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Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

Post  NanSFG on 6/5/2015, 2:44 pm

Does anyone have an idea of what is causing my cucumber blossoms to fall off?  Sometimes it is just the blossom and other times the blossom may have about 1/16" stem still attached.

I don't see any critters on the leaves.  One day I did see a two groups of ants on one leaf.  I crushed the ants immediately and left the bodies on the leaf.  After that I have not seen groupings of ants on any leaf.  But the blossoms continue to drop.  I may have 2 small cucumbers on the vine, but have lost about 15 blossoms.
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

Post  boffer on 6/5/2015, 2:48 pm

Lack of pollination is the first thing that comes to mind.

Do you have pollinators getting their job done on other types of plants?
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

Post  momvet on 6/5/2015, 3:12 pm

No answers from me, just more questions! My cucumbers are being infested. There are little black spots (eggs? they don't move on the leaves and flowers) and if you look closely at the first picture you can see a tiny black winged insect. The ends are yellowing. Some of the cucumbers still look OK. Any advice? I sprayed like you would aphids yesterday but they are back.


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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/5/2015, 3:17 pm

Nan, do you have any sign of wilt on your cucumbers? My cucumbers get decimated by cucumber beetles. They go for the flower, have a few bites, and spread bacterial wilt, which races through the flower up the vine, killing as it goes. First thing that goes bad is the flower.

They look just like yellow ladybugs.
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

Post  sanderson on 6/5/2015, 3:48 pm

Kathy, they look like aphids to me. What did you spray them with? I have been using Dr. Bonner's liquid peppermint soap and water. Seems to kill 90%. I rinse the next day and repeat.

One cucumber looks like it didn't get properly pollinated. The other one looks better. I planted 3 blue salvia in the cucumber bed this morning to try to attract pollinators. It's hard for me to pollinate the little flowers with an artist paint brush. Shocked

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

Post  boffer on 6/5/2015, 4:02 pm

If anyone has an ongoing problem with cucumber pollination, you might consider growing parthenocarpic cukes, if they meet your cuke preferences. They don't need pollinators to set fruit.

I've been growing these types for several years, and we're very pleased with them.

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

Post  sanderson on 6/5/2015, 4:29 pm

Boffer, Thank you.

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

Post  Roseinarosecity on 6/6/2015, 5:33 pm

In the past I have grown a Persian cucumber 'Little Finger' which is also a parthenocarpic cucumber and it had almost no powdery mildew throughout its growing season.  Powdery mildew came in November when the weather started to cool off.

This year I am trying Armenian cucumbers but I noticed I have to train it to the nylon string trellis.  The tendrils don't attach themselves to the string.  I also planted two by each side of a tomato plant and it is attaching itself to the tomato plant without my help; I don't have to train it up.  I do have to train the tomato plant to the trellis.  This is going to be interesting -- tomatoes & cucumbers in the same trellis.

Are there trellis materials better than nylon string for the tendrils to attach more easily, or without my assistance?

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/6/2015, 7:58 pm

Sometimes sissal twine or other twines made of some sort of natural fibers are recommended, with the idea that plants grip them more easily and/or they won't cut into the plant as much when the plant gets heavy or pushes into the twine from wind and such.
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

Post  momvet on 6/7/2015, 1:07 pm

@sanderson wrote:Kathy, they look like aphids to me.  What did you spray them with?  I have been using Dr. Bonner's liquid peppermint soap and water.  Seems to kill 90%.  I rinse the next day and repeat.

One cucumber looks like it didn't get properly pollinated.  The other one looks better.  I planted 3 blue salvia in the cucumber bed this morning to try to attract pollinators.  It's hard for me to pollinate the little flowers with an artist paint brush. Shocked
Definitely aphids, but when I get aphids on my roses, but they go away when I spray them with a strong squirt of water. These were back the next day, with a vengeance! I used Organocide 3-in-1 spray (sesame oil and a few other active ingredients). It worked early on when all my babies were getting eaten.  So, if the cucumber yellows when it's still small, it wasn't pollinated? I have a lot of bees in my garden - they love the cosmos and the thyme that is flowering, and they LOVE the bottlebrush and lavender on my bank! Most of the cucumbers (there are a lot! bounce ) look fine but if it happens more, I might have to try the paintbrush!
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

Post  Pollinator on 6/7/2015, 6:18 pm

@sanderson wrote:
One cucumber looks like it didn't get properly pollinated.  The other one looks better.  I planted 3 blue salvia in the cucumber bed this morning to try to attract pollinators.  It's hard for me to pollinate the little flowers with an artist paint brush. Shocked

One problem with planting flowers "to attract pollinators," is that you often attract them right away from the cukes you want pollinated.

The real problem is that pollinators are too sparse, and the real answer is that you need to build up pollinator populations. This requires more than planting flowers, although flowers are a part of the mix. The most important part of the mix is to protect them from pesticides, and this requires more than just what happens on your property, because bees so not know human boundaries.

Building pollinator populations also means providing clean water, nest locations, nesting materials (straws, canes, mud, bare ground, decaying wood with loose bark, etc. We are too neat for Nature's pollinators. The wild pollinators need wild spaces.

And planting flowers needs doing with the objective of providing continuous feed throughout the season. A few flowers that bloom only for a short time will do little good.
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

Post  sanderson on 6/8/2015, 2:23 pm

Pollinator, I'm trying. Smile Nothing I can do in the city neighborhood but keep my little patch safe for them. Not many bees but quite a few wanna-Bees.

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/8/2015, 4:12 pm

Yeah, it's hard to have flowers growing in volume season after season. Lots of them just flower a little while, and garden space isn't infinite ... I just do what I can.

One thing my neighbor does that I imagine must be very helpful is that he lets his chives and onion flowers stay on the plants. I don't think I've ever seen him harvest his big patch, but it's there every year. He lets it grow thick and wild.

And the flowers are covered with every size and shape of bee you could imagine, and some things that may or may not be bees, and butterflies too. Each flowerhead has so many flowers that each often gets fed on by many creatures at the same time. There's feast enough for everyone.

He also plants the occasional onion or two right by his tomatoes. He sure never has any problem with getting all his crops pollinated, and I see more bees at his place than anywhere else in the neighborhood ... and I've seen everybody's gardens here.

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

Post  momvet on 6/13/2015, 12:19 pm

Still struggling with the aphids. I tried this sesame oil based spray and one with Neem but they keep coming back. So the cuke that is yellowing is due to poor pollination? Because I have a few more. I actually have quite a few cukes and the plants seem pretty healthy. Just not sure what direction to go at this point. I can try hand pollinating (never tried it) if it will help.
Regarding the bees, I let my thyme (which is in a pot and has been around for 2 years) partly flower just because the bees seem to love it.
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/14/2015, 3:08 am

They like my oregano too, same thing. The taste wasn't very special, but it was worth growing just for the blooms.
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

Post  momvet on 6/28/2015, 7:19 pm

Not doing so great with the cucumbers. No aphids any more but what I am finding is little black petrified cucumber babies. early on, I got a decent crop (except for  Bushmaster, which so far has given me one). The soil is moist enough (tomatoes are doing great - squash OK). I wanted to protect the plants from the blistering sun but didn't receive my shipment until yesterday. Suggestions? I only grew cukes once and it was a long time ago, but I LOVE the flavor and sweetness of the few I have gotten!Sad
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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

Post  sanderson on 6/29/2015, 1:05 am

Kathy,  Can you post a photo or two?  Mine are susceptible to spider mites in the summer.  Neem solution can help if you have spider mites.  This is my first year with decent cucumbers and they are covered with curtain sheers.  I think this is keeping them from drying out so much.  The leaves are big and I have had 3 naturally pollinated pickling cucumbers. Very Happy

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic XII: Cucumbers

Post  momvet on 6/29/2015, 4:08 pm

I will post a picture when I get back home (I work 2-3 days at least out of town). I finally got my burlap and it is pretty heavy (like thin bedsheets) - should I go ahead and cover them? I did have a little bit of white mesh material that I covered them with before I left - HOT and humid here.
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