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Have a question about a bitter cucumber.

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Have a question about a bitter cucumber.

Post  GloriaG on 6/25/2010, 3:13 pm

I bought a cucumber plant this spring from one of the big box stores. It was labeled "Cucumber Burpless Hybrid" and said the "fruit size" is 10".

I picked the first cucumber this morning at about 8" long. The cucumber has been turning lighter and lighter green since it was about 3" long.

I made a cucumber sandwich for lunch - and it was so bitter I almost gagged.

I know that sometimes the labels in pots at the big box stores get mixed up - could this be a "pickling" cucumber that should have been picked at 3" or is it something I'm doing wrong?

Thanks for your help.
Gloria

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Re: Have a question about a bitter cucumber.

Post  Retired Member 1 on 6/25/2010, 6:25 pm

Cukes tend to get bitter in the heat, so it might be that. They also can get bitter with age. Peeling sometimes cuts down on the bitterness. Did yours have full sized seeds in it? If so it was past it's prime. Pick when they are about half-grown and the seeds are small. Remember that the sizes on the package are not necessarily the size you will end up with. If it had been a pickling cuke, it would have gotten very fat but stay pretty short.

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Have a question about a bitter cucumber.

Post  GloriaG on 6/25/2010, 6:39 pm

Thanks belfrybat,

Yes - the cuke had full-sized seeds - so I guess it was way past prime. I'll pick earlier next time.

But I guess I'm not sure how big is "right". If I had picked this one at say 4" it would only have been as big around as my thumb. Shouldn't it be bigger around? They have plenty of water but they're not filling-out at all.

Gloria

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Re: Have a question about a bitter cucumber.

Post  kimbertangleknot on 6/26/2010, 11:35 pm

Cucumbers need constant even watering. It's better to water them in smaller amounts everyday than water them more, for, let's say every other day. Also it seems to me and my mother-in-law that they do well not having intense full sun. Say, maybe be able to block a few hours of sun a day. Also compared to planting in the ground and containers (or SFG) the ground can handle the bigger breed cuke's better. If you want to do the bigger breeds, I would leave more room for the root system to be able to expand to support the bigger fruits. The smaller cuke's used mainly for containers really do seem to do better in SFG. Also, making sure they have a bit more in the way of nutrients they may need as well. I believe that Mel's Mix is great for a standard, but I still believe that you can rely on just that, some veggies just need more stuff.

And really, you can use 10" cukes for pickling as well, you don't have to have a special "pickle" type cucumber for pickling.
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Re: Have a question about a bitter cucumber.

Post  elliephant on 6/27/2010, 12:36 am

I gave up on my cucumbers and pulled them out a couple of weeks ago. They had been great, but once the heat got serious they started getting pale like that and I knew from experience that they would be bitter. I'll try again later for a fall crop.

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Have a question about a bitter cucumber.

Post  GloriaG on 6/27/2010, 2:26 pm

Thanks kimbertangleknot, I appreciate your input. I have the cukes in a self watering container that's shaded in the hot afternoon sun. So they should have constant even moisture plus morning and later day sun when it's not quite so hot. The plants look great - just no more cukes coming.

Elliephant, I think you may have hit on the problem. Our temperatures have been close to or over 100 for several weeks now. I guess that means the cukes are over. Perhaps I should have planted them earlier.

I really appreciate everyone's help with this. It's my first time to plant cucumbers and I was really hoping to get some good eating cukes but it doesn't look like
that's going to happen.

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Re: Have a question about a bitter cucumber.

Post  Retired Member 1 on 6/27/2010, 3:41 pm

This has been a "strange" year here in Texas for spring/summer veggies. The temps stayed below average for so long, and then almost immediately jumped to above average. Of 8 cuke plants (2 of 4 different varieties) I ended up with a grand total of 7 cukes and three of them were misshapen. I'm not pulling the plants as they still look good. If they survive the summer, they should start putting on this fall. But to be on the safe side, I'll also plant again in mid August.

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Bitter cukes

Post  ander217 on 6/27/2010, 3:50 pm

A few years ago I began trying different varieties of cuke to see if one withstood heat better than others. I've found that Yamato withstand heat longer than many of the other burpless types (it will eventually become bitter in the heat, too, but seems to hold out longer.)

I've had better luck planting a substitute. Last year my Dark Green Metzki Serpent Melons stayed sweet all summer. (We had plenty of rain last summer and only a few days of above-100 degree temps in mid-summer. This year we're in a drought and we've already had several 100+ degree days, and my Metzki dark greens and Painted Serpent melons are blooming, blooming, blooming, but have yet to set a single fruit.)

Even though they are called melons, the Metkis look and taste a lot like a burpless cucumber.
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