s crop take the brunt of the spring cucumber beetle migration. This tactic can also allow seedlings extra time to grow into vigorous, mature plants capable of withstanding beetle pressure. Some growers in regions with longer growing seasons opt to skip summer cucurbits altogether, planting cucurbits in time for a fall harvest when beetles are much less of an issue.

Cultivation and Residue Removal – As cucumber beetles can over-winter in crop residues both above and below ground, it is important to practice clean and thorough cultivation after fall harvests. Cornell University suggests deep tillage, compost application, and cover-cropping in the fall to encourage decomposition of residue which may harbor beetles through the winter months. Any diseased plant matter should be burned or otherwise discarded rather than composted for future use.

Mulching – Using straw, hay, plastic, or fabric as mulch can deter cucumber beetles from laying eggs in the ground near the plants. While mulching will not halt egg-laying or feeding, it will limit direct access to the stem, as well as significantly slow larval migration through the soil.

Row Cover – Floating row covers can be a big help by excluding cucumber beetles during the seedling stage of life. This allows plants to mature and develop substantive leaf mass and a strong root system, enabling the plant to withstand a moderate pest attack. Remove row covers at the onset of flowering to allow for adequate pollination. Since row covers foster weed growth too, many producers use weed suppressing mulches in combination with floating row cover.

HMS Farm crew planting cucurbits covered with kaolin Clay to help thwart cucumber beetles.

Kaolin Clay – Here at our production farm in Wolcott, VT, we start our cucurbit season off with a bit of defensive strategy. We’ve seen a growing number of producers using Surround, a type of kaolin clay, as a protective film to ward off early damage from striped cucumber beetles. Surround comes in a powdered form, which is then mixed with water and sprayed on the seedlings. Some growers choose to dip entire flats of seedlings into the mix, which coats the underside better than does a backpack sprayer. When the seedlings are planted out in the field, the clay acts as a sticky barrier to hungry cucumber beetles, causing what some call “excessive grooming”. This keeps the beetles busy when they would otherwise be eating your prized seedlings and searching for mates.

Trap Crops - Striped cucumber beetles have food preferences just like we do. There is a long list of cucurbit varieties that are favored by cucumber beetles, and are thus excellent trap crops. By luring cucumber beetles into a concentrated area, control measures can be focused, localizing the damage and limiting the spread of disease. We recommend using Baby Blue Hubbard Squash as a trap crop, as it is highly attractive to cucumber beetles, has particularly vigorous seedlings, and is less susceptible to bacterial wilt than many other squash varieties. Trap crops should be planted on the perimeter of the field in multiple rows if beetle pressure is particularly severe. We recommend planting trap crops a week or two earlier than your primary cucurbit planting to proactively direct migration.

Sticky Traps – When it’s time to take prisoners, many growers employ yellow sticky lines of tape to trap cucumber beetles en masse. Use these ribbons in tandem with trap crops for the most effective control. Homemade yellow sticky traps can be made by coating a yellow plastic cup with glue available specifically for this use. For added effect, attach a cotton swab soaked in the oil of clove, cinnamon, cassia, allspice or bay leaf, all of which act as a powerful floral attractant.

And finally, there’s always hand-picking, but you’ll have to be stealthy because they’ll fly away when they see you coming! Let us know if you’ve had success with other strategies and best of luck to you with your summer cucurbits.

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  jimmy cee on 3/19/2014, 10:49 am

Here is an interesting thought also

Where cucumber beetles are a problem, let the beetles come out of hiding and plant late. They have a knack for finding vulnerable seedlings. When yours are up and growing, the cucumber beetles will be gone, fooled into thinking you don't have any cucumbers in your garden.

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  Marc Iverson on 3/19/2014, 1:50 pm

Cold soil is supposedly a big no-no for cukes. I could be mistaken, but seem to recall reading somewhere that they like a soil temp of 60 degrees before being planted out.

Another thing encouraging small roots is over-rich soil. Sounds like you put in fresh compost twice before planting the cukes. Roots with a lot of nutrition nearby find little reason to grow elsewhere.

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  sanderson on 3/19/2014, 2:28 pm

I want to thank everyone who replied.  thanks   

I haven't seen a cucumber beetle since I started gardening 13 months ago.  But, the comments DID make me re-view photos of the beetle so I can be on the lookout.

Regarding "trap plants," I do have one Baby Green Hubbard squash, not a Baby Blue, and it looks okay for now.  But it is in a sunny location, which leads me to think:

Cold soil may be the culprit.  If this is it, then I may have to relocate that bed or rethink the planting.  Where it is, it gets lots of sun starting in April through September.

Lastly, I only added compost once.  The way I wrote makes it sound like I added it twice.  But, according to SFG, in many countries, they only grow in compost.  And folks here have mentions volunteers in their compost piles.  And while my homemade compost is good, it ain't that good!!  Very Happy

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  floyd1440 on 3/19/2014, 7:45 pm

Last summer, my first year, my cucumbers were fine until late summer when the aphids (they looked like aphids) overwhelmed the plants. Only had 2 fruits, but that was from lack of hand pollination. (no bees) This year I have 2 Marketmore, 2 8's, 2 apple and 2 lemon cucumbers. Well, I did!

I still may get some country fair cukes as I think my problem was bacterial wilt.  Got a few cukes then in 2 days the whole plant died.  Did not see any bugs so am going to try marketmore 76 as well

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  yolos on 3/19/2014, 9:20 pm

My problem is downy mildew every year kills off the cucs and watermellons.  I get a few but the plant does not last long.

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  jimmy cee on 3/19/2014, 11:04 pm

@yolos wrote:My problem is downy mildew every year kills off the cucs and watermellons.  I get a few but the plant does not last long.

Look into neem for powdery mildew may just be your ticket

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  yolos on 3/19/2014, 11:14 pm

@jimmy cee wrote:
@yolos wrote:My problem is downy mildew every year kills off the cucs and watermellons.  I get a few but the plant does not last long.

Look into neem for powdery mildew  may just be your ticket
I can handle powdery mildew.  This is downy mildew - much different and much more destructive.  I have some neem and I will look at the instructions for downy mildew.  But from what I remember, once it starts in you can't cure it (I think).  What I need is a preventative program with something that will not kill me and the grandkids.

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  jimmy cee on 3/20/2014, 8:17 am

AHHHH I must have been sleep reading again  Very Happy 

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Re: Cucumber Failures

Post  QuercyGarden on 5/13/2014, 11:48 am

My cucumber transplants have been in the garden for the past two weeks, protected by a Wall of Water and row cover.  They were coming along fine.  This morning I checked them, and they had collapsed.  The bottom part of the each stem had shriveled to nearly nothing.  It has been cool for the past few days and windy, but the temperature at night has remained over 40F.  Do you think that this problem is due to the cold or an insect?

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